Looking back over my life I can’t say I have ever been someone who ever wanted to work from home or be self employed.. but since becoming a mother and a single mother no less, it became something that had to happen for me to feel happy in my work/parenting balance. I’m not cut out for working in a school so that went out the window, and my mum isn’t available enough to have Little Miss during school holidays. Once my maternity leave ended I do go back out to work, but it just didn’t work out. After earning some certificates and going back into education for a year and a half, I decided to look into going self employed.. and here I am.
Working from home isn’t all sitting around in your pjs and pleasing yourself. In a lot of ways I find it so much harder than I went out to work. I do miss the social aspect, I miss the structure and I miss a stable paycheck. Rather than be struggling with balancing my work/parenting life, I now struggle with keeping a decent sleep pattern when I choose to spend time with my daughter in the day and stay up late working. I also struggle to balance my working life and getting my house done, for example right now I live in fear of not making ends meet this month so my house looks like a bomb site while I try and catch up. Some weeks I even work all 7 days if I have to.. and I constantly need to be on call to answer emails so I don’t miss out on anything.
Anyway, today as I feel slightly stressed at the fact there are only 10 days left in this month, I’m going to share my “must haves” for working from home, and surprisingly they’re not all items.
For me, the most important thing I need to be able to work from home is a calming environment. I try to do all my work while Little Miss is at pre-school or if I really have to, in the evening when she’s in bed.. but it doesn’t always work out this way, mainly on school holidays or if I’ve left everything to the weekend. I can’t work if someone is around and talking to me. I need either a calming Spotify playlist or complete silence. I can’t have any distractions. If I don’t have a calming environment I might as well call it quits before I ever start.
Some people have a work uniform, some people have files which are vital to work.. for me.. it’s my gadgets. I need my laptop to actually work on, I need my phone and ipad to reply to emails on the go. I need my camera to take photos. Although I don’t have top of the range of everything, they do the job. The best part is that nowadays is that so many gadgets do everything and it makes my life so much better! This infographic is great for explaining that.
You can read more about it here.
A Working Space
When I first started working from home I would either sit on the sofa with my laptop on my lap, or on my bed with it in front of me. After maybe a month or too my back started to hurt and I knew I had to find an alternative. I really wish I had enough room for a proper desk but my house just isn’t big enough so instead I use the kitchen table. It’s just the right size and the high back seats mean I need to sit straight. I keep everything on the table I would need, notebooks, pens, diaries, my external hard drive and evening my camera most of the time. One day I’ll have a house with a lovely office I can work from, but until then, this works for me. And when I need the table I have a box I clear everything into for ease.
An Organised System
Finally, the most important thing I need for working from home.. a system. I have a spreadsheet for finances, another for on going and already complete work. I have a notebook of ideas, my diary for payments. In the beginning I had none of this, I honestly thought I could “wing” it, but almost a year in, I know that isn’t true. Of all the things I couldn’t work from home without, it would be my system.