The Invisibility of Working from Home

A very Merry New Year to you all. I hope you enjoyed the festivities.

Right, now down to business, be warned, this is going to be a rant! If you don’t enjoy a good rant then read no further!…

I have had a bee in bonnet, a bee that I have tried to ignore but that has been buzzing around for the whole festive period. Here goes…

I own my own business. I spent time setting up my own business and I now make money from my business. Not like millions of monies, but enough to call it viable. Well done me right? My husband goes to work. He worked hard to get his job and he also makes monies. Well done to him right? BUT, and here comes that bee, when my husband finished for work for the Christmas break every single person we spoke to uttered the words “So, have you finished for Christmas now”, followed by “ooo, it must be nice to have a break, when are you off until?”. EVERY SINGLE PERSON.

Ask me how many people asked me the same questions, go on… NONE! Not a single person asked me when I was breaking up for Christmas. Not a single person wished me a lovely break.

Seriously! Do I not work? Do I not get up at the same time as my husband, work all day and then go to bed at the same time? Does working from home not count as work? Because I do the school run twice a day, does that mean the rest of the day I am not working? Do people know how hard I work? Do they know that whilst my husband (and I’m sorry, I have no gripe against him, he’s just the good example), that whilst he was “enjoying his much needed week off”, I was working until 4am trying to get work done during the Christmas holidays.

Just because I work from home, just because I have my own business, this does not mean that I don’t work as hard as you, or as hard as Mr Bloggs down the road!

I work too. I work hard. Give me the respect of acknowledging that and wishing me a nice break over Christmas. That’s all I ask.

And there you have it. Rant over. Phew! It’s not often I have a rant, but this hit hard. Sometimes I feel a little invisible, and this just added to that.

Do you work from home? Has anything like this ever happened to you? Share your story in the comments, I’d love to hear from you xx

Juggling Work and School

IMG_20180907_105513So, this happened this week. First week at school (wow!). And whilst I’m over the moon for my little one, and so proud to see her wandering in on her own all confident and excited, my goodness is it a shocker to the system!!

Suddenly my life has been shaken about and everything has changed. I now have to fit my working day into 5 hours, and it’s short, so short! I get back from the school run, kettle on and then sit at my desk. Before I know it, boom, it’s time to head back to school.

I have always been a fan of routine, and now, suddenly, I have it. But after over 4 years of chaos and a (slight) lack of organisation, it’s a real shock to the system. With a five hour work day, I actually have less time to fit everything in than I used to, but now I have 5 days a week. 5 days a week when I know I’ll get to work. No more having to postpone jobs for days (or more often than not working in the evenings to get them done in time).

It’s a lifestyle change, it’s a new chapter and fingers and toes crossed it will mean more stability and less panic (plus the added bonus of topping my 10,000 steps every day with the walk there and back – bonus!).

Change can be tiring, change can be hard work, but we must embrace it and enjoy it. Without change I suppose life would be pretty boring. I need to get ready now for the homework, the school meetings, the endless parties and everything else that comes with this fantastic new adventure. A huge well done to all those working parents out there!!

When Business is Quiet

Do you have a business that goes through peaks and troughs? I do! One month you are so busy you’re not even sure how you manage to function, working until the early hours of the morning every day and weekend. And then you have a month when… nothing. There is the odd job here and there, but all of a sudden you find yourself with time to spare. This sounds like a luxury right? Time to replenish that lost sleep, sit and relax in front of a boxset. True, this is what should happen. But panic hits!!

I go through this stage every few months, and every time I go into a crazy panic that my business is failing and it’s time to pack it in.

The reality is that shortly it will be chaos again and I’ll be mega busy and I’ll wonder why I didn’t stop and take a break whilst I had the chance.

So, what to do when your business has a quiet moment?

Buff up your marketing – you are your own marketing tool. Update your website, social media accounts, blog.

Get noticed – improve your online presence. Are there any free advertising sites that you can enlist on?

Network – visit local or online groups of like-minded people. Take out your contact book and reach out to potential clients.

Work on new products – Have you had an idea for a new item but just not had the time to work on it? Do it now!

Pricing – look at your pricing structure – is it still relevant. Do you need to increase your prices?

Organise – organise your office. Get all that admin sorted that you have been putting off for months and months.

Relax – embrace this time and look after your mental health. Chances are you’re going to be super busy again soon. Take the time to relax in preparation, and remember DON’T FEEL GUILTY! You’ve earned this. Catch up with friends you may have neglected, enjoy family life, go for a massage. You may feel like you’re being lazy when all those around you are working, but chances are that when you’re busy you work twice as hard as everyone else, you deserve this!

Your Mental Health Matters

I have been working closely with The Healthy Work Company over the last year; producing their business advertising. They specialise in Mental Health for businesses. I have learnt A LOT. Putting this into action though is a whole different story.

So many of us work too hard, stress too hard, play too little and sleep too little. We focus on work, because that’s what we think we need to do to survive (and let’s be honest, we need to pay the bills!). But we can’t survive if we don’t look after and focus on ourselves first. We need to learn to moderate, prioritise and take perspective. We are no use to anyone if we run ourselves down.

This recent design was for a Safety and Health Expo. Imagine your wellbeing and all the pieces that make up your wellbeing… could you keep the tower intact whilst withdrawing key aspects?

Jenga

Today I Have the Power to Change My Story

THWC Motivational postcardI have just designed this little motivational postcard for one of my clients and I can’t stop thinking about it. It is so true. And on reflection seems so obvious and simple.

We have all been there, our lives are so busy, we spend all our time worried about everyone else and tackling their issues on a daily basis, but who is there to look after you? Who is going to help you get to where you want to be? Who is going to pull you out of that hole you sometimes retire to? The answer….YOU!

Be strong, look after yourself, CHANGE YOUR STORY xx