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 

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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 

 

 

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Digital Mums? What’s she banging on about now? Read on and I’ll tell you about the time I retrained as a social media manager with a course especially aimed as mums looking to study around family and work.

It all began one late summer evening……….

So there I was wondering how I was going to take my social media skills to a new level step on yet another switch on the career path. Despite spending most of my thirties studying for an Open University degree and finding a dream job I got itchy fingers and something didn’t feel right. A new baby meant when I went returned to work I’d be juggling jobs, childcare and mum guilt, I just couldn’t see it all panning out right and beside, blogging was fast becoming an even better dream job which I could do it around naps and in the evening.

Along with blogging came a little knowledge about social media, it goes part the parcel and the more I blogged the more I learnt, but it’s a fast paced world and I had a thirst for knowledge. I needed to find out more, really get my head around it then along came Digital Mums with a cup full of that knowledge and some. Blogging’s great but it’s not a steady income, retraining as a social media manager would fill that steady income gap I needed, and as a single mum to three kids, I needed that steady income more than ever.

I signed up, took the interview and the rest is history.

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

‘Cause history is what’s already happened, right? 6 intense months of history in the making, studying as a social media manager on the Digital mums community manager course, my history in the making.

I’m not going to lie to you, it was tough.

Not only did I have personal stuff bobbing along in the back ground. I was now chief in charge of EVERYTHING at home. By day I was mum, doing mum stuff, house stuff, keeping fit stuff so I didn’t get ill, (getting ill just isn’t an option) and by night I was Ali the Digital Mum student and Mum in a Nutshell the blogger.

For 6 months there’s been a long stream of burning the candles at both ends and panic rants to my mum.

Along with the reading, (all on-line luckily, I have a dodgy knack of putting anything paper in the log burner, homework included) I had a weekly Google Hangout with my Social Sisters tutor group, definitely the highlight of the course. Online learning can be pretty lonely when it’s just you and a laptop, but with those ladies it all felt real and when the going got tough, we spurned each other on.

Then came the campaign, and that was when life got exciting.

Suddenly it all became real and everything I learnt put into practice as I grabbed social media by the horns and rode that bad boy through a full on round of social media-ing the pants out of east Devon. I tweeted, grammed and Facebooked within an inch of social media’s life. My phone glued to my hand as I tried to kick my targets into touch. It was hardcore live learning and I loved it!

Sure, there were moments when I was spinning so many plates, I contemplated whether I’d bitten off more that I could chew, but this was a social media course aimed at mums, created my mums who knew exactly what their students (who were mums) would be juggling.

The struggle was real but knowing I was riding it out with women all in the same boat as me took the edge off. I wasn’t the only one working, studying and mum-ing at the same time and when you see everyone else managing it you realise it’s not such a struggle after all, it’s simply a case of being box clever with your time.

And I did it….still here to tell the tale of ‘the time I became a Digital Mum’ ready to set out on an exciting career managing social media from the comfort of my kitchen table/sofa/bed/

The commute doesn’t get more perfect and my co workers a dream.

I managed to juggle family life and working while studying to become a social media manager completing a Digital Mum course

If you’re a small business looking for a social media manager please do get in touch or pop over to my website for more information (click here)

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