As I am at the school gates every morning and every afternoon a lot of people presume that I’m a stay at home mum. Actually I work from home, around my children, which means that I can be there to drop them off and pick them up but also means that I can work in the day in between. I’m really lucky and I love the life balance that this gives me. It’s the best decision for me, and it has some great advantages, but also some disadvantages.
Furniture At Work (www.furniture-work.co.uk) have put together a funny video about the joys of working life – comparing working at home to working in an office! It really struck a chord with me as it will those of you who also work from home now, whereas before you were office based.
There are a few things that I miss about working in an office. I miss getting dressed up in the morning. You make much more effort with your appearance if you are going out. Working from home often means comfy clothes and no make up required. What’s the point if no one is going to see you! I also miss the people. Working from home can be lonely without any fellow colleagues to chat to.
But of course the benefits for me outweigh the negatives. I know that I can be here if my children are sick or hurt from school. I can take them to doctors appointments and have playdates and they don’t miss out on all the fun of having a stay at home mum and I don’t miss out on having that time for me to focus on something I enjoy and make some money too.
I’ve worked from home around the children for 10 years now so I’d like to share with you just how I manage it.
First up you need a routine. You have to be disciplined and self motivated to work successfully from home or else you’ll sit around all day drinking tea and watching daytime television. Every Monday day write yourself a to do list for the week and every day write another list of what you will do off the master list so that by the end of the week everything is done. Work out a routine that works for you. I check emails in the morning before scheduling some social media then write posts in the afternoon. One day a week I dedicate to filming and editing video for YouTube. In the evening I read other blogs and share what I have written that day, and if I have time write another post.
Create an office area
Create a little area that is your own to work from. I have an office at home now but you don’t need a spare room you could just put a desk and some shelves and drawers in an area of your home where you have the space. In the corner of a bedroom or a sitting room or even on the landing. You’ll find that you’re much more productive if you’re not working from the kitchen table or sofa.
Don’t Get Distracted
It’s really hard when you’re working from home to look at the mess around you and want to tidy up or put some washing on. You can do this, but give yourself 10 minutes every hour to do it. This will get you up and moving and not sitting at your desk all day but you won’t be able to be distracted for long. Trust me the washing can get pretty inviting when you have a serious case of writer’s block!
Compartmentalise your time
It’s really important for me that when the children are home my focus is on them. It’s easy to get sucked into checking emails on your phone but try to avoid that. You can always check them once the children are in bed. They deserve your attention while they are there. Of course if you have something desperately urgent to do, provide them with an activity that will keep them busy and quiet where you can see them while you quickly finish off what needs to be done.
Get out of the house
A change of scenery can do you the world of good. You could try working from a local coffee shop one morning – the coffee and presence of other people milling about can often be quite inspiring. In the summer take your laptop outside! You could also meet up with some other work at home mums maybe once a month. It’s a great way to increase your social connections and it might be good networking for work too depending upon what you do.
Give yourself time off
It’s really easy to get sucked into working 24/7 when you are working from home. I make sure I give myself a morning off each week and at least a couple of evenings where I’m not looking at my phone or laptop.
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