Step away from the daytime TV…
I’ve been working from home now for about four years. When I say that out loud it feels really strange. Four years sounds like a long time, but it seems like yesterday that I was commuting up to London every day and sharing a pack of biscuits with my colleagues as our morning snack (my eating habits really were quite grim back then – we basically ate toast all day, everyday). I never thought that working for myself and working in my own surroundings was really an option for me. I’m from a family of office workers and growing up my ambitions went from wanting to be a popstar, to a lawyer (quite a jump there!), to a counsellor of some kind (hence the BSc in Psychology) and finally to an editorial/PR person (hence the internships). Running my own business was just never on the cards and is something I completely fell into. Of course I wouldn’t have it any other way now and I’m extremely thankful that back at uni blogging was my main form of procrastination – who’d have predicted the outcome of that – eh? But just like everything in life there are definitely some pros and cons.
Pro – you get to wearing jogging bottoms 24/7 if you fancy. Con – you no longer have colleagues (and no one to share the pack of biscuits with!). Pro – you are able to create your own schedule. Con – everyone things that you’re free all the time and pops in whenever they have days off work to say hello (I’m not gonna lie, that’s actually quite nice – someone to share the biscuits with, you know?). You get the gist. It’s been quite the learning curve and although I wouldn’t say that everyday is the most efficient, productive day of my entire life; I feel like there are some processes and rules I’ve set for myself that certainly help in those departments. Today I thought I’d share for any of you who are in the same boat…
Routines are the one. Over the years, I’ve gone through periods of being super strict with my schedule (hello 5.30am alarm!), to being a little more lax and really I find that somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot for me. I try to get up around 6.30-7am everyday and get tapping away on my laptop by about 8am. I break for lunch around 12.30pm and aim to pack everything away in the evening by about 7pm. What happens in my actual working day is forever changing, so I don’t stress too much about that; but if I find that if I kick-off and wrap-up at the same times everyday then that helps me to plan efficiently and leave time for chilling in the evenings to0.
Create a space. In our last flat, I often found myself working in bed (don’t do it – your neck will hate you), as the only space for a desk was next to the kitchen bin and the whole thing was just a bit stinky. NICE. This time round we have a second bedroom which I quickly bagsied as an office-come-guest bedroom. It’s really not rocket science, but I find that when I sit up to my desk and work on my desktop computer I’m so much less likely to spend time scrolling through cat being best mates with dogs videos and I end up ticking through my to-do list with ease. I know, shocking. Moral of the story: don’t put your desk next to your kitchen bin.
Learn to say no. When you’re in a one man band, you’re the decision maker 100% of the time, which means you have to really trust your gut when it’s best to say ‘yes’ and when it’s right to say ‘no’. In a world where they’re literally printing ‘YES‘ onto t-shirts (to be fair I’d totally buy a t-shirt with ‘YAAASSS‘ on the front), it’s important to be able to say no too. I find this most important in the case of time management. If I say yes to too many events or meetings during the week, that eats into my filming/editing/writing time which means that I wouldn’t be able to get up the content that I wanted to. If you feel the opportunity being offered isn’t enhancing in any way or you just don’t have the time for it, politely decline.
Your peeps. You might not directly employ anyone, but it’s important to have a support network of some kind. Be it friends, acquaintances, parents, your other half; basically people who can give you sound advice whenever you need to talk something out. Lily is my work wife who’s always there when I need to have a ramble, Mark’s also been there since the beginning of all of this so he’s surprisingly well-versed in the online world and offers great little nuggets of wisdom whenever I need them. I also have a mate from uni who helps me with all things tech-related, an Accountant who is d’bomb quite frankly and my Dad who not only helps out with the financial side of things, but is one of my biggest cheerleaders. Thanks guys.
Clock off. These days in the evenings, I like to keep my phone in a different room so I’m not aimlessly scrolling through Instagram or ASOS. After dinner I answer any emails that have come in later in the day, then turn my laptop off and leave it in my office. That’s my version of clocking off and although it doesn’t happen so clear-cut everyday – sometimes it’s a Friday night and I’m squirrelling away on a Youtube video – but on the whole I like to reserve evenings for Netflix/marshmallow toasting/reading Women’s Health magazine (oh the irony!) exclusively. Any other tips any fellow work from home peeps would like to add?
Photos by Lauren Shipley