Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “working at home”

Kristen’s Work At Home Survival Guide

Today’s Brew:  Iced Blueberry, because the humidity is at least one hundred and fifteen percent.

by Kristen

workathome

Working at Home. It’s the new American Dream. Rolling out of bed, drinking  all the coffee, answering calls and sending emails in your pajamas. Making your own hours, and not answering to anyone. Everyone I talk to thinks their lives would improve infinitely if they were able to do this. I’ve been doing it for eight and half years now, running my own makeup business, and now I’m starting all over again with writing.  If you’re published or looking to be published, congratulations, you are a small business owner, even more so if you’re indie publishing.

Sure, I’m my own boss. But working for myself I’ve never less been my own boss. A lot of people want to strike out on their own as a way to stick it to The Man, but the reality of life is The Man has money. Even if  extreme wealth isn’t your end goal, I can guarantee survival is. You need to build a clientele, or a readership, and your schedule is very likely going to reflect the needs of whoever you are working to attract.  At first, because things like food and a place to live are sexy, you’re going to be working around the job that provides those things for you.

Here are my tips for keeping yourself sane and productive on your own schedule:

  • Take care of yourself. The difference between “OMG I don’t have to wear PANTS!” and “OMG my armpits smell like that?” is approximately twenty four hours, not that I’d know for sure, of course. If you’re not seeing clients on a regular basis, it is easy to slip into extreme personal laziness. Why does this even matter? Because when you feel gross, you’re not going to do your best work.  Some people suggest getting dressed in regular clothes every day that you’re working from home, but I won’t go that far. Just take a frigging shower. And stay out of the kitchen. Eventually, you’re going to have to wear pants again, and it would be nice if they still fit.
  • Set a schedule. This might be easier said than done. As a freelancer, I have to be available all the time. Jobs come in last minute. I’ll get text messages or phone calls about work, and if I’m not the first one to answer, I might not get the job. But there are things I can control. If it’s not urgent, it can wait. Between the two jobs, I will start days I’m not on location by doing makeup work first, answering emails, sending invoices, and taking care of my kit. I like to take a break between switching gears to writing. Sometimes that means doing things around the house, getting out of the house, or my absolute favorite, taking a nap. My boss lets me sleep on the job. Once I go into writing mode, I’m not doing makeup stuff, and vice versa.
  • Hold yourself accountable. If you work for yourself, no one cares if you don’t get things done. I hate doing bookkeeping, and I will push it off until it’s this big nasty chore. If I keep it manageable, it doesn’t suck so much. I could write every day, or I could wait for my muse to show up. The time is going to pass whether I’m productive or not. But–
  • Take time for yourself. When you’re chasing your dream job, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in it that you don’t do anything else. First of all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Secondly, you will burn out. This one goes hand in hand with making a schedule. You should be either on or off. But—
  • Learn to say no. You know those “what everyone thinks I do” memes, well when you work at home, everyone thinks you do nothing all day. It doesn’t matter if you’re pulling in six figures. You’re home, which means you are available. To them. Not so fast. Sure, the occasional lunch is fun (take time for yourself), but when it includes two martinis, and a trip to the mall, you’re not taking yourself seriously, and no one else will, either. As a second piece to this, you don’ t have to say yes to every work opportunity that comes your way, either. Not everything is going to move your business forward. But–
  • Take chances. You’re doing this because you want better for yourself than other people you can give you, right? Well, then you need to seek new opportunities and find new ways to solve old problems. Do what’s right for you, and don’t worry what other people, as long as your work is getting done.
  • Stay organized. A dedicated office might be a pipe dream. I have an office, but it’s also my guest room, and my storage room. Julie’s office is a table in the living room.  Make sure your work space works for you. Receipts are the bane of my existence, and I don’t always have the chance to record them, or file invoices until I have a bookkeeping day. You know how I feel about those. File folders and manila are my friend. I can keep everything in one place until I can get to it, and I can also find it when I need it. Just like the shower thing, you’re not going to do your best work in clutter.
  • Enjoy what you do.  Dude, you could get hit by a bus tomorrow. If you don’t like what you’re doing, find what makes you happy. And do that instead.

 

 

 

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Taking Your Time Takes Time

TODAY’S BREW: S’more to Love. Seethe with your jealousy. Embrace it.

By Julie

Giving myself time is something I am just plain not accustomed to doing. I do everything on a minute to minute schedule because I work at home and because I’m a stay at home mom. These things make me feel like even though I’m doing the most difficult things I have ever done every day, that I’m still not doing anything because I’m in my pajamas. This is ridiculous.

I read a study once that said when you wear comfortable clothes you take something insane like 350 more steps in a day. And yet, if you work a sit-down job, you gain an average of 10 pounds per year even if your diet and excercise routine are strong. So, if you’re running around with kids but sit on your butt a lot in front of a computer and go to the gym on the regs, YOUR HEAD WILL EXPLODE FROM TRYING TO FIGURE THAT EQUATION OUT.

Also, when I don’t go to 100 places per day, or bring in an hourly wage, I feel like I don’t get to ever take a break. This is dumb. Working in jobs where time is money, you don’t ever fully recover from that. And when you entirely adore everything you’re doing, it doesn’t feel like work, no matter how important it may be. Making lunch for your kids is important. Making up wild stories to share with the world is important. Playing Chutes and Ladders is important. Helping people hone their art through editing is important. Working out is important. Reading like a writer and an editor is important. And taking a break is important.

I’ve been busting my ass on the sequel to RUNNING HOME. Today, I put the finishing touches on it, and then IT IS FINISHED. I took some time away from my writing schedule to do developmental editing for some incredible authors, and working this into my schedule means that not only do I have less time to write, but it means I’m working harder. So that means I need to rest sometimes.

REST? WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN, REST? I’VE BEEN IN MY PAJAMAS FOR 16 DAYS!

Yes, rest. Because doing a lot of things you love is hard because you put all of your energy into them every minute of the day. And it isn’t until I say, “Jeeez, my legs feel like if I stood up right now, I may fall down,” that I realize it is okay to take a day off to screw around playing video games and watching TV. EVEN IF EVERYTHING ISN’T DONE.

I write first drafts in 3 months. That’s what I do. Until I don’t. RUNNING AWAY is going on 6 months! P.S.   I AM WRITING THE FINAL CHAPTER TODAY. I let it sit for one day so every word will be absolutely perfect. Also, not as planned, this book is the longest thing ever written since THE BIBLE. 

But everything unfolds with purpose, in the proper amount of time without being overindulgent and without being rushed. Every word is carefully plotted. And if it took one hundred thousand words before editing, then that’s how long it took. And if it takes the same amount after editing, that’s how many it takes.

I guess taking time applies to more than just the clock.

Time is something we need to use to our advantage, not just something we need to use. Take a break before you break.

 

 

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