When I made the decision over three years ago to become self-employed and work from home I have to confess it was on a bit of a whim.
(I know, that doesn’t sound like me does it??)
It was inspired partly by boredom and the desire for a new challenge*, alongside the need, as a single parent, for more flexibility. ‘I know what I’ll do,’ I said to myself, ‘I’ll become a freelance journalist! That’ll be fun’.
I had no money, no experience and no training, but I did have enthusiasm, a desk I hastily bought from ebay, and an extensive collection of stationery items. What more did I need?
Over the next few weeks I spent many a happy hour perusing the magazines in WHSmiths and organising my pens into colour order and before long I had carved out what one could almost describe as a career. If by career you meant ‘bizarre collection of jobs with no real plan for the future’. Job done. Or in my case, very nearly done, possibly tomorrow.
My difficulty, in working from home, comes from my apparent ability to be distracted by absolutely anything vaguely shiny or more interesting than what I’m currently doing. When you work from home, it’s amazing how alluring the washing up can become when you’ve got a copywriting deadline on the horizon. ‘Right,’ I will say to myself at 9am, ‘time to get cracking.’ And then I’ll wander off to make a cup of tea.
This year though will be different. (Aren’t they all?)
This year I’m going to try really, really hard to work more efficiently. Really truly honestly I am. (At the same time as losing weight, getting fit and reading the news more often obviously). This is my plan, my New Year resolutions as a work at home mum:
- If I am in the middle of doing something, just do that thing. It sounds obvious, but the number of times I go looking for an attachment, get distracted by twitter, start writing a blog post, bake a cake, and then come back two hours later to find I was in the middle of sending an email all along is just ridiculous.**
- Be stricter with my hours. Yes it’s lovely having the flexibility of being self-employed, but I need to focus on working the key hours when children are at school and then enjoying my time off without feeling guilty.
- Not check my emails and twitter every 27 seconds fearing that something Incredible And Amazing is going to be happening that I’m going to miss. Seriously, get over yourself woman, your life really isn’t that interesting.
- Make more of an effort to create a long-term plan. This is going to be a toughie as I have a real aversion to planning ahead. What if I change my mind? What if something else, something better or shinier comes along? Without long-term planning though it is all too easy to just say ‘yes’ randomly to any offers of work without thinking about how they contribute to your career objectives. Or so I’ve heard.
And that’s it. This time next year and all that.
What are your New Year’s resolutions?
*Not to mention a rather disastrous work fling
**It is worth noting that in the middle of writing this post I left to research and buy business insurance, to look at a recipe book and to eat an apple. You see my problem.