It can be quite isolating working from home. Quite often I don’t physically speak to anybody all day. I may email, message people on social media and text but it’s just not the same as talking to a real person face to face. I also find there can be many distractions as you don’t have other people to motivate you or bosses voice in the back of your head making you feel like you have to be that productive that you can’t even stop to breathe. The main thing I struggle with and have done since I first became self-employed 5 years ago now is a simple nothing flashy diary system.
I’m not a big fan of online planners as I like a piece of paper right by my side that I can easily see what I need to do that day and then I have a second list that is needed to be done but not time-based. The promoting old posts on twitter or my facebook page, repinning summer meal ideas now the weather has changed. The fact I can get a bright yellow highlighter to remind me I ran out of time yearday and something REALLY needs to be done today. Then I come to the most satisfying thing of all, getting my pencil and putting a line through something I’ve done! It’s so satisfying doing that and I don’t care what anyone says ticking something on an electronic to do list comes no where near in the satisfaction stakes!
M system is very simple. I have 6 boxes, Monday through to Friday and then a box for the weekend as no matter how hard we try something always gets done on a weekend but that is what happens when we live in a 24/7 world where no promotion is every enough and theres always that one little tweet that needs to be sent. My one sheet planner has a 7th box at the top entitled ‘Three Work Objectives’. Since I started picking three things that I want to concentrate on each week I’ve found that I have been so much more productive.
Last week one of my objective was to take a hard look at my pinterest. I don’t think I get enough traffic from Pinterest but it’s one of the things I don’t put much effort in to. I’m not good with graffics and to help with that I’ve enrolled on a 5 week oline course and so far I have learned so much and I put some of that knowledge in to updating my pins on all posts. Bearing in mind I’ve been blogging solid for 5 years this will take some time but I’ve already pencilled pinterest as a weekly objective for a few weeks time and I’ve scheduled to repin some of mine and other peoples every day this week.
I really have tried so many online/electronic planner and I just can’t get to grips with them or the monthly cost is just something I can’t justify. If I have a blog post that needs to be done my a specific date, I put it on my to do sheet at least 2 days before it’s due, even earlier if I need to prepare something or take photographs. I also start every day looking what I haven’t done from previous days and also what needs to be done that day. At the end of the week I transfer anyting not completed on to next weeks sheets and plan what I’ll do next week. I actually write much quicker than I type and often sit in bed on a sunday night with my clipboard (complete old fashioned here!) and plan for the next week and next months if its a big project I am working on. If I need to brainstoem I can easily slip other pieces of paper in to my system and even help save the planet by writing on both sides.
I find the easiest way to get work done in the best productive was is to set the alarm on my phone for 40 minutes. I’ll work through and then when the alarm goes of I will get up and more around alittle. Having a number of chronic illnesses I sometimes have to do this during the 40 minutes if I’m having a particular bad day. I will also go and make a cup of tea and do some household jobs, like sorting laundry, dishwasher, 5 minutes with the hoovr , With my health I really am talking 5 minutes. By taking these 20 minute breaks at minimum every hour I find I am much more productive. I’ve now been self employed for 5 years and during this time my health has declined that I know I could never go back and work for anyone else now.
At this time in my life self employment is certainly the right choice for me and even though it can be very isolating, I don’t think I could go back to a traditional 9 to 5 office job now.
I also find stepping away from the computer is also beneficaial to my health not just phyically tired from staring at a screen but also mentally as I really do need to move away from electronic items for a few hours before I go to bed.
Are you a paper or electronic planning person? Do you like the advantages working from home gives you? Could you go back to a to 5 no?
If you click here to get access to my weekly objectives prinatable sheet.