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Working from home - Covid-19 edition

contractor creative at home design freelancer Graphic Designer Wahm working at home with children working from home covid-19 working from home tips worklife vs homelife

 

So here we all are back in our castles reaping the benefits of the place we (should) love the most, I started to hear a few weeks ago of friends and their partners families working from home, and it seems down here (all the way in Wollongong hahaha, I'll admit the hysteria is here, but its been slower to find its way down here, especially with our first confirmed case only this week) the next week or so more work places are taking it home during the current worldwide situation. Now this is nothing new to me, nor is having to wrangle a toddler, work, clean and do whatever else we need to do while also trying to entertain and keep children alive and happy.

This is something I have been doing more consistently over the past 5 or so years, since having my 2nd, and it's not just my own business work. I have been working remotely freelancing from home since then, as I decided that me working onsite even freelancing, isn't something that can work with my young family right now (of 4 back then and now 5), but I can still work. I have worked and work with small and large corporations and studios, never meeting face to face, and never missing a deadline. This is what works for me, and now that such a large percent of people are at home working, I thought I would share what helps me out working from home.

Still get up and get dressed! I know it is tempting to stay in your PJ's but it also sets your mood, you can keep the slippers or the uggs on, but get up like a normal day, get dressed. (I also found this helped me when I first had a bub, I still got up had a shower, got dressed out of the pjs) and if a bit of lippy or cologne helps you feel the part too, go ahead!

Start your day at specific time, just like you would a normal day at work. The very few days that I have help, I start my working day by 9am, 9.30 at the latest. I have my coffee, breakfast, do the school run, do washing etc anything else I need to get done, but I aim to have my next coffee and be sitting down at my work at that specific time. Being at home it is easy to get distracted by household chores etc, do those during a break, or when you have finished a certain session of work. (e.g., for me once I've sent client X's work or replied to those X emails)

*Now for those that have small children, if you follow my socials you will know on most days that I get up early anywhere between 4.30 - 5am to get some work done in peace before they wake up, so I can focus on them later. (yes getting up early means going to bed earlier - in bed by 9pm during the week for me). Earlier works better for me, than staying up in the night - which I do if I have a certain deadline (sometimes I work with clients through late nights out of hours, or I don't receive files or information for a morning deadline until late, or International time differences, but strictly only when needed).

*Those who also need to look after children throughout the day, I used to work in blocks when I have them home with me. Eg...I would work only until 10am and they could watch TV, play on their iPad or whatever they like, then I would continue to work again in another block later after lunch, when they may nap or have 'quiet time'. This worked better for me than working in little tiny blocks when I can. It also helps if you do have a little one, take them out first thing in the morning whether it be after school drop off if you have others, or after breakfast, go for a walk/outdoor play (whatever works for your isolation requirements right now) before you sit down back at home to do work, get them out and active first up.

Get your workspace, working right for you! I get up, start up my computer and turn on my diffuser, and when I sit down I load up some music (although I admit sometimes I just like quiet as usually my life is very loud hahaha). Certain albums really get me through my work load.

I have everything I need in my top drawer - Specific pens, highlighters, note pad, stickies. I have my clients print outs (such as meals/briefs/correspondance) in their own folders organised into a folder shelving unit very close to my desk and my printers are in arms reach.

I've even added some new plant friends on my window sill this year, to make my workspace even more of my own little work haven.
I know not everyone has the room to have a dedicated room for work. We have a room (we call the ideas room, the family call it Mum's room haha or we call it the study), as I'm a designer and create, it also has all the machines I use, all my supplies and a big workbench with cutting mats on top to work on, and below has all my paper stocks and supplies and tools etc.
If you don't have a workspace try to create somewhere, even a table where you have everything you need and know where it will be all the time, if you cant do this, create a caddy or a container that has everything you need, so its easy reach and you can bring it with you around the house.

I don't always work at my desk, with kids I work with what will work around my day....for example, If I am drawing on my iPad, this is something I can do while they paint and draw with me, or I can work from my laptop if I need to do quotes, or emails or research while they play somewhere else in the house. I plan my working day around what will work around them.

Just like you would on site, I have everything in my diary, the to do list for that day and I check it before I start. Ticking off things feels GOOOOOOOD!

Oh and don't have Facebook open on your desktop, and don't have your phone by your side, unless you need it, just have it out of arms reach so you can still receive calls etc, because once you open that Instagram and start to scroll....your.day.is.over!

Stay organised and file how you would at work on your computer. Keep the folders the same, save what you need into designated folders.

Take your usual breaks! If you stop for a mid morning coffee go make one, if you usually step outside for 3.30itis, go do it!

Phone calls can be distracting for me, and hard (when the kids are around) I make sure that I plan times when I'm not going to be harassed by tiny ones, and I have a notepad/pen ready before the call, I also let them know the variables of my call. (eg. I have 2 small ones with me right now, they are not in school).

You have a start time, make sure you have a finish time! Once that time comes - unless it is urgent, work has stopped. I learnt to do this a while ago, unless it is urgent, or of course to my discretion. Otherwise you will begin this forever never ending work day.

You also need to be flexible, especially with kids. As I mentioned earlier, working with what works with them and of course I know a lot of people are bringing home their full time work day/schedule, as opposed to my part-time, and my choice of what work load I take on at any time or agree to, but they can still adhere to those needing to work full time, you just need to be able to find a break between what is home and enjoying it, and not creating a 24 hour working home life!

Hoping if youa re new to working from home, this has helped, your days don't always go to plan, especially if children are involved, but once you create your own set schedule/routine for working at home, you will find that you haven't interrupted your haven of home life with your work life. (even if you do love what you do) ;)

Hope you all are all staying safe, sane and kind! x

 

 


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