Working online is an absolute gift, it truly is: it offers a flexible, empowering way to work but it can equally be exhausting and overwhelming at times (the juggle is real)…So, it’s vital check yourself before your wreck yourself… because the internet never sleeps, and if you’re not careful, neither will you.
Below I share my top 5 tips to help you handle working online. I hope you find them useful:
1. Divide your space
I work from my kitchen table but when the kids get home, my ‘office desk’ returns to the heart of the home so documents, laptop, phone and admin gets put away so I can go from boss to mum mode with ease. Consider creating your own dedicated office space at home be it a corner of a room or even in a heated shed in your garden (if you’re lucky enough to have one). I sometimes like to head to the library or a coffee shop, close by to switch things up. It also helps to re-inspire me if I feel a writer’s block coming on. Change your scenery, change your mindset!
2. Grow a thick skin
Working online, particularly as a personal brand/blogger means people who don’t know you from Adam, might well have an opinion about you. Get used to it and focus on the people who know and love you, who can always be honest with you when it comes to editorial feedback. You can’t trust everyone, so realise that from the get-go. In the 7 years I’ve been blogging, I’ve experienced trolls, libellous drivel, and naysayers. Nice. Forgive them all as I have, so it doesn’t eat you up, hold your head up high, and keeping cracking on.
I recently wrote about forgiveness here so if you need some inspo, check it out. Don’t forget that your brain is malleable, so the more you practise and advocate forgiveness as well as feeling confident and empowered, whatever the adversity you need to overcome, the quicker and easier it is to recover from online bullying. The tough times will build your resilience too.
3. Be kind to yourself
Be prepared for the roller-coaster. There will incredibly productive days which will see you high-fiving yourself and others where you’ll struggle to send a tweet: know that is normal. You can’t be ‘ON’ 24/7. As with confidence, however, the more you create, the more you’ll create. You don’t have to publish or broadcast everything you write or make either. I’ve been painting again recently and I’m not sure I’ll share all of my work but that’s not why I’m doing it. First and foremost I paint and write for myself, for the joy in the creative act. Find the pleasure and passion and sharing becomes easy. Working around kids is never plain-sailing either. The good news is, you can work early in the morning or once the kids are asleep…Just don’t forget to eventually…
4. Switch off
Manage your social media consumption and productivity. There was a time that social media seemed to control me, and truth be told, I felt a little bit addicted to my phone. Thankfully, this last year has seen me regain complete control again. I don’t endlessly scroll through social media and when I do use it, I try and ensure it’s meaningful time well spent: I catch up with friends and followers, I schedule posts and I tend to only visit each platform a few times a day for short bursts. I rely on Social Oomph and scheduled tweets to keep traffic coming to my blog posts and I often schedule FB posts in advance too. With tools like that, you can be online even when you’re not. Plus, that pesky blue light blocks melanin production so give yourself an hour of screen-free time before slumber and read a book. I can recommend one that’s out on May 3rd! I’ve also written about the secret to a good night’s sleep on the blog if you need some tips.
5. Find your tribe
I need my sisters (and brothers) to keep me sane and give me all the lols. My close tribe are a bunch of amazing friends made up of mates I’ve known since I was a kid to blogger pals I met years back, and friends from the film industry. I trust them all implicitly and reach out to them whenever issues arise so we can problem solve or simply cry on one another’s shoulders, as well as rejoicing when the good times roll. It’s never too late to make new friends either. Reach out to like-minded people on and offline, as working online/for yourself can feel quite solitary, but it doesn’t have to be. Twitter was a lifeline to me when I started and I’ve made some of my closest friends thanks to my online life.