How to stay on top of personal development and training when working for yourself

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Being independent and working from home is difficult to manage. Distractions are everywhere, and a lack of management or pressure from co-workers means that self-discipline and a strict routine are essential in maintaining control over work and personal life.

Here’s a look at my routine, and how to stay focused and stay on top of career development outside of a traditional office environment.

Morning routine

I am at my desk ready to start work at 8:30 am. If you can’t do it yourself, it won’t work. Can you cope if the kids don’t get out of bed or a sock is missing? No? Then advance your wake-up time by 10 minutes.

I try to keep my evenings low-key to be ready to crack as soon as I wake up. If that can’t be helped, I sometimes use an evening or two to get ready before the morning. As long as the kids have their school stuff ready to go, all is well.

Tips for balancing work and private life:

  • Don’t set unrealistic expectations

If someone wants to talk at 3 p.m. when you are on your way to school, ask to move them an hour later and engage the kids with a TV show or snack while you close the door and return to work .

  • Divide your time between roles

Dividing the time between “me at work” and “me at home” helps productivity and focus. When the kids get home they will naturally want to talk or do their homework, so they need me.

To simplify my time, I rarely take a real lunch break, I just have something in the kitchen. This means that from the moment I sit down, I am more productive than in an office environment, where coffee breaks and kitchen discussions are tempting.

One evening, I use meal services like Hello Fresh and Gousto to cook according to the directions – it consumes less mental energy than cooking.

Tips for training and career development:

Working for yourself from home might sound like heaven, but it can leave you out of the loop in terms of training and development. I keep abreast of the latest developments in my industry and push myself by following my own advice.

  • Get online training

I subscribe to various organizations for my personal development, am a member of NUJ and look for classes if possible (that fit in with childcare) but often do online and network trainings through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter .

  • Show your face at important events

I managed to go to Turin in 2017 for a 5 days experience on new developments in journalism, which really inspired me to develop my online business.

I visit London maybe twice a year for networking events as well. Is it more difficult? Not necessarily, I find that I meet more focused people who can help me, but certainly more organization is needed instead of being able to go out for a drink after work.

  • Appreciate the opportunities

I find that people accept very well the fact that I don’t live in the city and that I have children. Remote working becomes a plus because people value your experience, not your time. In addition, I find that I have better headspace to appreciate the opportunities when I see them.

About the Author

Gina Clarke is a freelance PR and journalist. Gina shared her tips and advice as part of Bathstore’s “Morning routines count” campaign.


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