Working in a non-traditional environment

Being a freelancer means I can be mobile.  I have worked a variety of places from hospital waiting rooms to the parking lot of a library in a small Tennessee town.  At home, I would almost always work in my home office.  However, having a baby to look after these days has changed that.  Now I still work in my home office some, but I also do quite a bit of work from my loveseat so I can watch my baby in her bouncy seat napping or on her play mat batting at toys.  At first I struggled to maintain productivity in a more constant nontraditional environment and have learned a few things.

I need a to do list. In my office I have a white board upon which I write tasks and appointments for the day.  I keep track of most of the same information in Outlook.  In my living room, I don’t have that.  I found the easiest way to streamline and keep on track was going old school with a smallish notebook.  I have a page per day.  I write down appointments/meetings and list everything that needs to be done each day for work and home.  This little notebook keeps me on track and organized.  It fits in my purse for when I’m out and about.

I need a way to organize paperwork. In my home office I can often get inundated with paperwork.  It piles up before I realize it.  Working between my office and living room makes it even worse.  I realized I had a paper trail everywhere.  I’m slowly converting to my new solution.  I still use file folders.  Instead of putting them in my office where I have to try and remember to get them and put them back up, I have a tote bag with folders for my current projects.  The bag can go with me back to the office or to the living room or anywhere that I’m working.  I also keep envelopes for check stubs, paid bills and bills to be paid in the same bag.  Ideally I should process all this information as it comes in, but lately that’s been a challenge.  This way I at least have it all together when I do have time to sit down and log it all.

I need to have things within reach. For various tasks that I do throughout the day, I can be tied to one place.  Having everything together helps keep me on track.  I keep the notebook and work bag nearby, of course, but I also make sure other items I need are handy like the telephone with its headset and a bottle of water.

Working in a non-traditional environment has its challenges, but it is most definitely possible with a bit of planning and organization.  I’m sure that I will learn a few more things along the way as well!

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