Entertaining Kids While You Work!

work at home mum imageSo the Easter Holidays are over … not sure about you but we had a lovely time.

A nice trip to London, as Santa had been very kind in buying us all tickets to see Mamma Mia. Which was quite good of Santa, as with the girls birthdays being so close to Christmas, it gave them something to look forward to after Christmas. However, if Santa decides to do something similar this year, let’s hope mummy and daddy will be more organised instead of booking only the week before the Easter Hols 🙂

It was such a fab show. However, I was so pleased there were lots of other children there as I didn’t realise how provocative it would be! I wasn’t the only one getting ‘Bad Parent of the Year!’ But, as musicals go it was brilliant and both my girls loved it. Luckily they haven’t picked up on anything that will scar them for life 🙂

But now it’s back to reality. If you read my facebook yesterday, you’ll see I had every intention of starting my day mega organised, but after putting dry dog food into the washing machine drawer, I realised that I had that much going around in my head I needed to sit, write it all down and get re-organised! Although I’ve managed to get some work done throughout the holidays, we did have our little break away, which was needed, once we got back from London I seem to stay in holiday mode! Hence the reason I feel so scatty!

One of the reasons I chose to work from home was so I could work around my children, but that means when they are off school I am at home with them. Although that sounds nice in theory, when they are off school, I’ve come to understand that my work shouldn’t just stop, but it’s inevitable that it has to slow down, as this sort of defeats the object of being at home with them. But no matter how much I prepare myself beforehand I always seem to be chasing my tail. I wouldn’t, don’t get me wrong, have it any other way.

I recently moved my desk downstairs, I was lucky enough to have a room to myself upstairs, however, I decided before the holidays that I wanted to be near the doors that open onto the garden. Our lovely weather (yes, we are having a few gorgeous days here in the UK) was just too lovely to miss out on. As I write this, the sun is shining and the doors are open, the birds are singing, it’s just bliss.

The other good thing about moving my desk downstairs is that I can actually get some work done while my girls play! (This is a complete bonus, as I didn’t think this would happen). The first week of the holidays worked really well. I would set them up with some crafty bits, or their own folder of work (they like to pretend to work in the office too!) and we’d all work away for an hour or two.

I always felt guilty going upstairs to my other office, when they were home, so I just didn’t do it. Whereas now we can still interact with each other, and I can feel like I’m getting through the pile on my desk that doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller 🙂

If you work at home and want to keep your kids entertained while you get the essential bits done, or if you want to entertain your kids while you get certain jobs done, hopefully these articles should help:

5 Ways to Entertain Children While You Work

Tips on Entertaining Kids While Working at Home – This lady has a problem working while her 5 year old is at home, look through the conversation at the bottom for tips from other mums. Hopefully, these articles will help you, they certainly did for me. Now back to shifting papers on my desk and deciding what to do first 🙂

photo credit: http://www.alancosens.com/work-from-home-moms/

Time Management – How good is yours?

photo credit: teramchugh.com

time managementI’ve been thinking about this lately … I’m not sure my time-management is very good!

I work from home, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I realise how easy it is to get distracted. (I wrote a blog a few months ago about working from home, please read here). This isn’t about being disciplined or motivated. Many people say, ‘How do you work from home? It’s so easy to switch the TV on and chill out for a bit …’ but I don’t do this. I love what I do, so I don’t need excuses not to work. 

However, I felt the need to write about managing my time … because I’m not sure about anyone else, but why does there never seem to be enough! Now, if you follow me on twitter, facebook or read my blog, you’ll see that I am a positive person. I’m passionate about people following their dreams and achieving their goals. So when writing this I didn’t want it to come across as a negative post, because it’s far from it.

The thing is I’ve been looking at how I get distracted and if I’m managing my time effectively … I think I am, but I always feel like I don’t have enough time. There is always something to do, somewhere to be and I laugh when people say they are bored!

Boredom … what is that?

As I said I didn’t want this to come across as a negative post, because I love the fact I’m never bored. I also love the fact that I don’t have a strict 9am-5pm schedule. I love that I can work around my children, and that working on a night doesn’t feel like a chore (unless it’s tax stuff 🙁 – yes, it’s that time of year!) I just wish there were more hours in the day, so I could do more of the stuff I love! This is obviously a good thing, I hear you say.

