If you don’t value your time, no-one else will

I’m very lucky to be able to work from home. Although when I look around at the mountains of laundry, dirty floors and dog nagging to be walked, sometimes I wish I worked in an office. On the whole, working from home is great, no distractions from other colleagues or being pulled into management meetings to deal with situations. One of the issues I’ve had with working from home is that all my friends and family know that I’m home all day and if they happen to be home too, they often want to visit. This is great, it breaks up the working day nicely and gives me some much needed human contact and adult conversation before I down tools to pick up the kids from school. What’s not so great is it means that I don’t get all of my work done and end up working well into the night/weekend.

My partner and I don’t argue over household chores ever, what I do moan to him about the most is how I handle my time during working hours and how frustrated I feel at the end of the working week when I haven’t achieved all that I want to. He pointed out that while I’m brilliant at running a diary, I’m not so good at managing my time when it’s less structured. After a lot of moaning (me) and problem solving (him) we figured out that while I’m capable of managing my time, I’m not so good at saying no to people if they want to pop in for a cup of tea.

The moral of this story – if you don’t value your time, how do you expect anyone else to? Working from home is hard enough with all the distractions; set aside a set time a week that you use to see people and if they can’t fall in with your schedule then see them outside of your working hours. I’ve made a point of doing this during the last working week and my productivity has definitely gone up and it means that time I do spend with friends is better quality because I’m not feeling guilty or distracted that I should be working.

When you have boys, everything wobbles

Luckily I gave up on the thought of ever returning to my fit, toned, oh ok, may have had one too many sauvignons at the pub, pre-baby body once the boys came along. So I’m definitely not referring to me wobbling. The other day I was cleaning, lent on the Kallax unit (yes I have a lot of these in my house) and nearly fell over. This definitely isn’t from how I put it together as it’s been stable for the last couple of years. Later that day I went to climb into my son’s bunk bed with him and that also wobbled. There is definitely a theme here. The little one has a (weird) habit of walking on the dining table so that whenever anyone has a meal at it, it’s like trying to eat on a moving train. Having done a quick straw poll with the few of my friends who have girls, this seems to be a theme pertaining to houses with boys in them. Last night I was trying to have a conversation with my 8 year old and he literally could not keep still. He was swinging off furniture in a manner that would have made Tarzan proud and when asked why his answer was it helps him to concentrate. So far, only the walls in our house are safe and still standing. Luckily for us, they didn’t come from Ikea.

Just because you had a bad day, it doesn’t mean you have a bad life

We all have some days that are worse than others and for me, those tend to be few and far between. However throw in the dynamics and needs of our blended family, working for myself and the fact that my dog is in police custody, a flat tyre on the car was all it took to push me over the edge on Wednesday. I have great friends who also work from home so I could moan at them intermittently throughout the day whilst I attempted to pull myself together. Nothing was working, even work wasn’t distracting me, it was just a fog that I needed to wait to pass.

In the middle of the afternoon my sister called to cheer me up, then the police emailed to say they were releasing the dog. The sun came out and I took the kids to the playground with a friend and my bestie messaged to say she was unexpectedly free that night, let’s go for drinks. Just like that, the fog had lifted, life seemed good again and I reminded myself that a bad day does not equal a bad life.

Perfectionism can be destructive

One of my favourite quotes is by Sheryl Sandberg, ‘Done is better than perfect’. This resonates on so many levels as many of us are perfectionists. Most of us were brought up with the mantra ‘if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well’. These are both great quotes, but when running your own business it’s easy to want to be all things to all people and show that we’re strong competitors in our industries. With only so many hours in the day which school of thought should we run with? Do we strive for perfectionism, often forsaking other tasks during our day or do we complete the task well and think ‘it’s not perfect, but it’s done’?

Only you can know which thought process will come out on top when doing your work but bear in mind the problem with perfectionism is that, with marketing and social media constantly updating,  trying to keep your work up to date and ‘perfect’ is nearly impossible. There are always better, more up to date ways to do things and you can drive yourself crazy revisiting old content, rather than moving forward with new, more relevant content.

You’ll see my Five things blog started out in a different style and, after a few weeks I read an article about blogging and structuring it in a more reader-friendly way. The article raised some good points so I adapted my blog to suit this. I didn’t go back and reformat the old blogs to make things ‘perfect’. People had already engaged with the blogs so there wasn’t an immediate call to change them. Instead I focused on going forward with the new blogs.

Here’s a video of out takes from when I was filming Social Media videos with Fay from Bright Sky HR showing our own struggle when striving for perfection

Living with cats is more fun than I remembered

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with cats. I had two of my own for almost 10 years but after a year of my cats making it very clear that they did not like living with the children, it was time to move them on. Happily they went to live with one of my best friends, who has since had children of her own but the cats don’t seem to mind as much. Perhaps they’re mellowing with age.

When my partner and I first spoke about moving in together I was very clear….. you can come but not the cat. To be honest I’m not entirely sure what happened but due to it snowing so not easy to travel between houses, my partner’s daughter being very persuasive, and the dog being in police custody, it seemed a good time to shake things up. Consequently, the cat now lives with me but my partner doesn’t.

Perhaps it’s not having the dog around. Perhaps I’ve mellowed in the nearly 5 years since last having cats in the house but this last week I’ve loved having the cat here. I find myself abandoning work so I can wander upstairs and have a chat to the cat and love it when she follows me around. Not sure how the dog will find it when he returns tomorrow or how the cat will react, being introduced to the dog for the first time but the thought of having both, the dog and the cat in the house fills me with joy.