This blog post is about what routines I have in the morning and what environment I like to work in, along with some suggestions and ideas.
I’ve written similar posts before; about how to keep warm and beat January and what physical venues I like to work out of in Central London but this is focused on what I like to have around me when I work at home. It’s becoming increasingly popular for self-employed and paid employees to work at home, either permanently or for several days a week. I would be interested to hear what your ‘home sanctuary’ consists of.
Some say you should (if possible) have a separate space to work in, from the rest of your house/flat. I agree. The problem is, my dining room table is a beautiful place to work. It’s light and it has a lovely view of the garden.
I don’t have the distraction of being able to see or hear family members – so that’s not a problem. Although the cat does say hello from time to time. I have a spare room with an office/desk space but it’s not as nice and whilst it has a window (I have worked in offices without any windows before) the view is of a fence. So it’s tricky to decide; nice garden view or keep a work/living room separation and work in the office room….
The truth is that I vary it. Like most things, variety is the spice the life and whilst I mostly working in the office room, it feels like such a treat to work at my dining room table, looking out at the garden. I also like to work outside of the house occasionally to keep perspective and ensure working from home always feels like a luxury.
Then there is a small corner of the office room that I have been “allowed” to be creative with. It’s photographs that might otherwise be put away in a cupboard, drawings that my partner or I have been given, tickets, general memorabilia and of course, the scratch map of the world to remind me how big this world is and to get out and explore it.
I surround myself with a tidy desk but by the end of the day, it needs a little spruce up again. When I start tasks, I get really involved and therefore when I go to eat lunch or a snack, I’ll often keep the plate by my side but everything gets tidied away when I’ve finished work in a symbolic “yay, I’ve finished for the day” celebratory tidy up.
Some people are early birds and love to get cracking with work straight away; others are most productive later into the evening. I’m a machine first thing in the morning but don’t ask me to work late into the evening, I’m useless past dinner time.
Some like printers and filing systems; I’m streamlined – everything is stored online and I rarely print so I don’t have a printer. I do have a stationary pot though – which has personalised post-it notes in. A leaving gift from a former employer was post-it notes printed with “Marry Me, Kirsty”. Apparently, I often said around the office, “If I could marry a post-it note, I would”. I do love them. The extra sticky ones are my favourites.
I don’t work with music on otherwise I would just sit and sing…or dance, the whole day away.
I do take phone calls but then I work with time tracker software (Toggl) so I just pause it while I get the door or take a call.
I’ve never found motivation a problem. A friend once said he could never work from home because he wouldn’t, well, work and he also likes and needs colleagues around him. I can work literally anywhere. When there is work to be done, it doesn’t matter where I am as long as I have the internet, my laptop and power. I love the extra hour I get from time I would normally be commuting – that is a real bonus of being a VA. Make sure you have hobbies and friends though, otherwise you’ll never leave the house!
That’s it. Job done.
Here are some lovely home office space ideas from House Beautiful – a few of them are so tiny and cute.