As a novelist and a mother, I realise how incredibly lucky I am to have a job that allows me to work from home. The flexibility means I get to attend my sons’ event at nursery but also have the freedom to write. As a result, my home is often my office and over the last few years, I’ve developed a few hacks and techniques to make the most of each day.
1. Identify and Guard Your Most Productive Time
There are three mornings a week where both of my sons are in nursery for the morning and the house is quiet. This is my dedicated writing time and I resist the temptation to fill it with any other tasks, appointments, or meetings. There’s normally a whole load of other stuff that needs to be done as well but I try and prioritise, otherwise I find the day gets away from me. I turn off social media as well as other alerts such as email in order to hit my word count for the day.
2. Create Your Own Space
It’s amazing how much stuff kids accumulate but there’s one area I try and keep clear and that’s my desk. Instead, I fill it with things that are going to entice me to sit at it– pretty notebooks, fresh flowers, a cup of tea – and then get down to business. I will sometimes put my headphones on (Bose noise cancelling ones are amazing!) to avoid being distracted by anything.
3. Maintain A Schedule
I’ve found that having a routine as a family really helps and both my children have had a routine from an early age. While it doesn’t always go to plan, it does make the day a bit more predictable so I can plan out my work schedule to know when I can make calls for example (nap times!).
4. Get Out & About
Spending so much time at home can induce cabin fever, so there are days when I’ll take my laptop and go to the nearest coffee shop or mall to work. Just having a change of scene can work wonders in getting the creative juices going! Working collaboratively with people in the same situation is also really nice and it helps to have someone to bounce ideas off.
A writer’s life is incredibly sedentary – while I haven’t yet invested in a desk with a treadmill, I do try and get in 30 minutes of exercise a day. While this isn’t always feasible, I have been known to put a work out on the TV and the boys have a giggle at me jumping around the living room. Sometimes, they like to join in as well and at the end of the session we all collapse in a heap for cuddles – just one of the benefits of working from home!
Written by British mum Karen Osman
Karen Osman is an award-winning author. Her debut novel The Good Mother was published in October 2017.
You can read Karen’s bio here
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