Aside from that you can go an inappropriately long time without showering…
I suddenly realised last week that it’s been almost five years since I left my role as an editorial assistant in a beauty start-up to put my all into what is now ‘The Anna Edit’. Five years? How the hell did that happen? Working for myself was not something that I ever thought I’d do – my career tests in secondary school always came back with Teacher or Human Resources Manager – so writing blog posts in my pyjamas just wasn’t where I was aiming.
I’m sure that’s the same story for a lot of peeps working for themselves out there and actually doing your own thing is rather odd at times, isn’t it? Last week I found myself crying tears of laughter to clip posted on the Love Island Instagram because I hadn’t seen another human for nine hours. Of course I wouldn’t have it any other way, but to brighten up your Monday morning I thought I’d drop 10 observations that I’ve made over the years…
Elasticated waistbands are life. I’m not sure quite how, in my three or so years of working in an office, I ever managed to get so much work done in jeans. For example I’m currently writing this post in a pair of wooly jogging bottoms and the words are just flowing right out of me. Stick me in a pair of jeans and all I can think about is that I feel like I’m being sawn in half and counting the hours till I can take them off. This is probably a sign that I need to accept that my cereal belly (see point seven) needs to size up.
Setting your own schedule is rather glorious. Being able to decide what goes where in your calendar (to some extent), is something that I’ll never grow complacent with and is easily one of the top perks of the job. It means I can go to the gym when it’s practically empty, do mid-morning pilates and pretend I’m a lady of leisure and get all my shopping done in town on a weekday and not have to elbow my way past a sea of teenagers to get to the NYX counter in Boots. It also means that sometimes I have to set my alarm early on a Sunday to sit with my laptop in bed whilst Mark snoozes away because I haven’t finished editing, but you know – swings and roundabouts, eh?
Your bond with your ASOS delivery driver will become strong. You also find yourself wondering if it’s time to change out of your three-day old PJ’s as you don’t want Steve from DPD to think you’re completely minging. I don’t think the people at the Post Office sorting place have the same fondness for me though as I often see them scatter whenever I rock up with my 14 ‘Sorry we missed you‘ slips; I’m their best customer/worst nightmare rolled into one.
Your friends and family don’t think you work. It’s ok because you love them, but friends and family will often think that you’ll be the perfect hang-out buddy to keep them company on their days off. I can’t blame them for this because I fuel the fire by occasionally saying yes and hanging out with them on their sofa in my PJ’s and pretending I’m a student again, however I always pay the price and end up surgically attached to my laptop till midnight to make up for it.
Organisation is key. I know I always bang on about this, but the most productive days that I have are ones where I have a plan. Others where I just make it up as I go along because I feel unmotivated or just generally like poop, feel incomplete and leave my head feeling like a jumbled mess. It’s always best to document in some way your key tasks for the upcoming days, weeks and months ahead and regularly check-up on your progress.
Procrastination is your number one enemy. Despite many school reports reading ‘Anna is easily distracted‘, have I truly realised just how easily I am led off task until I began working from home. Name a viral video and I’ve seen it. Give me a Friend’s Buzzfeed quiz and I’ve already done it. Ask me for some fun trivia facts about ‘Parks & Rec’ and I’ve already read the IMDB page. Basically my brain is one big soup of useless knowledge. I would probably be rather good in a millennial themed pub quiz.
Cereal consumption is high. I feel like breakfast cereal is the part of the package that comes with working from home. Just like crusty pyjamas, it’s part of the self-employed uniform. It’s really quite incredible how many boxes you can chow through over the space of two days. One day I must count as I feel like I’m probably setting a new world record without even knowing it.
You never actually do end up going to coffee shops. When I dreamt of being my own boss during my three hour round trips to London and back every day, I day-dreamed of sitting in coffee shops, surrounded by bits of paper, coffee and with my hair in a chic bun and me just looking like something off Pinterest. In reality I’ve probably been to a coffee shop about three times in the almost five years that I’ve been doing this and each time I’ve sat sipping a tap water with my greasy mop scrapped back. The same goes for the self-employed illusion of going for long walks and taking every Friday afternoon off. Never happens.
Talking/singing to yourself all day is completely normal. I often have some kind of internal dialogue going on about what I need to get done each day and practicing my Birmingham accent (one day I’m going to dazzle Mark with it). But more often than not I sing to myself, which is completely cool until it’s summertime and you forget that all the windows are open and your neighbours who are sitting out in their garden trying to enjoy a peaceful afternoon have heard your rendition of En Vogue’s ‘Don’t Let Go’ which sounded like a cat struggling to breathe.
Find your people. Even though you might be working on your own, it’s so important to find people in the same boat to act as faux ‘colleagues’. Now it’s not the same as having a gossip by the printer, but letting off steam with those who understand and can give great advice (seriously Lily is the best advice giver), is exactly what you need sometimes. You never know, they might just become one of your BBF’s…
Photos by Lauren Shipley