I’ve been working from home for 4 years now, grabbing snippets of work time when ever and where ever I can. With a laptop perched on my lap, I’d multitask most evenings with the TV on in the background or wake up and switch on while in bed. It suited my needs at first, with a baby and no set free time it was always a case of getting on with things as soon as the opportunity arose or putting those endless moments breastfeeding a baby to good use.

Recently though, I’ve been a lot more constructive with my time. Work has picked up and my youngest going to preschool has meant I’ve got set hours in the day to crack on. This was the perfect opportunity to reassess how I work and get the most out of my child free day. It’s so easy, when your home is your office, to never have an off switch and the nature of my job means I can get a little done on my phone while waiting in a que or walking the dog, but I also needed moments to just get on with tight deadlines or scheduling work so I could go away. These are the main switches I’ve made to make sure working from home has worked for me.

Create a defined workspace

I tried this once before by arranging my dressing table into a multiuse area but it was so difficult to keep organised that I found it easier sitting at the dining table. The main problem with working this way is you have to keep clearing it away and would waste precious moments looking for my diary and notebook just to get started.

By investing in a small desk from Kit Out My Office, which I should proudly gloat, I put together all by my self while entertaining a toddler and not swearing. I’ve rearranged my dining room to create a small office area and have noticed a massive difference in the amount I can achieve, as well as being much more organised in general.

Fresh flowers help it blend in to my dining room and not look so officey, a ‘keep positive’ quote as well as essential oil room diffuser calm my stresses (I’ve currently have Meditation by Oleo Natural Bodycare sitting pride of place ) While there’s space for my Pirongs organiser, super stylish Kate Spade notebook as well as my BusyB paperwork folder  which are all to pretty to hide away!

I chose a desk with a small drawer in my dinning room colour scheme  to keep all my clutter away and one place so I don’t have to keep getting up to find things, wasting precious time.

top tips for working from home

Lock The Front Door & let friends or family know your work times

When everyone knows you’re always around, it’s easy to be the go-to person they can pop round to see whenever. I love having guests and chatting over a coffee but when I have deadlines to meet, it can be hard giving your guests your undivided attention while you’ve got the nagging worry you’ll be in for late night and you can hear emails pinging away on your phone.

So I have had to start to be quite firm and let people know I’m working and not available. It’s much easier to be upfront than come across rude as you’re trying to maintain a conversation while your minds elsewhere, unless you’re having a really good gossip, I’ve always got time for that!

Use a timer app

And finally, as I have a few different clients for my freelance work which all require different amounts of time, I use the timer app Yast, (other apps are available!) which makes sure I’m diligent with my working time, don’t over or under work. You can assign each client separately and it just becomes second nature to start the timer every time I switch clients.

It’s very easy to get carried away on a campaign and find you’re doing way more than expected so I check in at the end of each day to balance my time and plan the following day accordingly.

For me, maintaining a good work / life balance has been key to making sure I enjoy my job and that my  working is time is as productive as possible equaling less stress or that feeling that your never away from my desk!

Disclaimer 

This is a collaborative post 

Follow:

I’ve been a blogger and freelancer for a few years now and since graduating from the Digital Mum’s Social Media training recently I’ve decided to up my game and kick my jumbled, chaotic way of working into touch. It’s time to get organised and I thought I’d share some of my plans with you should you feel the need to join me.

This isn’t a new idea mind, it’s been on my must do list for some months now and a regular feature in my Goal For The Week check list. The lack of ticks a telling sign that it’s yet to be completed.

BUT NOT ANYMORE!

Historically I’ve always been good at making a list and checking things off, even my lists had lists. But ‘winging it’ closely followed by ‘flying by the seat of my pants’  has been more of a life motto.

So what’s the plan?

I've been colour streamlining my blogger and freelancer accessories with some mint and gold products from the new Kate Spade range

Get yourself a fancy notebook, asap. And make it large one.

First off, as the title suggests you need a note-book. Everyone has a planner, my Pirongs  one is awesome. But I also need a place to mind-map, store my ideas and plans for world domination. I also like pretty things. And gold. Gold’s good. I have a rather fancy Kate Spade one which is pretty AND has the trademark Kate Spade spots along with an inspiring quote so make me smile. It’s also spot on for someone going through a major life change and needs a little reminder not to take life so seriously every now and then.