So when I started to think about what I am achieving with my time, I started to make lists of things I’d achieved in the last few months and I’m definitely moving forward. Most days my to-do list is ticked off and then I start another one from the HUGE main to-do list, (yes, I have one of these, and generally that gets added to everyday). If you follow me on twitter, you will see the mass of inspirational messages I tweet, but I don’t put any inspirational messages out there that I don’t believe in: I’m enthusiastic, positive and I love that I’m doing what I love. I’m excited about life. I want to tell the world to follow their dreams and their passions as life is far too short.

And all this is really good stuff … but like most people I am terrible for being distracted: answering emails, answering the phone, sending and replying to text messages and the worse thing about working from home … is the housework … there are some of you reading this and totally agreeing. It’s so easy to sort the washing out or quickly hoover around before sitting down at my desk. I have become a little stricter with myself for this, although it’s hard to leave a mess … I have a 7 and 5 year-old, do I need to say anymore? But I’ve found if I keep my office tidy this becomes my santuary and I can ignore the rest of the house (and hope and prayer nobody comes to the door!)

Anyway, as I said this wasn’t a whining post, as I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else, but I know there are plenty of other people out there who are in the same boat as me. So I decided to share some of the articles I found on time-management and working from home. I would do my own list (as I know what I should be doing … but hang-on the phone is ringing, an urgent email has just come through that I really need to reply too … and the washing machine has just stopped 🙂 ).

Hope these help some of you …

I love this article: their quote – ‘There are two types of time: clock time and real time’, Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/219553 

Tips from the NHS:  http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/time-management-tips.aspx 

I also found some time-management games! Now I haven’t tried these myself because I haven’t got time to play them. 🙂 However, for anyone interested in testing their time-management skills, just type ‘time-management games’ into google – you’ll be surprised with the list!

 

Home Working or Lone Working?

Working-from-homeI’m amazed how fast this first half-term has gone. My youngest has settled nicely into full-time school, the transition was easier for her than it was for me. I miss them like crazy, and even after a week off together, our time seems to go so fast, I could do it all again. However, I look back over the years, when I was desperate for this time. Two young children, who are exactly 2 years apart, it was quite stressful to say the least. I used to long for the time when I could have uninterrupted working time, sleep and the energy to fulfil my goals. And now here I am … it all seemed to happen so quickly!

I just wanted to air my thoughts on working from home. Not so much the motivation, as I believe if you love doing something then you should have the motivation to do it! If you’re not motivated, then it could be time to have a think about your true goals and dreams in life. I wanted to talk more about the time aspect (where does it go?) and the isolation!

I thought when both my girls were at full-time school I would have copious amounts of time. But still I find I’m meeting myself coming backwards. I always set myself targets and I would advise anyone reading my inspirational books to do the same (which are FREE at the moment). However, I do set myself lots of targets, but I never cut myself up if they all haven’t been achieved, as there is a danger in having high expectations; the feeling you are not getting anywhere when you haven’t reached them (which I’ve found in the past). But now I realise that ‘EVERY STEP COUNTS’. As long as steps are being made then you are continually moving forward.

So these last few weeks I set myself realistic goals. I’m happy to say they have been achieved. I now have the Chaos Series out in paperback. My books are available on Smashwords (which is a great ebook website). These tasks took me longer than expected, due to the formatting procedures. However, they are now available in lots of other formats, which I’m very pleased about.

However, bearing in mind how busy I’ve been, I never thought about the loneliness of working from home. Although, I love my own time, but I am also a people-person. While writing this blog, I came across a website called Colleagues on Tap. This company has devised an amazing programme for people who work alone at home. I think it’s a wonderful idea. They have co-working days, events and much more. This is not only a great way of networking and being introduced to new businesses, but to make new friends too.

I have a friend, S.A Silva (her website is coming soon), she is in a similar position to me, writing in her own environment, she is a very inspirational lady and I love spending time with her. We have recently decided to work together. Just a day or so a week, but this interaction is important. If you can find someone who you can do this with, this is a fantastic way of easing the loneliness. Writing is a lonely job. Once you’re immersed in your characters you’re generally in another world, but there are times when human interaction is needed. But this goes for lots of other vocations that involve home-working. If you can find someone who will work with you rather than seeing this an opportunity to chat aimlessly. We found that we did chat but we were bouncing ideas of each other and it was so much fun. Colleagues on Tap do exactly this, so if you don’t have anyone who could help with your working day, I would recommend getting in touch with this organisation.

I love meeting like-minded people, so I’m pleased I’ve found a way of being able to spend time on my own at home when I need too, but also being able to have the interaction with other people. It doesn’t have to be a lonely place if you find those around you in the same position.

PHOTO CREDIT: www.housetohome.co.uk