April is such a busy month for us! I’ll be 25 on Saturday, we’re headed to Columbus for Creative South next week, and Orlando Tech Week is the week after that! I am ready to say “Hello!” to April and all of the adventures that lie ahead of us. I hope you enjoy this wallpaper as much as I do!
I realized that I have never ever discussed my transition from working a full-time job and working part-time at home to working full-time in my home office. It’s been over a year now so I have some thoughts on what has worked for me thus far. Mostly every day, I get up and make my way into this office where I spend time designing, organizing, maintaining, meeting, and planning. Working from home isn’t always easy and it’s not for everyone. I’m going to share some tips on what works for me and how I’ve survived this past year, even while I was pregnant!
Having A Designated Space
When we moved into this condo almost three years ago, it was very important for the both of us to have separate office spaces. We always worked on Sevenality projects after our “9-to-5″ jobs and we learned that having an actual office space was so helpful. My office is actually a pretty good sized sun room where everything lives for Studio 404 Paper and Sevenality. It was important for me to have a space where I could store everything and have a pretty good sized desk. Nothing happens in my office except for work. I rarely eat at my desk. It works best for me to designate this space specifically for work so that I’m mentally prepared to give it my all when I sit down at my desk. Here are some things that might help you find your sweet space:
- Separate a space from your common living areas. Having a space that is your own helps motivate you to get in the game! It also keeps guests out and allows everyone to know when you’re in work mode.
- Know your needs. Prior to even opening Studio 404 Paper, I knew I needed a large desk to hold multiple screens and space for hand lettering. If I had to close things and move things around just to get crafty, I would become irritated by my space. This was often a problem at my 9-5 jobs, being stuck in a very small space with lots of paper work.
- Make it yours. I love having a personalized space to work in. I have never ever decorated a desk, cubicle, etc and any job because it didn’t feel like my space. This is my space where I can have pictures of friends, prints I love, and the furniture that works for me. Add in a personal touch to help yourself stay motivated!
Learn to Prioritize
If you haven’t already, prioritization is key in working for yourself. There are so many ways to get distracted at home. You have social media pinging, you friends are texting, the TV is right there, and who wouldn’t want a midday nap? You have to learn to prioritize your work over your distractions. When I switched from listening to music to podcasts while working, I really increased my productivity. Hearing inspiring entrepreneurs talk about their businesses or listening to other creatives inspired me to do my very best. This helped me fight the temptation to catch up on my favorite shows and ignore that client project.
- Organize your work by priority. If this is something you’ve struggled with in the past, working from home is a great way to perfect this skill. Without the distractions of office noise, it’s easy for you to sit down and write up a to-do list in order of importance.
- Stay focused. It’s easy to be distracted at home as well! You’re in walking distance of your refrigerator which is bad enough. Find something that gets you in work mode.
- To-do lists. This is what helps me stay afloat. Once I have a new task, I automatically write it down. I know apps like TeuxDeux work for people and help them stay on top of things. I work best with pen and paper and if I forget a notebook, I list things down in my Evernote notebooks. To-do lists were so helpful in dealing with my pregnancy brain! I would forget where my cell phone was all of the time but never forgot a task that came from a meeting.
I think as an industry, tech has become very aware of lifestyle and health choices. I have an occupation that generally requires me to sit for long hours at a time. If I wanted to, I could be doing this completely alone for 8-12 hours a day. I became very aware of my needs while I was pregnant. I am notoriously terrible at eating while working. I would never take lunch at my day jobs just because I felt like it was a waste of time. Now I am much better at taking an hour of my day to sit down, eat, and reset.
- Take a break or a few! It’s important to get up from your computer and take a break. I am also very bad at this so I’ve started to take Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation) every hour. This gives me an opportunity to stretch while walking away from my computer. To make sure I committed to this, I got rid of my area rug in the living room and leave out a yoga mat.
- Make healthy eating choices. One benefit of being at home is the ability heave healthier lunches. I admit, with having a newborn, it wasn’t easy but now that we’re settled into a routine, it’s much easier for me to cook lunch. Try to take some time to eat some brain food. It will definitely help you get through the afternoon slump.
- Keep up with your fitness. It’s easy to fall out of your fitness routine when you’re no longer travelling to an office. If you need to, find a gym that’s close to home. Try taking a morning or early afternoon class. Make sure your workouts continue to be a priority for you. It’s much easier to stay focused when you’re feeling great.
I realized I have so much to cover so I’ll have to break this post up!
What has helped you work from home?
Happy March! As per usual, I am drowning in projects and constantly trying to catch up. My every day struggle of working and managing my business along with raising a newborn made me feel this post was overdue.
I am approached often when friends or strangers even express envy over being an entrepreneur. While working for myself has been the greatest thing for me, it’s not easy! I know myself and some of my other fellow business owners/bloggers sometime focus on the good things and the positive side but I want to talk about the behind the scenes look of my business life. Behind any fun pretty shot of my office or work, I post on Instagram, there are four or five piles of papers you don’t see. I have so much going on at times, it’s hard to understand where my head is. So I want to talk about! Let’s talk about the behind the scenes of being a business owner.
One of the biggest complaints I always heard about the corporate world was the amount of meetings that are involved. My creative business is much more brand-oriented than most others so I do a lot of project management. Meetings are an unavoidable part of project management and project based work.
On the Sevenality side, we generally have 2-4 meetings per new client project, depending on the type or size of the project. This includes an introductory meeting, usually a mid-point meeting, and a conclusive meeting. I enjoy working with local clients for the ability to save e-mail time by hashing out issues early on and face to face. I am able to answer questions that would generally come up throughout the project at once. It’s been much more effective for me to have a phone call or a in-person meeting than sending 20 emails back to back.
Coffee Gets Cold
We’ve all seen or done the iconic first-thing-in-the-morning shot of our coffee at our very neat and organized desks. It seems one of the biggest misconceptions I have from others is the amount of free time I have during my day. I have great intentions to sit at my desk in the morning and start things with purpose but the reality is, I’ll begin working and next thing I know, that mug of coffee is well below room temperature.
Speaking for myself, there is always something that needs to be done. As I write this post, I can think of twenty other things I could be doing that would probably be more “beneficial.” Entrepreneurs work hard. We don’t all just hang out and browse social media all day. Time goes by quickly!
Failure & Missed Opportunities
I don’t think anyone likes to talk about failure but it does happen. There are things that happen that cause projects not to go well and it’s not always easy to deal with. Being able to handle the reality of failure is one aspect of committing to doing anything. You wish for things to always go well but you have to put a plan in place for when they don’t.
I’ve missed out on some great opportunities for this blog space in the past three months simply because this blog isn’t my focus right now. It does suck, especially when I see peers who are thriving off of the same opportunities. Every day, I have to turn something down in order to keep myself efficient and sometimes, those things could have been great opportunities. I can’t dwell on them or wish for more hours in my day, I have to be reassured in the decisions I make for my business which is a job that never stops.