After being fully nomadic for the past few years travelling, I’ve finally started to take a short break between trips (sometimes its just a few days, but hey, it all counts!) This year I’ve set up a little office in our house, decked it out with all my favourite things and promised myself to do all my work (blogging, editing, emails, consulting) from there so that when I’m off adventuring I can enjoy being in the moment! So here are a few of my tips for working from home:
How to Work from Home
Create a Space that Inspires you Daily
I had just one design idea coming into this: make the space inspiration. As such my walls are filled with framed quotes, framed prints from my favourite places around the world, and even framed skeleton city maps of New York, London and Paris. Whatever it is that inspires you – have it right there in front of your eyes to keep you inspired daily. Oh, and I also have a print of the phrase “Shake it Off” at eye level by my door so that anything that is on my mind in the office can be left in the office.
Set work hours
As someone who is almost always travelling, I find it really hard to distinguish between work time and time to enjoy myself. On planes, trains and in any waiting rooms I always have my laptop handy so that I can get things done in spare time, but now that I’m at home a little more I really struggle distinguishing between “down time” and “work time” (just ask my boyfriend). What has helped is setting work or “office hours” so that I start at the same time each morning AFTER breakfast (I do love multi-tasking) and finish each evening around 6pm when my boyfriend gets home (though he is a farmer so sometimes I get an extra couple of hours which are often needed!)
Get dressed every day
As I used to blog from a hotel bed (and still will when I’m not at home), I found it really difficult at first to not just wear my pj’s all day around the house. Why? They’re damn comfy that’s why! But I have found that getting dressed for the day makes you substantially more productive, even if you’re just changing into semi-comfortable work clothes (I tend to wear gym clothes even though I don’t go to the gym – HA!)
Schedule breaks and a lunch hour
I’m still struggling on this point as a chronic snacker, but I’ve heard it does help. I usually try eat lunch around 12pm or 1pm and get straight back to work, as well as sneaking in a couple of breaks to do other jobs around the house or run in to grab something from town.
Make a Financial Plan
Now for the serious stuff – working for yourself means that you also need to manage your own finances (adequately) in order to stay afloat! When you start working for yourself no one else is going to put away tax money for you (you’ve gotta do that yourself), no one is going to pay you Superannuation (you might have a different name for that in the US – like retirement money), and no one is going to keep track of all your business expenses – but you! I have found the best way to do this is to have a budget book, a receipts book for business expenses and to put a portion of your income in a separate bank account to pay tax at the end of the financial year. As far as saving money for retirement goes, I’m a pretty bad influence on that one. I love saying yes to things and doing what I feel like at the time… so my saving advice is pretty dismal. Its all very time consuming but if you don’t do it you will suffer in the long run!
Don’t undervalue (or overvalue) your work
When you take on blogging as your “full time job”, you are essentially committing yourself to actually earn a living off blogging and not just do it as a hobby. STILL DO IT FOR THE LOVE OF IT, but don’t spend too long undervaluing your work because you’re too timid to charge industry standards for your work (i.e. selling your photos, copy writing, editing, consulting – the list of how bloggers make money is endless). One mistake I did make was always doing things for free – for a very long time – because it took me a while to realise that I was running out of money (again, don’t ask me for saving advice!) When I finally realised that in order to keep travelling I would need to actually be making money I soon got my act together and am now in a better financial position than I could ever have imagined – thanks blogosphere!
I’m a shocker for lists. I make lists to make lists. Really. But this is how I get things done. I always get asked how I manage full time travel with x1 blog post per day, daily social uploads and side projects (some I can’t even share with you yet!), but this is precisely how. Write lists, do the things on the lists in the sequence they present themselves and you’ll find your productivity levels soar.
You’ve got to Spend money to Make money
Well this is a point I’ve never had trouble with! The premise of owning a business of any kind (not just a small business) is that you’ve got to spend money to make money. Don’t be afraid to invest in your passion as if you keep up the hard work and consistency, you will see the reward in the long run! Blogging isn’t about making quick money, it is about loving something so much that you do it for free, but one day someone realises how much you love what you are doing that they choose to pay you for what you do.