Working when on the move

How I get work done whilst completing chores…

As I work from home, I tend to be the person that also does the errands – take the car for its service, take back library books and take the dog to the vet. It does help that I do these things during my working hours – it is always easier to get chores done without a reluctant 8 year old following me. But I, of course still need to get my work done too! I live in the middle of nowhere so just popping to the shops for milk is a round trip of 40 minutes – and I do not usually have a lunch break! So here is what I do:

  1. Preferably the day before, I would have written a list of the chores that need doing. I’m not perfect and this doesn’t always happen!

2. Being freelance means that I do choose my hours and I am an advocate of leaving the house once a week to work somewhere else so it makes sense to make chore day, the time that I also work off site!

3. I try and place the chores in groups – by location. This means that I can work out the best way to get everything done. I check library times, Vet opening times and also if there are nearby cafes that I can work in. It may seem a bit over the top, but by planning in advance, it really does save me time!

Notebook and tea

4. Check that my laptop and phone has enough battery. I carry a mobile charger (check that is fully charged too) that I can use as well.

5. If I can, I like to do an hour of work before I leave the house – running through emails and downloading files that I may need. I save everything else on a memory stick that I travel with.

6. I then head out! Making sure that I have my notebook with me too. I’ll use my phone to answer any urgent emails that come through between chores but I will wait until I find somewhere with free wifi before I use my laptop.

Dropbox logo
I rely on Dropbox when I am on the move.

7. The hours can go by quite quickly but if I can get 60-90minutes on the laptop whilst also completing my chores then I am a happy person!

If Wifi isn’t an option, I’ll either work offline or connect my laptop to my phone – this has saved me many times! I’m also a fan of Dropbox for retrieving files (really handy when I’m just using my phone) and iBooks for reading pdfs.

Essential equipment:

  1. Laptop and phone
  2. Battery charger
  3. Noise cancelling headphones
  4. Dropbox app

5 things that have helped me through work stress

Or how I manage a very busy work time

So the plan with this post is to really get myself back on track with blogging and such like. Since I returned from holiday I have been really busy with work, which has been brilliant and I’ve been working on exciting projects but this blog has slightly fallen by the way side. Not on purpose at all but I wasn’t very organised and didn’t have any saved posts that I could share whilst I was in my ‘busy’ time.

Here are the things that have helped me through the stressful times:

  1. A shot of wheatgrass every morning – look out for a blog post about the wonders of this. I’ve written it (that is half the battle) and I just need to take a few photos now.
  2. A daily dose of Yoga. I think I’ve mentioned that I follow Yoga with Adriene on Youtube? What I didn’t realise is that she curates a schedule of videos for the month. I’m currently following June’s schedule – and really noticing the benefits.
  3. Meal-planning. I haven’t the time or energy to think about meals everyday, so planning the meal schedule at the weekend has really helped.
  4. Muting my Whats App and Messenger apps. I’m part of many groups on both platforms and the messages can get slightly insane. Switching off from these during the day stopped me from getting distracted.
  5. Reading at the end of the day. Even if it was a magazine or a newspaper supplement and not a book, just by reading it really helped me switch off from the day. I have just finished Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney and I’d love to know your thoughts.

What are your go to for stress relief?

ps I’m also planning a spa day at some point and even the mere thought of that kept me going through relentless deadlines and demanding clients!

How I work: Laura Spurr

Online health and wellness coach

It is always good to *meet* another Laura! I came across Laura Spurr via @SocialMums on Instagram and loved her account instantly. I find it really motivational – she makes fitness seem joyful and not scary. She isn’t afraid to share her tips, advice and also what is going on in her life. I admire her courage and wish I had a bit more of it. Please do have a read about how she works.

  1. Name of Business? LSFitness

2. What do you do?

I am a self employed online health and wellness coach.

Laura’s business is called LS Fitness

3. Where do you work? 

On my phone so literally anywhere, the gym (I teach there), a coffee shop, the car, out walking. Or my laptop at a desk in my lounge.

4. How did you get to this point in your career?

A few years ago I left a city career after retraining as a Personal Trainer for many reasons but mainly because after a personal journey I realised how passionate I was about the need to take care of yourself.   I wanted to help other ladies discover how amazing it is possible to feel every day when your daily routine is working for you. You have all the energy in the world to not only get through the day, but fly through the day with a bounce in your step.

However, despite having set up a very successful PT business, I felt like a part of what I wanted people to feel was missing.   Clients would come and smash their PT session but then it would be in most cases another week until I saw them again.  They may or may not train in-between, many of them didn’t pay me for nutritional advice, because let’s be honest it’s not cheap to pay for both PT and nutrition, and if they had to cancel sessions because well life happens, they would miss out on their training.

