In collaboration with Furniture at Work
Ah, working from home. The ultimate in flexible working. But how on earth do you do it productively with kids around?
If you’re anything like me, working from home is a blessing but it can be really difficult too – especially if you’re juggling kids and childcare too. While I work in an office for my job, when I blog and when I work on my freelance projects it’s always from home.
When the team at Furniture at Work showed me this video I had a little chuckle. A lot of it felt very familiar, and I found myself taking a few minutes to appreciate just how much more productive and motivated I can feel on the days where I’m at work, compared to when I’m trying to write a blog post from the laptop with kids tv on in the background.
Inspired by the video, I thought I’d share some of the things I do to work smarter from home when I’m blogging. I’m hoping this will act like a personal reminder too, for those moments where I try and ignore point #1 entirely…
Have childcare in place
Possibly THE biggest help when it comes to working smarter from home is to remove distractions… and by distractions I mean the children. I love seeing cheeky their little grins surrounding me but it’s very difficult to get anything done with young kids around, especially if you want to create your best work.
If you’re starting a business or returning from maternity leave it isn’t always easy to invest in paid childcare like nursery or a childminder, but there are other ways to secure a little child-free time to get work done. I’m lucky in that I can usually squeeze in some kid-free blogging time once a week, but if you don’t have a similar option how about taking it in turns with some friends to have the kids for a bit each week, or looking for opportunities where you can work nights from home. Even if it’s an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, save your most important work for then as it’s easier to be focused and productive.
Create a dedicated workspace
This comes back to the whole ‘no distractions’ thing. If you’re distracted by the TV, by the coffee maker in the kitchen, the temptation to tap away on your laptop from bed or anything else then invest in a workspace.
It doesn’t have to be grand or even big or permanent, but setting up somewhere that’s your designated home office or space just for work has a huge impact on the way you approach it. We don’t have an awful lot of spare corners in our home, so I’ve created a mini workstation in the hallway – sure it becomes a dumping ground for bits and pieces throughout the week, but it’s easy to clear away and transform into a standing desk for when the important stuff needs doing.
Invest in storage
I seem to have become a collector of things. I don’t know if it’s a byproduct of being a blogger or of being a magpie that loves a bargain, but I’ve amassed quite the collection of stationery, trinkets and other things that I’ll use one day. This, along with it being really important to keep track of paperwork and receipts, is one of the reasons why I advocate investing in storage.
My collections have found a home in a self-styled prop drawer (thank you IKEA chest of drawers!), but for paperwork I love a good filing cabinet (like you can find at Furniture at Work).
Set your office hours
Another major change for me especially has been setting office hours. I’m great at being organised when it comes to my day job, but with blogging and even our routines at home I’m very different. We’re very unscheduled and as-it-goes.
This has its downsides though, as I realised recently when I found myself always wondering why I had no time to do anything. Where did my non-working days go? They got swallowed up in the everyday moments and I wasn’t making enough time to concentrate on my projects (you too?) or blog. I’ve made a change though and since I started setting ‘office hours’ for my blogging and business I’ve used those hours much more wisely.
Invest in tools that save you time
As I’ve started slowly making an income from blogging and taking on exciting freelance projects, I’ve realised the value in investing vs. spending money on things. One of the areas where it’s well worth investing is in anything that saves you time.
For me it’s tools like social media schedulers and photo editing software, allowing me to quickly brighten photos or promote new content more efficiently. If you can automate it for free and it’s a relatively good substitute for you doing it yourself, then consider it. When you’re working from home time can be precious, so find ways to make the most of it.
I’m definitely not an expert in working from home productively (I find the TV too big a distraction!) but over time I’ve found these five areas have really helped.
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