I've been colour streamlining my blogger and freelancer accessories with some mint and gold products from the new Kate Spade range
I’ve found mine on the luxury living website Rooi . It takes pride of place on my Welsh dresser and my handbag for when I’m out and about. One thing I find as a freelancer is that every second counts. When you have deadlines to meet and especially trying to work around family, if I can grab 20 minutes being productive when having a coffee in town then its happy days. And when an idea pops into my busy little head, I can write it down pronto.

You never know when that moment of inspiration is going to hit. I’ve lost many a good idea by not having the means to cement it in a note-book.

GET YOUR SELF A JUMBO NOTE BOOK! ASAP! FAN

Add The Little Freelancer Extras

A nice pen helps too, along with a matching travel cup. Total colour streamlining going on right now in mint and gold. Even my camera bag, which doubles as my handbag is in there, rocking the mint theme. Which also happens to be the name of my new social media business. <I’ve just clocked into to the fact that the word mint is a dominant feature in my life right now. Crikey, how did I miss that one?>

In blogger mode I often have to take my DSLR camera out and about. I invested in a lush Jo Totes bag which is large enough for my notebook, iPad and all the other essentials which I need when out and about. It’ absolutely no coincidence the style shares my name, none what so ever. Honest. (Love that it’s called Allison!)

I've been colour streamlining my blogger and freelancer accessories with some mint and gold products from the new Kate Spade range
Right, lets recap. Choose a colour you like, by some really nice stationary and bags in it and you’ve pretty much super styled your freelancer / blogger tool kit.

Disclaimer

This is a collaborative post 

 

 

Follow:

“So what do you do?” It was a question I’ve had many times over, and every time I pause before giving an answer. This time was no different. It was a noisy bar and the person asking was seven sheets to the wind. Not sure if they were really bothered what my answer would be, I quickly weighed up a reply in my head.

Do I go for my fail safe Social Media Manager? After all, I am now fully qualified and so it feels like a perfectly valid answer, or do I go for the pre courser, the role I cut my teeth in, in all that is social media; a blogger.

Feeling in the mood for debate, and sensing one looming with said person asking, I replied “I am blogger.”

There was a pause.

“I don’t get all that blogging malarkey, what is a blogger?” was the eventual reply.

This time it was my turn to pause. I needed to give a full and valid reason for being a blogger only in laymen terms, while giving the profession the justice it deserves. Simply because that’s what it is to me – it is a profession, after all I gave up a career, a 9-5, for blogging.

Yet that title is never one which can be translated into a sentence and be done with. It needs explanation and clarification.

So that’s what I did……

“well, I share my opinion and snippets of my life on a website which I built and maintain myself. Sometimes I share reviews of a product which a company has sent me and sometimes I just waffled about things which are going on in my head.”

And the debate continued.

“That’s not a job though, that’s a hobby. You can’t make money blogging.”

f you're looking to make your business more environmentally friendly then why not consider running a paperless office? Starting with my own small

3 years ago I’d have completely agreed, it was just a hobby. An outlet to share my professional training and to keep it fresh in my mind while on maternity leave. Which it did. But pretty soon I was being contacted by brands to review their products on my blog. I only ever accepted things I thought were relevant to my readers or I needed, it helped keep me in my niche and stopped looked like a total advertising platform.

12 months in though, my social media followers were building up nicely and soon the offers for sponsored posts were pinging into my mail box. I was being paid to write a blog post by companies. My little blog had become a trusted advertising or brand awareness referral platform for other companies. My hard work had paid off.

It’s still a little difficult to explain if you don’t fully know how the internet works. In a nutshell, companies collaborate with bloggers to help spread the word about their product or service. We have direct access to readers who follow our blogs on social media or receiving our latest blog posts straight via email. It’s a much more personal way of reaching people; Our experience with the brand or company we are collaborating with is bound within a story within an underpinning back history on what is going in our life.

Almost like having a chat with your mates, telling them how great something is (or rubbish) having moan about life or shouting from the roof tops how great it is. I’ve turned down work offers which I don’t think I can find anything interesting to write about or doesn’t fit with anything which is going on for me right now. I’ve refused to write about products or experiences which I have no interest in or I wouldn’t want to recommend to a friend.

A lot of my day is spent replying to emails with a polite thanks but no thanks. So don’t ever feel you’re being fed a line, if I tell you I liked it, I liked it. If I write about it, it’s because I’m interested in it.

