You and Me & Chasing Little G

Self Employment

Lessons Learned from 2 Months Working-at-Home

Self EmploymentSabra GilbertComment

Working at home is a completely different experiance that working in an organized environment with a boss above you. I have to figure out my own schedule, what makes me the more productive, and what I need to get done on certain days. There's also the whole no one to talk to except through email during the day. So I thought I would share some of the random things that I've learned about myself in the last few months.

Lessons Learned 2 Months from Home.jpg

1|| Some days you just do the minimal work.

Some days you are super, incredibly productive, and some days you aren't. If need be, you can push yourself through it and make it happen. But with my job being a creative one, sometimes that isn't the best thing to do for my clients. If I don't feel creative, I'm not going to make anything gorgeous for my clients at all. Those days, I have to just do something to get the juices flowing. Some days that means coloring or pulling out my sketch book, or even just reading my current book. Anything that can make me feel inspired in one way or another. Other days, it means I just need to spend an hour or so playing League of Legends, killing minions and taking my frustrations out on random other players and slay them to win the game! Then go get some other work done.

2|| Some Days You Work Past Your Office Hours

Actually, a lot of days you work past your office hours. If I'm feeling extremely productive for the day, I will just keep going and going and going until Simeon asks me to put my laptop away to hang out with him for the night. A lot of times I have to schedule things for the evenings to get myself out of the house and away from my laptop when the day is done. I can be a work-a-holic way more than I have a lazy day. (which is what makes me not feel guilty for the lazy days at all!)

3|| Changing Your Environment Helps Your Productivity

While I've set up my desk and main workspace in our bedroom, sometimes I have to move somewhere else if I find myself unable to concentrate randomly at my desk. Today (which is actually Monday) I'm working from a Panera Bread and have gotten way more done that I thought I would. espetially since it is my day off. Other places that I frequent in my apartment is the living room floor, or my favorite fluffy chair! Another place I should probably try is the dining room table since it has the printer and I know that I have a ton of things to print, but never get it done because I use the same chair for my desk and the dining room table and when I move a big reason is usually because the chair is uncomfortable after a while. (One thing that's exciting about moving is knowing that I'm making an office! with a super comfy chair just waiting for me to find it.)

4|| Prioritize the Work You Need Done Personally Too

I had really expected that working for myself would start slow. I'd work on the design that I gave away and then I would have to blog, advertise, email, blog, and constantly be working to get some new clients. Instead, I've barely had time to do any of those things because I've had consistent clients since I started with the giveaway design in January! All the paperwork and background projects to do to boost MPD has been consistently put off to make more and more time for the clients. Just when I finish one design, I've already or right away have another design lined up. I've been seriously blessed so far to have wonderful people vouching for me and sending their friends my way! And I love every second of it! But I also know that I need to be doing the things that I want to and need to do as well! So starting today, I am going to be doing more and more of my own work first and then client work. Blog posts. Social media scheduling. And working on the projects that I'm extremely excited about (Brand matching custom blog planner designs, Blogger pre-made templates, offering to design a Squarespace wedding website). And getting my business things updated and organized (budgets, new business cards, and figuring out a way to balance my days and how i want to manage my projects).  

5|| You Have to be Willing to Re-explain

What You Do to Everyone

Since I'm not doing a traditional job, many people don't actually seem to know what I do. Sometimes, I not only have to explain that I design blogs, but what blogging even is. And I have to be willing to deal with the weird looks when you inform people that you are doing something completely unrelated to what your degree is in.  Also, there are some people who tend to think that working at home means that I have all the free time and can do whatever I want whenever I want. Sure I have some flexibility in my schedule, but any time given to free time during my office hours has to be made up outside of office hours.

