I made a big decision in the summer; I was going to change the way I ‘d been working from home drastically and build a bespoke Garden Office.

It’s now December and I’m no closer to my dream.  Why? Well, it turns out there’s a lot to consider; foundations, construction, insulation, security etc.

Let’s rewind a few months and go back to why I decided this was necessary.  The main reason was simply I never felt I could escape work. *Just* checking emails before bed could often lead to another hour of work, not to mention weekends where I felt like I may as well work because it’s the only time I don’t have non-stop notifications so I can catch up a bit.

I’m lucky, I have an office already but it’s in the house so sometimes it feels like there’s no escape. I’ve toyed with the idea in the past of a shared office space but fundamentally I quite like working on my own!

The GoWithThePro community gives me virtual colleagues so I’m never lonely and there’s always something going on, someone to help, someone to talk to, it’s a busy place!

So, for me, that’s the big issue that I’m trying to overcome at the moment – how do I escape work when it’s always there?

Some ups

Despite all this I do like working from home, especially now I don’t have to worry about the school run!  Here are some of my ups:

  1. You can work in your pyjamas – and I do!  Sometimes I get on a roll and it’s only when the children get home, I think I’d better get dressed!  Same applies for working in anything else that would be frowned upon in an office environment!
  2. You can set your own hours – working all day on Sunday so you can take Monday off has its benefits.  If there’s a new film out I want to see before it’s spoiled, I’ll often go to the first showing at the cinema on the day of release.  There’s nothing wrong with popcorn for breakfast!
  3. Being there for the children – it’s lovely to go to sports days and nativities and assemblies but I’ve found it equally important to be there for when my older children get home from school.  If you’ve had a bad day coming home to an empty house can make you feel even worse so me yelling “how was your day” down the stairs before they raid the fridge might help a bit.
  4. Freedom! – Working from home means home can be anywhere and when you’re married to a teacher you can make the most of it! The office can also be the park or the swimming baths or the side of a football pitch, whatever suits your life.
  5. Time! – The time I would spend commuting I can now spend working or even having a lie-in if I want to!

Those are some of my ups but of course everyone will have different priorities depending on your home situation and the job you do.

Time for a bit of balance perhaps?

Some downs 

  1. Boundaries – working from home seems to make you fair game in many ways.  Our neighbours all work long hours and are out of the house all day.  They get a LOT of deliveries. Well, I get a lot of their deliveries. The Hermes delivery man knows me, he knows my name.  He asked if I was feeling better the last time he saw me because I’d had a cold. I have never once had my own delivery from Hermes.
  2. More boundaries – it’s getting better now but for many people starting out it’s the people popping in that can drive you mad.  “Are you busy?” they ask. “Yes,” you answer but they’re still there half an hour later.
  3. Lack of routine – I will admit I do like a routine and I definitely work better when I’m organised.  Unfortunately, that can go out the window when you don’t have a 9-5 schedule to stick to.  Working in pyjamas probably doesn’t help to be fair but I’m still leaving that on the up list!
  4. The monotony – I’ll be blunt.  Working from home can be really boring.  Working alone, eating the same lunch, not even a cat for company, it can get to you.
  5. The lack of exercise – this is a big one for me.  Last week my husband walked over 100,000 steps.  I walked about 5000. My own fault I know but if there’s no reason to leave the house very often I won’t.

Now, these are *my* ups and downs and everyone will be different.  Many people hate working from home and can’t wait to go back to an office.  Overall, I love it and I think a lot of my problems can be helped, not solved, by removing my place of work from the house.

We help our members a lot with the realities of working from home; productivity, beating procrastination and getting the most out of the time you have.  It’s not easy to make it work for you.

By physically having to leave the house (and probably therefore get dressed) and go to a place of work, even one at the end of the garden, I’m hoping it will help get me into a work frame of mind more easily.  I work hard but I procrastinate too when I’m in my current office surrounded by things.

At the Youpreneur summit I recently attended one of the speakers talked about having a totem; something you wear that makes you become “work” you.  I’ve yet to find mine but I’m edging towards something simple like just wearing a pair of earrings.

I think about my garden office a lot.  I’m going to have a large, clear desk with just my computer, perhaps a plant and a notepad.  Maybe a Lego figure or two to cheer it up a bit. Another desk area will hold the “stuff” I need within reaching distance.

Obviously, I’m stealing Cathy’s IKEA shelf layout for all my things (I have a lot of things) and then a chair for visitors (the invited sort). 

I’d love more inspiration from you all though!  In the meantime, I really should just tidy the office I have a bit.

One thing I have resigned myself to having to get is a Ring doorbell or how will I be able to see Mr Hermes and take in all his deliveries?  Plus, the walk from the garden to the front door will do me good…