Friday, 25 May 2012

Yup I Work From Home - Wanna Come in and Have a Peek at My Office and My Day?

Pin It I haven't always had the privilege of working from home. Before I had my accident I used to drive at least an hour each way in the crappy head stressing traffic to the office and spend hours sitting in airports and on planes traveling the country. The accident changed so many things in my life and the ability to keep up that travel to and from work was just one of them. I tried, oh man did I try and when I failed miserably and could no longer hold it together anymore, I fell in one big messy heap.

Thankfully I work for a fabulous company who has supported me to no end. And amongst the many ways that they showed me that they were behind me, they gave me the gift of working from home.

Now I am not going to tell you it is always easy. At home there can be so many distractions and you have to be at least semi disciplined. It would be tempting to work in my PJs, catch up on some TV, crash on the couch for a while or lay by the pool in summer. But alas I have this little thing called a conscience and that voice in my head pretty much keeps me on the straight and narrow.

In actual fact I have to pull myself back in a lot of cases as I feel like I need to prove to everyone they made the right choice by allowing me to work from home so I tend to overcompensate and work the extra hours. My hubby and kids soon pull me into line and are quick to let me know I am cutting into their time.

I often get asked how do you work your day? How do you not get distracted? And the big one - How do you actually get anything done? I am pretty proud of the way I manage it and even though there are some downsides, there are a hell of a lot of pros on that list too.



So today I thought I would invite you into my office at home, show you around and share a few ways I manage things so I actually get stuff done.


First of all let me start by saying that my kids are all at preschool or Kindy, so my work from home scenario is NOWHERE near as tough as it would be for a mum (or dad) trying to work with kids at home.


I am lucky enough to have a dedicated room to use as an office and since I spend so many hours a day in this room, I decided before Christmas to give it a bit of a makeover.

The makeover involved fresh paint and after a huge amount of debating (with myself) I settled on  soothing grey called Tin Cat. Some new furniture from Officeworks and IKEA, a bit of prettying up and walah - I have a space I love to work in. Is it sad to say that I love my office? It's just so calm and cosy which is a good thing, cause as I said it is where I spend many hours a day.



My work day starts as soon as the kids and my hubby leave for school and work, which is normally about 8.15am. Before the kids actually leave for school and I am officially on the clock, I try to get some of the domestic stuff out of the way so it doesnt niggle at me during the day.

The kitchen is cleaned up from breakfast, beds are made and I try to chuck a load of washing on.  As weird as it sounds, my OCD brain also needs to have the house in order - something to do with cluttered space equals cluttered brain. So the order part involves me walking around with a basket and picking up everything that is out of place. The basket is then left to deal with later.

Then armed with a cuppa its time to get stuck in.

I work full time as a Business Development Manager, but I cram my working hours into four days a week instead of five. Four hefty 10 hour days, but the pay off is I have one day a week (Fridays) to do Drs Appointments, errands and all the running around stuff life requires us to do, without having to take time out during work hours or cutting into our weekends.

The flip side of a busy four day work week, is I need to be super organised and have a plan of what I need to achieve on any given day. So the first thing I do every morning is write a list of what needs to be done. Things don't always run to plan though, and in my business you do have to be flexible, but I find that I am way less stressed if I have a clear vision of what I need to get done.


Once the day is mapped out it is down to business.

I like to break the day up into structured segments so I make appointments with myself. These appoinments ensure I lock away time to be spent specifically on a focused task be it phone calls, emails and working on projects.

Depending if I have phones conferences or not I like to make my phone calls in the morning. I find people are generally in better moods early in the day, before they are worn down by what their day chucks at them. Lengthy complicated emails and project work - I prefer to do in the afternoon, as for me I find it is when I am at my peak. My brain is well and truly warmed up and I am totally in the work zone.



It does get a little lonely sometimes and occaisionally I miss the buzz of an office environment and having people to coffee with. It can also hard when friends want to catch up for lunch or invite me to something and I have to turn them down, becasue I do find that people often think that if you work from home, you can kind of do what you want, when you want. I don't really know, but if you owned your own business, I could imagine you could maybe be a bit more flexible with your time. In my case, I have to treat each work day just as I would if I was back in the corporate office which means that on work days its all about getting the work done.

Mid morning I do like to duck outside for a mid morning coffee and sun gaze. That 10 minutes is precious and so peaceful. With no one around, I do nothing but sit there and think quiet thoughts to myself. If I have nothing particular to think about, I drink my coffee and take a peek at what is going on in the world of instagram and Facebook.


At the moment in Sydney it is cold and with weather like that, I really don't mind being indoors tucked away in my little ladycave. I have a blanket to wrap around my legs like an old duck and yes, I even have a hot water bottle too! Laugh away if you must but I tell ya I am Toaaaassty!



As I mentioned my office is my Ladycave and outside of work hours it is where I blog and paint and get my crafty on. So I tend to spend way more time in here than just work hours. Its my own special space and I like to deck it out with things that make me smile.





Normally I don't take a proper lunch break as I prefer to just power through my work so I can finish as close to 6pm as possible. If I gave myself too much time in the day, I would just need to make up the hours at night time so I find having a set knock off time keeps me focused and makes sure I am finished in time to get stuck into the homework duty and spend some time with the kids before dinner. That being said I do take 15 minutes though to throw some more washing on, deal with that basket of stuff from the morning that needs putting away and grab myself something to eat. If there is enough time I like to have another peek at Facebook or Instagram he he.

The rest of the afternoon is spent head down and bum up. This is where one of the advantages of working from home comes into play as I get so much more done than I ever did when I had the distractions of an office environment to lead me astray.

I know I have a clear run at work now until the kids and the hubby arrive home at 3pm. I am very fortunate that my husband works around school hours, so he car pools with friends and is always available to juggle after school playdates and activities. He is also one of those hands on guys that folds the washing, irons and gets dinner on. Yes I am a very lucky gal and I probably do not thank him nearly enough for what he does for me and the kids.



For a short time when the family arrives home, chaos erupts and the kids all pile into my office for hello cuddles and to tell me about their day before they get changed and head off to whatever activities they have on for the afternoon.

Dosed up with a mid afternoon cuppa I am now on the home run and I merrily work away until its quitting time which is usually between 6 and 6.30pm. The biggest perk is I don't have to battle the traffic again to get home. I pack up, switch off, shut the door and join the rest of the family for the night.

Alright if you have fallen asleep on me, its totally OK and I forgive you - some of you may think it's probably one of the most boring posts I have ever written. But this my friends is where I disappear to every Monday to Thursday and I hope it answers some of those questions I frequently get asked about working from home.



If you are thinking about working from home and you have any questions - go ahead and throw them at me. I am more than happy to answer them..... if I can!

This week I am linking this post up with 
The Organised Housewife's - Love it, Like it, Link it!
Check out all the other fabulous posts this week over there.