5. The best part of my job is?

Laura is an advance meal planner and loves her jobs ability to change lives

I knew to feel as amazing as I wanted them to that my clients needed the whole package, quick and effective workouts they could do at a time to suit them, health focused family friendly nutrition, but more than that I wanted to offer them support and accountability to help them achieve their goals.  Oh, and for a reasonable price point!   So I took the plunge to sign up with an MLM (Beachbody) and go into the online fitness market and have never looked back

What I do has the potential to change people lives.  I see people bloom in front of my eyes, finding confidence, self belief, learning to love themselves a little more each day and I get to witness this every single day.

6. The worst part of my job is?

 Ummmm having no excuse to not get my workout in 😉

Laura’s Instagram account is always colourful and inspiring
@laura_spurr_pt

7. Favourite time-saving trick?

Setting myself up the night before with a list of “must do’s” to get started the next morning. That way I have a focus! Oh and having my food organised (I love a leftover!) so I don’t waste time trying to cook lunch in the middle of the 9-3.

8. Best advice for anyone working 9 to 3?

Learn to ignore the chaos and focus on your business.  The chaos will still be there after your working hours but if you get distracted during your core hours it takes key time away from your business. Oh and stock up on tea bags if you intend to work at home a lot

9. Favourite social media accounts/blogs?

@SocialMums is an account Laura follows

Social mums, Thrive in Business, mini_motto_clothing, deliciously ella, okay_doodle and jessicamaryrobson 

You can reach Laura via her website. Please click here.

Are you thinking of becoming a personal trainer? There are plenty of courses available that you can take. Did you know that the YMCA run training courses? I didn’t! Take a look here.

Other blog posts you may enjoy:

How I Work: Lizzie Woodman

How I Work: That Mum Moment

How I plan my long term goals

Out of Office – taking the financial hit

How I save before holidays…

Going on holiday is great. There is nothing better than going away and having a break from your usual life. The only snag that I have (except missing my dog) is a loss of income. During the school holidays, I take a small dip in income as I do not take on as many projects but I still work and juggle childcare.

If I’m away, I really do not want to take my work with me – I can’t do anything half-a*sed and I want to be away away and not glued to my phone constantly checking emails. It isn’t a holiday. (I’ve written about half-term adventures on this blog post.)

This sadly means that I do have the potential to lose money – I won’t charge clients for work that I’m not doing and I can’t exactly give myself holiday pay. It is the only downside I feel for being self-employed.

I plan, plan and plan for holidays so that there isn’t a major dip in income

How I get around this potential income loss is the following:

  1. Plan my workload – we book our holidays fairly in advance and I know when we will be away, this means I can see the potential income dips.
  2. I tend to take on an extra quick project a month before we leave – this is sometimes a bit bonkers as I’m not only working longer hours but I’m also having to plan our packing. It however soothes me to know that whilst I’m away, income will still be reaching my bank account.
  3. On return, I’ll look at my schedule and see if I can hustle for an extra project as well. This can be tricky because in my line of work, the busiest time tends to be in March and October. Finding extra work in August is often pointless but I’ll try!
  4. Budget – I’ll see where I can save money in the month before my holiday, perhaps not visiting a coffee shop for my Wednesday treat or meeting a friend at their house instead. I’ll also limit my travel as train tickets to London can be expensive.
  5. Blitz the house and attend a car boot sale. I am yet to do this but I have friends that have a clear out and regularly bring back £200.
  6. Lastly I save up every £2 coin that I’m given for a year – this can often add an extra £100-200 to my budget and I really recommend it.
Holiday to mean means switching off the laptop.

Do you factor in holidays with your financial planning or are you happy to work when you can?

Recommended reads:

My desktop (non)essential

Why flowers help boost my productivity

I’m lucky that in my job all I really need is a laptop, decent wifi and a phone. Access to a printer is always beneficial but I do not really require any specialised equipment.

My office is our kitchen – I work from the kitchen table most days. It’s also the table that my daughter completes her homework, we eat all our meals on and where my husband reads the newspaper from. It is the hub of our home. This means that my working space has to be transient – it is my ‘workspace’ only during the 9 to 3 hours. Everything that I use must be removed from the table before and after those hours for our normal family life to exist.

My usual set up – flowers and mug my (non) essentials

My set up isn’t pretty – it is functional (please see my blog post – my new tech set up for further details) but I work in a creative area and actually need a bit of ‘pretty’ at my workplace to help inspire me.

Ten years ago I would have laughed at what I’m writing now – when I worked in a pretty ordinary office but now I find that if I have a small bunch of flowers above my eye-line when I work, really lifts my mood. Flowers seem like such a luxury to me and when finances are a little tight, it seems an extravagance too far but a 99p bunch of daffodils is just the ticket. I’m so happy when Spring rolls into town – daffs, tulips, blossom etc… I’m not fussy!

Blooms never fail to inspire.

I am waiting with bated breath on the influx of peonies and hydrangeas. They are very expensive but I grow peonies in my garden and I’m desperate to succeed with hydrangeas. Is there anything better then cut flowers from your garden?

What’s your (non) essential item that helps life you when working? I’m also rather fond of a cup of tea from my Emma Bridgewater mug.

Other recommended reads that may be of interest to you: