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Thursday, 22 May 2014

Home alone

Today has been my first full day spent at home on my own since leaving my job just under 2 weeks ago.  Up until today I have been spending my time:

  • partying and celebrating leaving my job  
  • recovering from tonsillitis
  • sorting out the flat 
  • reading novels
  • networking with a few contacts

This is the first day where I've had absolutely nothing scheduled; no meetings, appointments, people to see or a plan for what to do.  I was quite looking forward to a day at home on my own getting loads of stuff done but sadly it is now after 6pm and I have barely achieved anything today.  Hmmm... why is this?  

When I woke up this morning I had a vague plan to do a big brainstorm of all my career-ideas and also work on my blog.  I got up early and had a healthy breakfast, I bothered to get out of my pjs and get dressed in jeans and a t-shirt.  I cleaned up so I wasn't surrounded by mess in the flat.  Then I sat down at my computer and read some of my favourite blogs and websites.  Before I knew it my energy levels had dropped and I didn't much feel like doing anything.  My enthusiasm from yesterday had mostly fizzled out and I just felt listless and uninspired.  So frustrating!

I decided to go for a stroll around the park to clear the cobwebs which did help a bit but picking up a Magnum from the shop and devouring it on the way home probably didn't help matters :)  In the afternoon things went from bad to worse when I gave up half way through my brainstorming session as I wasn't really feeling it and decided to watch tv for a bit.  'A bit' turned into about 3 hours and then I got a massive headache.  Arrggh!

Ok, so what have I learned from all this?  What should I do next time I have a full day at home stretching out ahead of me?
  • Get up early.  Not having a lie in is really important for me - it makes me feel like I'm getting off to a good start and not wasting the most precious part of the day.  I'm usually at my best in the morning energy wise - another good reason to get out of bed at a reasonable time (i.e. between 7-8am!).
  • Do some fitness first thing.   When I was preparing for our wedding last year I would see my personal trainer 2-3 times a week for morning workouts on Wandsworth Common and always felt so positive and energetic afterwards and this feeling tended to last all day.  When I don't exercise I'm more lethargic and less sharp mentally.  I once saw a quote that said that not exercising is like taking depressants, I couldn't agree more!  Getting exercise done early in the day is important for me because otherwise I would find endless excuses over the course of the day to cancel my planned workout, plus I'd spend the whole day dreading it which is a real waste of mental energy.  Working out first thing also motivates me to eat healthily for the rest of the day! 
  • Have a healthy breakfast.  Eating well makes me feel great and a good breakfast sets me up to eat healthily for the rest of the day - or at least that's the idea anyway!  In reality it takes a lot more than this to keep me on track food-wise.
  • Make a clear plan for the day ahead.  Having a goal to achieve each day, or a list of several actions to complete will really help give focus to my time.  If I really want to make a go of working for myself or going freelance then I need to master the art of self-motivation, planning and productivity.  I fear this is going to be a really hard one to crack!
  • Tidy up.  This one is easy for me as I love cleaning and having an organised environment.  I honestly can't get much done if the flat is messy as I can't think clearly.  What is it they say about a "tidy house, a tidy mind"?  That certainly rings true for me.
  • Connect with others.  I went to an Escape the City talk last week and the speaker (a seriously lively coach called Rikke Hansen) emphasised that for people working independently from home it is really important to ensure that you are having two way conversations and not just sat at home, alone, not making contact with anyone.  I definitely have a tendency to 'hide' at home with my laptop reading blogs and writing ideas down which is 'busywork', i.e. it makes me feel productive without actually achieving anything.  
  • Plan something social.  Most days it's good to make plans to do something with friends/family. Getting out of the house to have lunch with a friend, see a movie with my husband, have dinner with my sister or visit my parents in Surrey. I always feel cheered up and a little re-energised after spending time with people I love! 

I'm sure there are plenty of other things I could do to help me feel positive and motivated when I am at home on my own.  I will try to think of more ideas and post them to the blog.  

Any suggestions welcome!


  1. Great ideas for how to have a more prductive day there... It's hard, but I think it's really important to start your day with doing the things that you fear most or that require the most energy.

    1. Agreed! But it is so hard to get up and do things you don't want to do like exercising!