Working at home these last few months has been an amazing adventure. I've truly been blessed to have been busy working for so many wonderful people these last few months. And to have the opportunity to work for myself and at home without having to worry about the numbers constantly because of my wonderful husband encouraging me to follow my dreams. I'll be updating you all every few months about what I've been learning and how I'm doing while working from home. (And all the fun goodies I should be coming out with in a few months!) 

My Work at Home Schedule

Self EmploymentSabra GilbertComment

One thing that I've been working on these last few weeks of working from home full time is getting into a schedule that is right for me. That keeps me pumped & inspired while also being able to get down and concentrate on my work. I honestly thought that finding a schedule was going to be extremely easy for me. And that I would find a way to leave my work behind when the proper time came.

But when you are working for yourself, there really is no 5 PM work halt. Sometimes you convince yourself to go just fifteen more minutes, and then an hour later . . .

And while I don't mind doing that in some instances, sometimes it means that I get no time to myself, or with my husband. But I've started to set a schedule out for my days that I quite enjoy that is a compromise for Simeon and I. Though sometiems I start my work a little bit earlier (like today) if I don't get everything done the day before.

Which is why in my scheduled office hours, I don't actually have 40 hours in which I say that i am available to responding to emails quickly. I know that sometimes I'm just going to need to grind to get work done, and I would need time that I wasn't responcible to my email to get some more maintenance and inspired work done. And trust me when I say that I work much, MUCH more than those hours suggest, though there are certain days, such as Friday & Saturday that I do cute off at my scheduled times to be with friends who only have those days off. (My weekend is Sunday & Monday because those are the days that Simeon gets off from work every week!)

Anyway, onto my schedule! I'll be sharing my Tuesday Schedule since it is the beginning of my work week!

Work-At-Home Schedule || Becoming Sabra Gilbert

8:30 - Alarm

I am not a morning person. Hardcore not a morning person. Getting up at 7, or 6!!!, is just not my thing. I can't do it. I'm cranky. I can't concentrate. And no one wants to deal with me. So while it seems like a late start, it really is what is best for me (and for those who have to deal with me throughout the day!)

9-10 - Relaxed Reading 

honestly, I don't get ready first thing in the morning. And I can't eat right away either (it irritates my stomach). So after the grogyness of waking up passes, I put in some reading time (sometimes a little phone gaming time as well) with my books or some blog posts. I start the morning with something that I love and it makes starting the day SOOOO much easier!

10-11 - Random

This is the time that I either talk with Simeon, get ready for the day (maybe), or even just start getting some work done. But it's all still probably from my insanely ugly, but insanely comfy reading chair in our living room. And I make my breakfast during this time (I'm obsessed with Chocolate Bannana Oatmeal smoothies!)

11 - 2 - Midnight Photography & Design

This is when I finally hit my desk and start client work. I respond to my MPD email and try to keep BSG blog stuff closed. I'm trying to break the habit of constantly multi-tasking since I know that I barely get done what I want when I do.

2-5 - Becoming Sabra Gilbert

This is when I try to get some blog posts written for the week and schedule social media. If I've been in my chair for too long, sometimes I'll switch to the living room floor or my bed.

5-6 - Update Client Homepages & Finish up some emails

At the end of the day, i go back to MPD work to answer some responding emails about what I finished this morning and to make sure to update their homepage with where we are in our design process.

After Work:

I usually take around a half hour after six to wind down from being on my laptop for so long with coloring a page in my new coloring book that I received for Christmas. After that I'll either leave my laptop closed, or jump back on to do a few lessons of The Blog Detox by Helene in Between or handle some maintenance for MPD or BSG (like my current branding shift). If I'm still in a super creative mood, I'll also put some time into working on a few little projects for MPD that I have up my sleeve! 

And I have time to clean the house a little and make dinner. If I remember to make dinner. I often forget. :) 

Obviously, this is still a rough sketch of my day. And I do get lunch in there, just usually something quick that I can eat at my desk.

I love seeing people's days! So what do your days look like? If you have a post of one of your days, please share below! I'd love to read it!