Homeworking during a Heatwave

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Keeping your cool during a heatwave

UK homes are designed to keep heat in.  Climate change or just the advent of summer means that random very hot days do happen. These are great for school kids and holiday makers but can make homeworking uncomfortable.  Temperatures are changing all over the world, but with a little forethought a hot day need not make your homeworking life miserable.

Sudden increases in heat can be dangerous and increase the risks of strokes, heart attacks and dehydration.  Homeworkers often work in customer services, and being hot and uncomfortable makes most people, well – Cranky.  This is not helpful to you nor to the people you interact with.  Heatwaves, or just hot days, can cause fatigue and make it difficult to stay focused.  A series of these days can make you miserable and managing them makes good personal and business sense.

Here are some ideas of how to cope with the hot weather if you have to stay indoors.  They are in order of what is important to me, your priorities may differ, but are likely to be similar.

Bugs come out with the sun.  Swap curtains or replace nets with these to keep insects alive, and out.  Cheap, effective, leave them up all year to maximise natural light in the winter.

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You can buy these cheaply

Flasks keep drinks cold as well as hot, and they are eco-friendly.  Fill them with water or your favourite cooler to stay hydrated.

Keep the kids/dogs/birds/rabbits contained so you can work with the office door open.  Open windows and ventilate to get a through breeze

Fans are great for moving air around but do use them strategically.

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Wind blowing directly onto your face can dry your eyes out, directly onto your back or neck can cause muscle tension.  Fans are best when situated in a place where they can increase the flow of air that enters naturally through windows or doors.

Ceiling fans are inexpensive and can we reversed to circulate warm air in winter.  These are worth considering if you are in an area where the general temperature seems to be on the increase.

Opening doors and windows often means that you have to deal with higher noise levels from outside.  A fan, even a small desk fan, creates white noise and either eliminates or disguises street noise.

Leatherette chairs can be uncomfortable.  A small cotton towel on the seat can make a big difference and stop your seat from becoming your shell when you get up – 🙂

Water absorbs heat.  If you  have space and if it is safe to do so, placing bowls of water in front of airways might help.  Position them safely, away from electric sources. Experiment.  Add ice cubes.

Blinds can be useful if your office windows gets direct sunlight.  Pull them down during the hottest part of the day, but stay with light colours.  Black is great for dresses, but lighter colours give a cooler feel indoors, and deflect light.

Clothing.  Well now…..  Hang loose!

 

How do you keep your cool?

 

Work from home? No, thanks!

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Love and marriage, cats and dogs, fire and ice, love and marriage….. Some combos work better for some people than they do for others.  We all make choices that others might not understand, but many people have told me that they would never consider working from home.  Home is after all where we chill.  Right?

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Is this true?  Do you relax when you are at home, or do you find yourself dashing, dusting and feeling generally quite dazed, manic and exhausted?  Bathing and sleeping aside, home is not really the first place that comes to my mind when I think of chilling and kicking back.  When I walk into my house, the bills leap from the mat and slap me in the face.  Anything that looks important is normally in a few pieces because Bones found it interesting too.  If it’s really engaging, then the piece with the voucher or the one stamped URGENT is simply gone.  Gone presumed eaten, that is.

The carpet that was vacuumed last night looks like a Flokati rug, and my head bangs at the sight of just how much hair a small terrier can shed daily and not be bald.  I turn into the lounge and trip over the vacuum cleaner.  Just as well I never put it away, saves me lugging it back down the stairs later.  Drats!  Not only did I leave the vac out, I left it plugged into the power, which explains the pool of water around the freezer …..

The  ‘phone rings, while I am striding off towards the kitchen with the bath towel that I used to mop up most of the flood, and as I open the washing machine door I notice that yesterday’s washing needs re-washing because the sun stopped shining before I could peg it onto the line.  While pegging, re-mopping and explaining to the ‘phone that I never forgot to pay my tv licence, I was actually protesting some BBC coverage which seemed important at the time but which I cannot identify right now –  It’s time to dirty some more dishes while hovering above the still wet floor.  I start humming that song – It goes something like, “Ain’t it good to be back home again…..”

I realise I can hum in expletives when hubby comes in and chucks his backpack on the wet floor, cap on the tv, shoves the dry washing off the sofa to make space for the dog, and tells me how he fancies frying up a storm for supper.

Working from home is what we DO.  We might not like it, but dust settles for the slob and the houseproud in equal measures and it will gnaw at your nerves until you reach for the yellow duster, after which it’s over.  Another day of working from, around, at, in, and all over that place we call home has begun.

I did mean to write about working from home for a profit, but somehow I lost the context and am now going to head off to bed, to chill, at home.  Yawn.

 

Love the Grindstone : Dealing with today

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Why is it that we work most of days looking forward to the day we can have time off.  I remember that one of my first thoughts after hearing I was pregnant was, “How much time can I get off work?”  Perhaps not the noblest thing to admit, but it is the truth.  I had been working as a journalist and been burning the candle at both ends.  Time out was something I craved – Or so I thought.

Every parent knows that a baby is a full time job and then some, so it’s no mystery how my maternity time off went. Having spoken to others who have either just had leave, given up working for some other reason, the story seems frighteningly universal. Time away from the working mill never seems to live up to our expectations, and for some reason, we MISS working.  Crazy, huh?

It would seem we are social animals, pack animals even.  We dislike drudgery, conforming, being bossed around, and being managed to the millisecond – So why do we miss it stops?  Most people find the euphoria of freedom lasts around a month at most.  Pretty soon after that we seem to actively start replacing our obligations – Some join clubs, get a plot, find someone to care for, visit the pet store.  Others do charity work.  We will go to great lengths to find a grindstone.

