Working from home ticks all my boxes! I absolutely love the freedom of sitting in peace and quiet and getting on with the task at hand.
Perhaps because I’m such a homebody …
Google’s dictionary is of the opinion that a homebody is also unadventurous. I beg to differ! Would I have embarked on self-employment on the other side of 50 if I was unadventurous?
My day typically starts at around 6 am when I head downstairs for my first cup of coffee. Sliding in behind my PC to check emails, see what work arrived overnight and then generally connecting and commenting and engaging with my network until about 8 am.
That’s when the real work start.
Some days are spent working ON the business and some working IN the business.
If you’re not sure what the difference is, especially when you’re new to being self-employed, working ON the business involves (for me) research on topics to write about both for blogs as well as networking content, research on text for my own images (I’ll get to that in a moment) as well as educating myself on various aspects of my work. Working IN the business is doing work for the clients – in other words – billing for hours spent on productive tasks.
Creating images for myself
Creating images for my own social media feed is as important as it is to be doing that for yours. How would I be showcasing what I can do if my social media feeds consist of only text? You’d have no basis to trust that I can do what I claim to be able to do.
Which explains also what I do. I am a creative designer, putting together various elements, which will make you your image, while always keeping in mind your message & branding, for your social media feed. This could range from product-related images, educational based images, advertisements as well as call to action images.
The creating of social media images start with scrolling through countless webpages building up my library of royalty-free images.
Why royalty free? I have no wish to be embroiled in royalty wars over the use of an image that I may have thought to be free to use, just because I found it on the internet.
Because I have assisted people in the beauty industry, pet business, marketing environment, pre-school, speakers, wedding stationery (to name but a few) you can very well imagine that my library needs to be extensive & all-encompassing.
Making sure that my library stays up to date with what is current is what most of my day can be spent on.
It’s a good thing I have an affinity for what is pleasing on the eye.
Just because I like pretty does not mean that my library consists of only female-orientated images, far from it! My audience, as well as my clientele, is much broader than those who I currently supply to.
Remaining effective and productive without going bonkers with the quiet need dedication and commitment.
I’ve often been asked how I stay sane with the barking dog & chirping birds my only company.
Here’s how I remain focussed:
Time is Money
Mindless scrolling through social media! Do you have any idea how quickly time goes when you don’t curb yourself?
Because I am constantly looking for ideas, I use this time as research also.
I must set a timer – when it goes off, I switch over to the next task. This is also called the Pomodoro Technique. It is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. You literally set a timer to break work down into intervals, generally for 25 minutes after which you take a break.
Bringing us to the next point …
Walk away from the screen
Sitting staring at your little screen, or sometimes not so little screen, for extended periods of time reduces your productivity.
Stuart McLeod, the CEO and founder of karbonhq, said productivity is illusory – in other words NOT real.
You can read why he said that HERE. Perhaps you could even comment below your thoughts on this? Taking short breaks – 10 minutes at a time – is not to be sneezed at. It stretches your legs and gives your circulation a chance to, well, circulate! Perhaps you can even stretch your arms a bit while you’re stretching your legs. Those shoulders are getting bunched up for a reason … you’ve been sitting behind your computer for WAY too long!!
Juggling work and home responsibilities
I’m the carer at home. Not because I’m “at home”, but because I’m so bloody brilliant at it. You know those short breaks mentioned in point 2 above … this is where those come in VERY handy!
It can be hard juggling all those plates, pots and baskets of laundry.
Thankfully Francesco Cirillo has come to the rescue again.
I must mention though, the responsibility to let your family know that you cannot be the be-all and end-all of domesticity just because you work from home starts with you. Educating them on your business requirements while juggling home responsibilities is important.
The last thing you want is for resentment to creep in because they expect you to bring home the dough while also making sure the house does not look like a tornado hit it (still) when they get home.
There are a LOT of smart applications for your equally smart phone on the market.
I have just opened my PlayStore (Android) and typed in “productivity”. I can further refine my search to apps, planners as well as trackers. If you open your iStore, I will imagine you’d find exactly the same, perhaps more!
Trello: allows you to organise anything with anyone, anywhere
Slack: allows your team to communicate in one place
Unfold: is a firm favourite for Instagram stories
LastPass: is a password manager & secure private vault, especially useful for virtual assistants who manage passwords for various clients
Working from home really ticks all my boxes! With more and more companies seeing the value in having staff work from home, perhaps you are finding yourself in this fortunate situation as well.
Do you have any tips and tricks to keep productivity up, that I failed to mention here? Comment below and let me know, please. I’m always willing to look at alternatives to keep me on the “straight and narrow”.
Now that you know that I help with the design of social media images, is there anything I can help you with?
If you’re new to design and want to start using Canva as your platform for design, you can sign up here and use the Pro features (the same I use for my designs) for 30 days absolutely free of charge.
If you want to go ahead and try your hand at design and need some guidance, you can download my free guide to the perfect social media design here. If you need a little more help, I can assist you using Zoom – which we’ll record so you can keep referring back to our session. This link here will get us connected for an hour to walk you through your challenges.
All the best