Over the past six months I have gone from being a Stay at Home Mum to becoming a Working from Home mum with my own successful business.
I've always wanted to work from home and it is a fantastic choice for those with young children as it means you are always around in case of the inevitable day off ill and you can still do the school run. If you are particularly organised you can also manage to fit in a bit of housework around your job too (although I admit I'm not usually that good!).
However there are some downsides to working from home too. It can be hard to get organised and often finding a quiet corner to work when the children are at home feels impossible. I have even on occasion been known to hide upstairs in the bathroom with my laptop with the hope of getting some work done. So, I thought I would put together my top 5 tips for work at home mums. Do feel free to share yours in the comments at the end!
1. Get organised
I have found it really helps keeping an organised desk. As you are at home it's inevitable that the kids toys and school letters can get mixed up with your work papers - and handing out presentation documents with a squashed haribo on the back is not going to look professional! I have solved this by keeping all my paperwork in files and getting my handy husband to put up a really high shelf where I store everything. This way I know it won't get lost and the kids won't get their sticky fingers on it.
2. Don't be lonely
I am very much a people person and part of my job means that I spend a lot of time interacting with others online. However I do miss face to face contact and having worked in busy offices it can feel strange not having the banter and chatter around you. To counteract this I try to make sure that I have some time with real people every day. This could be meeting up for a coffee with a friend or going to a gym class for an hour. Or you can organise face to face meetings with clients and even offer to go in to work "on site" for a couple of days. As long as I have had a bit of a chat I'm happy to spend time on my own again.
3. Find a room of your own
This is a hard one as many of us with children don't have a few spare square meters let alone a spare room! However you can think creatively about this. You could turn a corner of your bedroom into a work station or even change the use of a smaller room such as a utility room into an office. If you have bigger ambitions then a garden room would be perfect as a home office. As my husband is also self employed we have always thought it would be fantastic to make use of our garden space and work together in there. I think being amongst nature is really great for your creative energy and would love to work looking out over an outdoors
I would love to have a garden office!
4. Make your working space inspiring.
Wherever you choose to work I think it is really important to make the space yours and to make it inspiring. There is nothing worse than trying to be creative whilst surrounded by plates that need washing up or piles of library books that need taking back! I try to keep a clear desk and also have a pin-board where I can pin, not only things to be done, but also pictures or quotes that motivate and inspire me. If possible it's also lovely be near a window. As I practise Reiki I keep my Reiki crystal by my desk when I work for a bit of an energy boost. I also make sure I always have my morning cup of tea in my favourite Emma Bridgewater mug - somehow it always tastes much better!
Some great home office design ideas
5. Use your time wisely
One of the great benefits of working from home is that you can fit in some day to day tasks around your work. It's easy to take 10 minutes to go through letters home from the school or put a casserole into the slow cooker for tea. However beware of non work related jobs taking up your time. As we all know a 5 minute tidy can easily turn into an hour long cleaning blitz. In this respect it is really important to manage your time. A good idea is to divide the day into chunks so that you know you will do 2 hours of work then spend 30 mins making the supper/cleaning the bathroom, then another 2 hours of work. Or you could set yourself a 30 minute challenge and see how much you can get done in half and hour - anything that doesn't fit in that timeframe gets left for tomorrow. Why not use an organiser app to help you plan your time.
I hope these hints and tips have helped other work at home mums - please share your top tips with me too!