Over the past few months, blogging has become my main source of income. As I’ve been taking it more seriously, I’ve gradually come to realise that there are certain essentials that make my life easier. Some of them are quite specific to blogging, others are the type of things you’d use in any office job. But until recently I hadn’t got around to investing in them for my home office.
1. A computer
This one isn’t as obvious as it sounds. I do know of people who blog quite successfully on a tablet or even a phone. When I first started taking blogging a bit more seriously, I was using a desktop. This was pretty useful for shutting myself away in the office and getting things done.
But it has now got to a point where I have to fit in bits of work when I can. I’m currently writing this while I’m waiting for Libby in her drama class. Which clearly wouldn’t have been possible if I only had the desktop! I eventually ended up investing in a MacBook Pro because I can work anywhere on it and use it for video editing as well as writing.
2. A mobile phone
Much as it pains me to say it, I wouldn’t manage to blog without my phone. Much of my social media is done on my phone, including most of my Instagram photos. When we’re blogging about an attraction or holiday, I usually post to both Twitter and Instagram while we’re there. I’d never manage to carry around my laptop as well as my camera so the phone is pretty essential.
3. A camera
This is the one thing I still haven’t really invested in. I have quite a nice camera from before I started blogging but it’s not perfect. Many people do manage to blog with just their mobile phones. However you do get to a point where you need to be able to do a little bit more with photography. After all, the most popular blogs are all beautiful to look at as well as interesting to read.
4. Office supplies
This is another thing that I hadn’t really taken into consideration until recently. As a general rule, all my work is done online. Meetings are usually conducted via Skype, contracts are arranged via email and work is tapped straight into the laptop. But occasionally I need to sign a form, take a phone call or make some written notes.
After years of running around the house looking for pens and scraps of paper, I suddenly realised how much time I was wasting. So I decided to stock up on everything I used to have access to when I worked in an office. I found the Engelbert Strauss website which specialises in all things work. They sell products you’d need for all different jobs – from safety gear to tools to footwear. I headed straight for the office supplies section to stock up on pens, paper, post-its, scissors, paper clips, hole punch, folders, files – the list goes on.
My other tip is to keep your work office supplies separate from general household paperwork. Even if you don’t have an office, make space in a cupboard, a drawer or even a box. My children don’t know where my work stationery supplies are so I’m never left hunting around to work out where they’ve put them.
5. A planner
Last year, I reviewed a Pirongs planner. I have to admit it was a bit of a revelation. Pirongs make unique planners that you design yourself. I chose a beautiful flowery design with plenty of pages for notes and lists to get me organised. The planners vary in size but I went for an A4 one. It has both a week view and a month view, as well as stickers to show you where each month is when the planner is closed.
This is another thing I used to use without thinking about it when I worked in an office. Everything was diarised. Meetings, emails, periods blocked out to do particular pieces of work. So why not organise myself the same way when I was working from home?