As well as running this blog I also have a full time job in the city. Most days I commute into the office from my small village in the countryside, but over the past year I’ve been able to move to a more flexible working arrangement which has made a huge difference to my work life balance.
Flexible working can mean a change in your employment hours, adjusting your start and finish times or working remotely. For me it means working from home when I need to. I avoid the stress of my long commute, gain back hours of my day and I no longer need to use up annual leave just to wait in for a plumber or the postman.
At first I struggled to avoid distractions and get into a good routine, whereas now I feel that days spent working from home are just as productive, if not more so, than days in the office. Plus I apply it to my blogging now too so that I can put out more lovely content each week!
So for my fellow procrastinators, bloggers and social media addicts, here’s how I learned to do it!
Set up a designated work space in a quiet corner. You don’t need a fancy white desk with a wall full of inspirational quotes (although by all means kit it out to your hearts content if it helps!). My workspace, for example, is currently my kitchen table, or my garden! This gives me a calm, relaxing space to work in with no TV in sight.
Sorry for sounding like your mum here, but as tempting as it is to roll out of bed and stew on the sofa in yesterday’s pyjamas, in the long run this is likely to make you less productive! You’ll feel sluggish and it’ll take you longer to wake up, and it’s more likely that you’ll find yourself distracted with thoughts of all the things you haven’t done yet.
Simple things like brushing your teeth and taking a shower will help your brain switch into a more alert mode and by getting the tasks out of the way early on your mind is free to focus on what you sat down to achieve.
(And you know, there’s nothing to stop your change of clothes being a fresh pair of pjs!)
I know, I know, this is a really hard one! But ask yourself these questions:
Avoid the above by hiding your phone for a bit! Put it in another room, or in a drawer, or on the shelf behind you so that your back is to it… whatever means that it’s out of sight!
The freedom of not being tethered to your phone for a few hours will clear your head and leave you sharper and more attentive to the task that you’re trying to complete.
Plan ahead and equip your work space with everything you need for a few hours of work. Keep a drink and a snack beside you and have a pen and notepad handy along with any other items that you might need. This will avoid the need for you to get up and look for things halfway through your work, so you don’t break your concentration.
Every 90 minutes to 2 hours get up, stretch your legs and take a short break away from the screen. Not only will you come back with a fresh focus, but this will also help avoid muscle and joint pains in the longer term.
If you’re interested in learning more about flexible working Powwownow (one of the UK’s leading teleconference call providers) have put together The Ultimate Guide to Flexible Working which you can download for free here: The Ultimate Guide to Flexible Working (for employees).
It covers everything from knowing your rights when applying for Flexible Working, to finding the best forms of communication when working remotely and recommendations on great places to work from.
You’ll even find flexible working tips from bloggers dotted throughout the guide including yours truly… us bloggers certainly know all about flexible working! I hope that it helps!
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, however the kind folks at Powwownow sent me a box of goodies to enjoy when working from home in thanks for sharing my tips for the guide (including the Nakd Crazy Cola Raisins pictured above which FYI really do taste like cola bottles – YUM!)