The Myth and The Facts: How to Really Work From Home
By Naomi Leadbeater/ What follows is not at all about eating.Get ready, some work at home karma is coming your way.
Well not quite.
It simply some thoughts on how to manage working from home, if you ever get to live the ‘dream' of never having to leave the house. You'll have loads of inspiration, and tons of time to write that masterpiece you've had in your back pocket for…years?
Right???Has it really been that long? (Click for lager image.) Photo and poetry by Naomi Leadbeater 2009.
There are some definite perks, don't get me wrong. I think all of us look forward to working in our pajamas, drinking and eating while we work. Choosing our own schedule as much as possible. At the end of the article is my short list of ways to get as much productivity into the day as possible.
There are also a host of derailments about to be flung in your face as you suddenly realize you may not be quite as self motivated as you thought. Lucky for you, we can go through this together. That's right – I'm now living the dream. Or at least my dream.
I've also learned more in two weeks than I think I learned in the last 5 years. My own transition to a home office has been rather quick and quirky, but when I finally shut down for the day, I give myself time to think it over and decide how to make the next day even more effective. I managed to quit one job, go on vacation, get sick, and be contagious (so I actually couldn't go outside or teach music), and start working from home before I finished working anywhere else. I also had the pleasure of a very quick transition (2 weeks total) and spent much of those two weeks developing a plan to make working from home successful.
It's something a lot of authors want. It's definitely not common (and never has been) to find authors who ONLY write, full time. One of the big benefits of having two almost completely solitary weeks was it made me realize the importance of balance. So, in the name of good karma, I'm about to share with you 5 ways to boost productivity, and enjoy it too!
1. We all need inspiration.
For me; whether it's work related, writing related, or just to pick myself up, I often find inspiration from hearing what other people enjoy. I also find it in nature, the kitchen, art, music and reading.
The trick is making sure you have enough inspiration, but not to much distraction.
I'm lucky. My job as the coordinator of a local market in Brandon, MB means that I need to find vendors for said market. There are a ton of ways to do this, including emails, facebook, and phone calls. Most importantly though, meeting people in real life, tasting their products, getting to know them is actually integral to expanding the market.
It also gives me tons of experiences, and opportunities for writing, music, art, and all my other pursuits.
My advice? Find inspiration outside your home office. Whether it's playing with your kids in the yard, going for a walk, or meeting a friend for coffee. Structured ‘inspiration' breaks are good for you.
2. We all need to eat.
I forget. This is the strangest thing that's happened to me in the last two weeks.
Suddenly, I look up from the computer screen, and realize – its 4pm, and I haven't eaten since I got up. Today for instance, I met with potential clients, made phone calls, walked around the city meeting various business people, met someone else for coffee, came home and organized binders, then suddenly realized it was 4pm.
Wanna know what I ate between 7am and 4pm?
2 slices of toast
6 cups of coffee (no sugar) & 1 small slush puppie
1 hot dog
If I had been sitting at a desk that entire time, this might not have been so bad. I walked A LOT. The sudden crash in blood sugar levels made me feel nauseous, and suddenly it felt like the entire day had been wasted.
Make sure you have smart food around. I bought some lovely homemade bannok that's full of oats, flax, berries and honey. It's pretty much the best granola bread snack ever. It's also super healthy, has no sugar in it, and tons of nutrients.
I also make sure I have brain food close at hand. BBC has a great list of 10 brain foods. I especially enjoy binging on blueberries.
3. We all need a little structure.
This one is so simple it will surprise you.
Strucutre doesn't have to be boring, and it also doesn't have to be monotonous.
Every night I write a list.
The list tells me what I have to do the next day, and sometimes there's a list working towards and important date, or event I refer to to keep myself on track.
Don't worry, there will be a whole post on how to use post-it notes and lists more effectively than you've ever imagined soon.
4. We all need to play.
Find a dog, a cat, your kid, or your partner. Do something you both enjoy. Fetch, cuddles, a movie, or a game – it all helps to refresh you and keep the momentum going.
I find I have to actually schedule it, because while a lot of my job is fun, I lose track of time and forget that taking time for myself is important too.
Playing fetch with you kid/partner may result in general hilarity.
5. We all need to find a little slice of this earth to call our very own.
I garden, and have flower beds. I'm lucky to have a landlord that lets his tenants take care of the property themselves.
I really do recommend it. If you're in an apartment, get a plant, or if you have a balcony start a herb garden. Spend time everyday tending to your plants. It can be as low or high intensity as you can handle. Water one plant once a day, or have several plants or flower beds.
It will remind you that the world exists, and grows, and flowers right outside your door or yard.
Plants are my life line back to reality.
Naomi Leadbeater grew up in Southern Manitoba quite literally on the 49th parallel, and made Brandon, Manitoba her home after finishing a Music Degree in 2003. Over the years she has been a restaurant manager, a shoe salesperson, a customer service person of various sorts, editor in chief of The Quill and acquired a few more degrees. She can sell anything from good karma to shoes and likes to help people follow their dreams, and make their paths a little more A to B than hers has been.
Her passions include turning photographs into music, making mountains sing and writing ‘stream of consciousness’ book reviews here at naimeless. She also loves to support local initiatives like Community Supported Agriculture, theatre, music and entertainment, one day she might even start an Indie book club in her own small city. In her spare time she creates gardens in unlikely places and writes poetry & longer works of fiction.
Most recently she has been working for Novel Publicity, and as the Community Development Coordinator at the Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation inBrandon, Manitoba. Oh, and she’s started the beginnings of a very wonderful studio of piano and voice students at Faders. You can find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as well as a few other places if you dig deep enough into the inter-webs.