Monday, 7 September 2015

Back To Work (Or How to Ace That Freelance Thing)


Blouse: £39.99, Zara. Jeans: 'Pheobe Slim', £195, MiH Jeans. Chair: £399, Out & Out Original. Plant: £12, Ikea. Side table: West Elm (sold out but similar here)
Although I haven't had (much) time off this summer, I've really felt those post Bank Holiday weekend, early September Monday blues...and it really does feel like everyone is back to the daily grind again.

I've got a manic September planned (weirdly, none really involving London Fashion Week) so I need to make a plan to work from home more in the future. Now I have a calmer space to work in (i.e no builders traipsing through our flat constantly) I enjoy working from my place and thought I'd share a few tips on how I make it work.



1. Make a plan of action. It's so easy to be distracted in the day, especially at home - a cup of tea here, a phonecall there. I set myself a To Do list and briefly go over it the evening before so I know exactly what I need to achieve first. A friend taught me a phrase - 'eat frogs for breakfast' - which means doing your largest (probably your most dreaded) task first. Set yourself a time limit to do this (I like to have done this by 10am) and the rest of your day will be a breeze.





2. Write a To Do List.  I love a list. But the important thing here is to keep it separate to your personal 'to do' list. I don't look at my work one until I am in work mode and ready to crack it. These notepads are from Amazon and I am obsessed - they have tick boxes and everything.


Diary: Aspinal of London. Notebook: £6.95, Studio Sarah. Personalised notecards: Honeytree Stationers. Phone case stickers: £3 each, Skinny Dip
3. Understand when you're the most productive. I lose concentration on one project very easily. I know I get the most work done between 8am-10am and then in the evening. I try and make appointments in between these times and stop beating myself up about not working in between the hours of 9-5 - if I want to pop out in the middle of day, I will. 



4. Don't do the washing up. It's so easy to do the household chores as they're always right there. But try and make sure you switch off to it - if you're working at an office, it wouldn't get done until you've finished work. The same applies here.

5. Try to associate rooms or spaces with work. I'm lucky, I have a study - although I do like to work from my laptop as I am often working remotely and it's easier to have all my files in one place. Our study is where I do real 'office' work - invoicing, admin etc. When I go into that room and close the door, I really feel in 'business' mode. It helps and I'm more productive in there than in any other space.



6. Figure out your own system. It doesn't matter if it's silly or only makes sense to you - you don't have to follow anyone else's rules now you work for yourself. I have a million folders for all my projects - it helps me separate my brain when I have so many projects on the go.



6. Remember why you went freelance. This is what I am yet to figure out, to be honest. It was to have more free-time - which I still need to work on...but I am getting there with my work/life balance. The important thing to remember is you are in charge of your destiny/schedule so you have the power to say 'no' or make your life work better for you.



Photos: Christopher O'Donnell 
The irony of this post is that I typed it up at 11:30pm in a Hotel room on a work trip (I told you the work/life balance thing needed working on), so the last thing to remember is 'don't believe what everyone tells you' - life looks all glossy on Instagram but we are all dealing with issues, too much/too little work - and it's not something you should worry about comparing with other people. At the moment, my work is working hard for me and that's all I need.

12 comments :

  1. Where did you buy the sheepskin rug? Thanks!

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    1. Haha! The one thing I forgot to credit....
      It's from The White Company, I did some work for them ages ago and agreed to be paid in vouchers as knew it was the only way I'd ever buy anything. I bought it ages ago and saved it in a box until the loft was ready!

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  2. I nodded my way through this! I actually wrote a piece for a brand recently about taking care of yourself and eating well whilst balancing my laptop on top of my lap in front of the telly at 11pm and scoffing chocolate. Great tips. Bookmarked!

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    1. Aaah - brilliant! Again, replying at 9:45pm....

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  3. "My work is working hard for me" - love that quote Alex! Great post lovely!

    Monica x

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    1. Thanks so much, Mon - hope to see you soon xxx

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  4. Fabulous post. Just what I needed to hear. And you're right about not believing in the supposedly glossy life projected on Instagram.

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    1. Thank you! Yes...we live in such a world now where we compare our lives/followers/expectations with everyone...it is so hard to feel unequal etc - and good to keep reminding us of what's important!

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  5. Instagram is full of swans with feet peddling like mad underneath to make it all look amazingly smooth and wonderful. I hope people don't always believe the hype.

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    1. Sadly, Mumsnet is full of discussions on what they've seen bloggers do on instagram (and therefore judging and making unfair assumptions) - a bit sad, really!

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  6. Hi Alex

    You are one of the brilliant bloggers out there and I make sure to check yours daily and it's always a pleasant surprise on the kind of things you come up with
    I also work from home and it's been six years now... Some days I get it right n some days I don't.. But it's so rewarding to do your own bit..

    I quite liked your office and the Color is very chic and coordinated. Please could you let me know where you got the notice board (grey borders) from.. It's very different and I am keen to get one.

    Good luck with everything you do

    Cheers.. S

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    1. Thanks so much, Sue - what a lovely comment! I do really try with my content and enjoy what I do so much, always nice to hear that people are reading! Yes, it does feel good to work for yourself - something so great about knowing what you put in, you get back from everything. The noticeboard is actually just a canvas from Rymans I painted grey and push things through with pins - looks a bit chicer than your usual cork board xxx

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