It makes sense to love your grindstone.  After all, out of all the shackles in the world you picked yours, if not initially, then by not swapping it for another one as soon as you developed the skills or opportunity to do so.

What is a grindstone? By definition it is a thick disc of stone or other abrasive material mounted so as to revolve, used for grinding, sharpening, or polishing metal objects.  So it’s a hard, repetitive,cyclic thing that polishes /  a harsh, distasteful thing we do over and over again to earn us money, or enhance our world in some way.

Over time, I have had many grindstones, and I sure you have too.  I have learnt that as soon as I shake one off, I pull another one in.  It has been said that a human being can learn to love almost anything, and I don’t know anyone who claims to get pleasure out of feeling irritable.  If we cannot learn to love our grindstones, then at least it would be sensible to try to like them, or at the very least to stop hating or dreading them.  Managing ourselves is never easy, and I do not have the answers, but in my quest to spend less of my life feeling annoyed I have found that introducing some simple habits is slowly improving things.  Nothing big, anyone who knows me will tell you that I am lazy, dis-organised, and like an easy life.  I had to wait until my grindstone annoyed me so much that making some effort to change things was simply easier than just carrying on with things the way they were.

1. Get rid of any nasties that you can (I threw out my toaster and iron so lost the crumbs and gained some creases)

2. Delegate and see if anyone else wants some of your drudge.  We all seek grindstones, so ask around.

3. Remind yourself that you chose your grindstone, so OWN it.  There are no victims here!

4. If you want, swap your current grindstone for a different one.  Ie: You need to earn but you do have options

Once you have sifted through the things you want to change, list the things you will work towards changing.  I have things I can change, but not right away.  Jotting these down gets them out of your head, and doubles as goal setting. It gets a bit easier from there on.  I find that reminding myself that I designed my life and can change it helped for me.  As kids we learnt manners and how to control our behaviour and therefore how to control ourselves.  I use this now to change my worst thoughts and to keep my reactions in check.  Changing thoughts takes a bit of practice but can be done.  When I notice hating thoughts I try to catch them and change them.  I do not want to work a repetitive job that steals half of my day, but I find that telling myself it’s easy and that spending time chatting with work mates and networking on my breaks has value, I do feel the tension in my shoulders ease.

It’s not just the Devil that’s in the detail- The soul food lives there too.  If I focus on the small things that I enjoy within my drudgery it helps me get through the tedium with some sense of enjoyment.  Slowly, the big bug stuff seems to shrink into perspective and I find more things to smile about.

While working on better ways to pay the bills by making money on-line, make money on-line properly  I am also working out ways to have more enjoyable days now.

If you are in the same place as me, and dealing with your grindstone today too, I would be interested to hear what works for you.  Drop me a line or ten and let me know?

 

Finding time

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A day never seems long enough for us to do all the things we need sort.  I have often wondered how some people achieve lots me than me in the same 24 hours,  and yet somehow manage to reach the end of the day looking fabulous.

I asked an estate agent, a mother of four, a nurse and a car rental manager how they do it. Although the answers varied somewhat, there were some common themes.  I am listing them here to remind myself and to share with you.

Passion or pleasure were used interchangeably.  All stated that they did something on most days of the week that made them feel amazing.  Some gave examples that included work tasks, others either danced, wrote or gardened.

Do something for YOU everyday –  Either to start the day, or to give yourself something to look forward to

Work around your body clock     –   We all have energy ebbs and flows.  Plan your tasks around your internal clock

Do something for someone else  –   Expect nothing in return, and you will feel empowered.

Prioritise                                          –   When you are swamped, check with yourself whether a task really needs doing

Get rid of things that do not matter to you, and free up your time and energy for things that do.  One of the most liberating things I ever did was throwing out my iron.  It was over a decade ago, and I haven’t missed it once.  Do you have things that tie you down that you can happily live without?  After cleaning the toaster for the billionth I binned that too.  A blow torch does the job if I really crave toast these days.

It’s okay to be you.  Be true to yourself and start living the life you want.  Do a little more for yourself each day. Respect the world and other people, but beyond that, honour your own life.

Peace, out.

MY Domain

There is a magical place where you are king or queen.  What you say, goes.  You can invite, banish, charm, and rule as you please.  You can fill this place with anything you like from anywhere in or out of this world.  That place IS your domain.

Blogging is fun, and there are some gorgeous free to use sites that I would urge you to try.  You can make great look pages online and post and share to your hearts content.  Ah, content….

The free websites have policies about what you can and cannot write about, over and above the normal laws of the land.  They can close down, change terms and conditions, and are not the best place to stake out your claim.

Free hosted blogs are used but not owned by you.  Domains, however, are yours.  All yours.  If your domain grows and someone else wants it, it becomes a possession that you can sell for a profit.  Until someone makes you an offer you cannot refuse, you can leave it, build it and make cash from it.

Domain names can be cheap to buy when you are the first owner.  This means that if you pick a domain name that you can register from the start, then it costs less than a packet of cigarettes or a few pints.

Other reasons to own your own domain (www.memyselfI.com instead of memyselfI.freewebbie.com) are:

They look great on your CV

You can personalise your email address

There are easier to monetise, because you own them

Fewer rules is still a good thing

If you find a great domain name available at a good price, then don’t think twice.  Snap it up there and then.  Next time you look for it, it could be gone, or the price could have escalated.

A domain name is spot on trend for a thoughtful and unique gift.

Categories: Journal