Plus, it’s actually a lot harder to tell a lie than share a truth.

And don’t EVER think that blogging is all about the free stuff, it’s NEVER free, any product I review has been exchanged for my time spent putting the product through the nitty gritty, writing a blog post, photographing and editing, sharing and promoting across my social media and the time spent maintaining my website. Most of the time the product I’m sharing doesn’t equate to the cost per hour spent doing all the above.

Which is precisely  why I will thing long and had about whether I want to review it. My time is precious.

I’ve been criticised for over sharing and ‘spreading myself all over the internet.’ Which I don’t disagree with one bit. You do have to give a little bit of yourself away to draw your readers in. It’s the curiosity of humankind which makes a blog such compelling reading. A little like a reality TV show, I guess. But the pros far outweigh the cons, the messages and feedback of support and thanks I get as a blogger keep me reaching for the keyboard and sharing my story. And while I do sometimes find it difficult being so public, especially with my current situation.

It’s also the most cathartic thing I can do both for myself, anyone else in a similar situation and for my family and friends who wonder what’s going on in my busy little head most of the time!

Blogging isn’t for everyone but it is for me, the hours are long but the rewards are fantastic!

I'm happy to shout about being a mumpreneur, turning blogging into a business while working around my family. It's not an easy option by any ,means but is a lifestyle choice I will never regret

 

Follow:

It’s coming up to a year since I left the workplace and started life as a mumpreneur. That’s 12 whole months of a daily commute from my bed to the sofa and now my multipurpose desk.

12 months of one woman planning meetings

12 months of late nights and early mornings

And d’you know what? I’ve loved every cotton picking minute of it!

I’ve given it my all and managed to make working from home a success.  I knew I’d come to a natural end in my previous job, I’d lost my mojo  and was dreading my maternity leave ending. Knowing it wasn’t just the thought of leaving my boy, I had an opportunity to trust my instincts so weighing up the pros and cons, my mantra became

you just don’t know until you try it

Having a back up plan

Now don’t go thinking this lady’s a serious risk taker, I always have plan B! With a family to support and mortgage to pay I have to play safe with my big ideas as well as making sure I have the full backing of those closest. The tipping point to my latest adventure was the desire to be at home with my family, see my boy grow up as I’d done with his older brothers and not have the stress of arranging childcare (and paying for it.)

And I’m not alone, I recently stumbled upon a story in the Telegraph dated  back to April 2014 and titled the ‘Rise of the mumpreneurs‘ It told how the rise in childcare costs meant more and more mums were considering becoming their own boss or mumpreneur

– a stay-at-home mother who keeps one eye on the children and another on a fledgling business.

So I handed in my notice in and joined the mumpreneur army. My renewed enthusiasm for ambition and desire for success giving me the kick I needed to get things off the ground.  First off, was to rekindled a personal blog, initially  to keep my mind busy in the fog of new baby days, but I soon realised that I could actually make a living doing something I’d come to love.

I'm happy to shout about being a mumpreneur, turning blogging into a business while working around my family. It's not an easy option by any ,means but is a lifestyle choice I will never regret

My sensible head knew I needed a steady income as  my ‘bread and butter’ so set up a business which I could use my professional training and experience. I had short term and long term goals. If you’re embarking on a new business you need to know where you’re taking it in order to allow it to flourish. And simmering away in the back ground were my plan b’s and c’s. The ones I would fall back on if things went belly up and the ones which I might up following.

One thing I picked up along the way was that as much as goal setting and planning is vital in business development, being prepared for change and opportunity to progress in other areas is also a key.

The story so far….

And that is where I’m at now. While I close the door on one adventure, I’m opening a much bigger one. I still have my plan B should things stop gathering momentum but that’s the beauty of being a mumpreneur, or self-employed anything, there is no one saying “wait till I’ve checked with so and so” you just go for it!

There are good days and bad, it’s just the bad aren’t really that bad at all, more mediocre and there are still  those who step in your way simply because they don’t like the cut of your jib, don’t think you are up for the job  or just a general pain in the bum, it’s just now I’m not sitting opposite them in an office! (saying that The Toddler can get pretty feisty, pre nap time some days)And  I’m not saying that being your own boss is easy, far from it. I still find it hard to define working hours and tend to work much longer and later than I intend and then bow under the guilt when I’m not ticking off my to do list.

