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Work

Working from home – my experience

Working from home whilst sounding idyllic can in fact be somewhat daunting! When I made the decision to embark on my new “career” albeit part-time, I was  somewhat alarmed by how much time I actually had –  and was then faced with the reality of not really knowing how to work from home.

I was aware of the potential benefits – after all these were the reasons I said yes to the opportunity I had embarked on…

Just to whet your appetite:

Freedom to choose my hours, ability to create the much talked about “work/life balance”, able to juggle kid commitments i.e. get to assemblies, sports events etc. be my own boss, earn on my terms.

All that sounds fabulous but what I found was that working from home takes an incredible amount of self discipline, it means setting firm goals, it means keeping a diary (not my favoured way to run the day), it means not succumbing to distractions — “No I’m not free for coffee, I’m working”!

So for those of you thinking about it or doing it badly here are my top tips for improving your effectiveness. These have helped me but I am open to other ideas – let me know what works for you!

  • Create a space that says “work” – I hate a messy office, it gives me a sense of overwhelm and that puts me on the backfoot. So having moved into my new home recently I had the perfect opportunity to de-clutter, empty files, shred 20 year old documents, improve my filing system and minimalise unnecessary and unwanted accessories! Now I start each day fresh, in a clean well organised space – no excuses.
  • Plan your workload/tasks the night before: For me this is imperative otherwise I can be slow to get off the ground, and valuable time is “wasted” preparing my day. I list in my diary the people I need to call, meetings to attend, follow up emails to deal with  etc. I have found this is a great way to review my productivity as I tick off each item as the day progresses. Things not achieved can then be rolled over to the following days schedule (note “not achieved” bears no relationship to distractions – well ok sometimes!!).
  • Which brings me to the very real issues of Distractions: whether it’s a friend calling for a chat, a coffee invitation, the urge to see what everyone else is up to on FB — be careful not to fall into the trap, and realise time has flown and you haven’t stuck to your intentions or achieved your goals! When I’ve done this myself I then beat myself up at the end of the day – I hate time wasting… so much to get done.
  • Take advantage of “downtime”: working from home can be a bit isolating, depending on your chosen path. I tend to slot in “reward” time; “me” time. This may mean going for a walk or to the gym – nothing better to motivate yourself to keep going, or to have you feeling ready and raring to go again when you’ve indulged in something you enjoy  – after all we are in this for more life balance and isn’t fitness or mind space an important part of that – I think so.
  • Set meal times: There is a real potential to gain weight if working from home – too much sitting (potentially) but much more likely is the “I wonder what’s in the fridge/pantry”. The risk is you either make multiple visits or save yourself the trip and take the packet/barrel of your favourite treat and eat the lot – one nibble at a time – remember when you studied – food was a real distraction! Check out this easy reading article here that talks more on this topic: www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2014/jun/18/exercise-healthy-work-home-business
  • Mix it up! I love the opportunity that working from home affords me, in that I get to choose my location – today it’s my home office but some days I might choose to go down to the beach – I love that sense of freedom. I am lucky enough that I can continue business wherever there is Wi-Fi and being the beach lover that I am this is where you are likely to find me. I feel uplifted, more motivated and it puts me in the space of being able to connect with passers-by  – and since connecting with people is an inherent part of my business it’s a win-win!

Feel free to share your top tips  – I’d love to hear from you.

Take a leap of faith – learn to earn in the pockets of your day

Have you ever dreamt of leaving your job?

Do you dream of quitting being a slave to something that you hold little or no passion for, but fear stops you?

You do what you know how to do, you have the feeling it’s too late to change tack, too risky, you earn well (or well enough) and given your financial/family responsibilities it’s too hard to start again, to go back to the beginning? But you know you want something else, something more – not just financially but personally – something to reignite you — remember the days when anything and everything was possible? I certainly did.

I remember the choices I failed to make; just one example: in my prime (20s) I was a “gung-ho” pretty smart nurse, running a busy ward in London…….so many people suggested I should take up medicine – I was possibly bright enough! But whilst giving the idea a little thought I dissuaded myself with the notion that at the age of 26 there was no point – after all I was likely to get married settle down have children in the coming years; that was the expected path… my mistake; the realities of that did not happen until I was closer to 40!

Don’t get me wrong I have had a great career – and still enjoy it part-time, but I had this nagging feeling that I should do something  different, something new (you know that feeling?).  I found the idea of doing something from home was somewhat enticing. However what could I do from home – my skill base and expertise is in running an Intensive Care Unit! But when I reflected on those skills I realised I actually have quite a crop of transferable capabilities. I am by nature a positive person, I am great at time management, I love working with people, I am passionate about health and wellbeing, I am a good communicator, so to put these skills to use – only question HOW?

Sometimes a leap of faith is needed – and so following an interesting conversation – in fact several – I took that leap of faith and now enjoy working from home in the pockets of my day… and you can too.

If you are looking for new opportunities that will have you earn as you learn, that will stretch you, that will see you working in a team that will soften the fall when you stumble, that is not dependant on your ethnic, cultural, economic or educational background; that places no importance on your visa status, your sex or your age (although must be young as heart!), then maybe it’s worth exploring.

In the words of Richard Branson “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure you can do it, say yes  – then learn how to do it later”.

Connect with us and get started on changing things up in your own life, take your own leap of faith and learn to earn, risk free, in the pockets of your day.