You probably never thought you would hear joy and work in the same sentence……I know. Well for years I thought those two things were mutually exclusive. But no, not anymore! I have joy (most days) working from home. I have experienced the exact opposite working in the public sector for years and years and now I am so happy working from home. I am going to share with you my joys with the hope that you too might be inspired to work from home. Mind you, working from home is not for everyone. Everyone’s situation is different and so each has to be considered properly.
For all of my working life, I have worked as a teacher and Educational Administrator in two countries. I must say that at the start, I really loved the challenge of working in education. Students were mostly well behaved, challenges were easily dealt with, management was supportive and there was a good work-life balance. Remuneration was good and you could afford some perks like paying for holidays and treating the kids to some of their hearts’ desires.
As the years rolled on, things got worse and worse in all respects. Too many students’ behaviour is a detriment to their education as well as the education of others, there are too many who are disruptive so that when they all meet it is as if a riot is happening. I find that senior management is not very supportive and add to the stress associated with teaching. In addition, I really hated the idea of having to work so many hours and then still having to take work home to get it done. Someone said you cant take your housework to work to get it done so the reverse should be true and I agree.
Making a smart move
So after nearly three decades of working for others, I decided to work for myself at home. Now I don’t advocate just giving up your job without putting plans in place. You must be smart about this and make the transition as smooth as possible. You definitely should not just quit without any idea of what you will do for the rest of your working life. Bills still need to be paid and all that jazz.
Read this post where I have spelt out how you should go about this. The system works. I have tried it so I know. This post about these lovely women who work from home is so inspiring! Every time I read it, it spurs me on to keep working even harder.
So what do I do now? I work from home as a virtual assistant, blogger and author. It suits me far better than my previous work life. Whilst it does have a few drawbacks, there are mostly advantages that I love. The biggest drawback stems from the fact that I miss the social interaction with my workmates. That is fixed however by catching up via phone calls, text messages, and social media as well as the occasional face to face.
Here’s an idea of my routine that works for me:
I still get up very early to start my day (my internal clock is set!) I have a personal devotion, relax in my room or catch up with paperwork. After my shower, I get the kids up and do what I need to, to get them ready for the school day. By 8:30 the kids are out and the house is all mine (I do a little happy dance in my mind). I have breakfast which can be whatever I choose and not just something that I grab and go to the car with! (like in my other life).
Joy 1 – A Little manageable housework each day
With being at home a lot I do appreciate the fact that I get to do a little housework each day rather than having to leave it all for the weekend! When housework is left to accumulate, it gets too much and is a real drag to do! That then leads to it being unmanageable and then procrastination sets in. Before you know it, the house is not looking as it should and I believe that your home should look good and be clean and should be a happy place to be.
I try to spend at least an hour in the morning each day on housework. I have a very useful schedule which I try to keep to. This allows me to have every area done over the week and then repeated the following week. Cleaning for many people is not a lot of fun, however, I put some lively music on that I enjoy listening to and because it is only one hour long, it is not so much of a drag. I use cleaning fluids including bleach. I just love the smell of bleach and I relish the fact that it is effective in protecting my family against bacteria.
Of course, I do want to keep my hands safe so I use strong protective gloves whilst I clean. I know there are some people who do not like the smell of bleach so I will make a lovely suggestion that was shared with me some years ago. If you put a little fabric softener in a saucepan with water, then bring to the boil, it gets rid of the bleach odour and leaves your home smelling fresh. Try it! Spring cleaning then doesn’t have to be so difficult!
Dusting is a part of my every day cleaning routine. With these amazing dust cloths, the job is surprisingly easy and I find that it actually cleans the dust rather than smearing it around. Good stuff. Perhaps the biggest home cleaning investment I have made is this cordless vacuum called GTechAirRam. It is super, honestly. With no cords to hold me back, I take it up and down the stairs in a breeze.
Joy 2 – Dinner Ready whilst I work
When my one hour of cleaning time is up each day, my next focus is dinner. When I was growing up, when I got home from school, the usual thing to say was ‘Good evening Mommy’.
Well, my kids say ‘What’s for dinner?’ (In their mind that’s ok). My response to them is usually:
‘Good evening to you too, so and so is for dinner’. They are usually pleased with what is on offer.
I’ve discovered that with a little meal planning, I can have dinner ready or at least 90% ready by the time the children come home from school. I’m not one for meal planning in the strictest sense, but I do like the fact that I can use some cool gadgets to help me in the kitchen to help me to prepare meals whilst I work. I invested in a slow cooker which is truly amazing. I cook joints of meat, soup and even poultry in the slow cooker. It’s amazing because I don’t need to be in the kitchen whilst it is working. Too much time has been spent in the kitchen stirring food in saucepans in my estimation. That life is not for me anymore. My sister recommended this rice cooker to me as well and it is an absolute genius. I put the rice in and the water, set the timer and I can even set it to turn itself off or to keep the rice warm. It’s amazing. I am really glad that my kids love rice so much! With the rice cooker, it is even possible to cook spicy rice, flavoured rice or rice with vegetables. The possibilities are endless!
As a child, I do remember my mother using a pressure cooker every Sunday. Sunday was the day for a proper sit-down meal with all the trimmings, and being from Jamaica, rice and peas was a must. In those days, most families used dried kidney beans because unlike their canned counterpart, they added more depth of colour to the rice as well as more intense flavour. The one drawback, however, is that dried kidney beans are quite tough to cook, so most families owned a pressure cooker. A pressure cooker these days is seen more as a luxury item rather than as a necessity. For my work from home job to be effective, I need a pressure cooker. I use it quite often. It is timed and then I only need to get up once to switch the hob off. It’s as easy as that!
A spiralizer is an awesome little gadget that can make mealtimes more interesting especially for little ones. Usually just before the kids get home is when I use my spiralizer to create awesome works of ‘food art’. Vegetables like carrots, pumpkins, cucumber, squash and courgettes are so appetizing to look at when done with a spiralizer and are also so much healthier than noodles. My kids just love it!
I leave those on to cook whilst I get to work in a relaxed atmosphere suitable for optimal output, that is my bedroom office!
Joy 3 – Getting Work Done
With working from home I get to set my own schedules and timescales, do as much or as little as I want to do and set my own rate of pay! What could be better? In addition, the clients I work for now are nicer even though the vast majority of them I have not ever met in person! How weird is that?
Some days I have a whole lot of work to do and some days I have very little. As a result, I can adjust my schedule to do what I want. Some days I spend time doing a lot of online surveys or just trawling the internet. I get to find good deals (this is one way I get my Christmas shopping done early in the year) and on days when I have very little work, as soon as it is finished I participate in online surveys through QMEE. There are lots of survey sites but this one is my absolute favourite.
Perhaps my biggest work from home incentive is the fact that I determine my rate of pay and can justify (to myself and my client) why I deserve what I ask for. So it is really exhilarating to say I need to be paid £500 to do such a job. I know! I’m worth it. At the same time, I do remember where I started from and I know some people cannot afford a high budget to get work done for their blog or online business, so I like to think that I am considerate and I may offer a reduction in rates.
I work hard and as a result, I do play hard too. I am able to afford holidays for my family and give them the gifts they desire. I don’t squander my hard earnings and I do help out those who are less fortunate. I have put plans in place for mine and my children’s future…..plans that could only be a passing thought when I worked for the state.
Working from home for me is a real joy!
Are you currently working from home? Or are you thinking about launching out soon? Shoot me any questions you have and I’ll try my best to answer. Remember to put the necessary plans in place first.