The house isn;t as tidy as I like it to be and I get a lot less sleep and downtime than I did as an employee but  also get the buzz of seeing results, meeting new people and seeing my efforts pay off.

So as I type this with my faithful spaniel at my feet and the toddler stealing kisses with his arms wrapped piggy-back round my neck, making the mumpreneur switch has been the best life changing decision I have made.

(And a sneaky little thank you to the people who nominated me for a second year in the Mum and Working Parent Blogger of The Year awards! You really shouldn’t have, but I’m so glad you did!)

we've been nominated blog award

 

I'm a mumpreneur and proud! a self employed mum working from home around my family. It's not the easiest option but I have managed to make being a blogger a business, read my story here;

Pin this for later

 

Cuddle Fairy
Share the Joy linky at TheJoyChaser.com
Follow:

So it’s 12 months, give or take a day, since sit I sat down and penned a blog post on what I hoped 2015 would bring. Not being really sure if the whole mummy blogger thing would still be part of my life (I don’t mind that phrase, I know some hate it, but I’m a mummy and a blogger so why not)

It was a hobby, keeping my mind busy while I took some maternity leave, a way to keep the cogs turning and all my early years training fresh. Little did I realise on taking a step into the world of blogging after momentary conversation with a crazy lady (who would become my closest and most precious friend) would open up the doors to world of opportunity, determination, burning the candle at both ends to meet deadlines but ultimately a passion for writing.

what's on the cards in 2016 for this mummy blogger?

Through Mum in a Nutshell I have shared my turmoil of accepting the change in relationship with my bedroom hiding teenager (which took its spotlight on America website Blogher) I’ve finally summed up what skills I have honed being a mum to 3 boys and had moments of hoping to inspire others with my own take on positive  parenting in posts on How to Raise Happy Children and The Perfect Formula of Raising a Teenager. Both of which I have had to revisit many times personally. These were my most popular posts of the year so huge thanks to you my lovely readers for sharing, sharing and sharing again!

Regular readers might also noticed but I’ve also veered off into writing more lifestyle based posts. Staying true to my proclamation of being a family and lifestyle blog I introduced some how to and tips for cleaning  and getting organised  as a busy mum and my love of all things home has crept into these virtual pages as I’ve begun another round of makeovers around the home.

So what are my plans for 2016 and Mum in a Nutshell? Well as the new year beckons so do many new years resolutions. It’s been a busy year and all work and no play make Ali a grumpy bum. Family time is becoming more and more precious with my two older boys growing up way too quickly so I am on a mission to make memories in 2016. This means a family holiday is long over due along with some weekend breaks which I have no doubt will be shared simply as they are the perfect photo taking opportunities!

hopeing for more family friendly festivals this year

I’m also hoping to branch out even further into writing more lifestyle posts sharing more useful and helpful content which will make life a little simpler.It’s hard to pin down Mum in a Nutshell into one particular niche in the blog sphere, as the title suggests, it’s everything which encompasses life as a mum (and dad for that matter) so be it sharing life with a toddler, using my personal and professional knowledge, letting you know about new and upcoming products through reviews and informative posts or just letting you know that life as a parent is just the same for me as it is for you, warts n all.

I failed miserably at the 365 photo project and as much as I love taking photos, I won’t be taking part again in 2016, but one I will be embracing is the Miles for Mama challenge. After loosing my FitBit then being poorly for a few weeks, my fitness challenge took a back burner but as it’s for such a worthier while charity (Mama Academy) I have the full intention of taking my Mountain Buggy  on long power walks over the Jurassic Coast once again to help clock up the 10,000 miles in 10 months challenge which I, along with several other bloggers have pledged.

Friends and family, you have been warned, I will be knocking at the door looking for sponsors in the coming months. If you would like to support a valuable and small charity which was set up to empower parents and midwives into reducing still birth rates you can add your tuppence worth here.

So that’s my 2015 and plans for 2016, in a nutshell. All that leaves me to do is to wish you a very happy new year and thank you for supporting Mum in a Nutshell, you’ve been awesome and I couldn’t have done it without you!

Ali

x

looking onwards and upwards and hoping 2016 is the year of the mummy blogger

 

what's on the cards in 2016 for this mummy blogger?

pin me!

Follow: