Welcome to My Virtual Office! My Mobile World!
For over 13 years I have been working remotely in a virtual and mobile environment. Actually, since 2002, which means 18 years. Over the years I have encouraged clients and businesses to ‘go green’ in different ways:
- Create and store documents online with an aim to go paperless – Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive,
- Use online platforms – Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, to hold virtual meetings instead of travelling to physical meetings – fewer cars on the road = less gas = reduce carbon footprint,
- Work from home, with the same outcome as point 2.
- Purchase an electric or hybrid vehicle. I did. In my continuous aim to go as green as possible, with a Toyota (Hybrid) Aqua or Prius C.
I really don’t like to say, “I work from home,” as the truth is, I have made my business virtual and mobile. I can literally work from anywhere at any time, once I have my smartphone and / or MacBook laptop.
Along came COVID-19 in the year 2020, and with it, most all businesses were mandated to close and let staff work from home – work remotely, or, unfortunately, let staff go. This turned up the volume on people starting online businesses, and most turned to Online Coaching.
Welcome to My Virtual Office! Welcome to My World!
It was strange for me to hear stories about people trying to make their work-from-home coaching business work, but when I thought about it, it is a completely different culture and lifestyle to working 8 to 4 or 9 to 5 at an office. It also takes a certain personality.
You see, I think most people thought working from home was going to be a joyride – easy, when in fact it takes a constant, daily balancing act between work and personal life. It also takes discipline, time management, and prioritising. How it has successfully worked for me is by including little, daily habits to make it all work.
Each and every morning I journal – journal, as in I write in a journal each day using Microsoft OneNote and my Samsung Note’s stylus. My daily entries include everything! A morning prayer or blessing; gratitude for things that happened the day before; thoughts on anything – whether work or personal, that are on my mind (You wouldn’t believe how writing those out can clarify things for you); and last, but most importantly, a To-Do list for the day. This daily list has kept me on top of my game with the balancing act. It’s simple, and it works! Here is an example of one of my To-Do lists:
To Do (I literally write those two words down every day).
Finish newsletter and send to [insert client’s name here] for approval]
Prepare Zoom meeting invitation and send to [insert client’s name here]
Pay phone bill
Prepare budget for [insert client’s name here]
Finish off accounts
Drop off forms at accountant
Collect dad’s car insurance policy
The thing about a list is that you can check it at any point of the day to see if you are on track with completing all items. If you are not, no hassle. Carry it over to the next day.
Most, if not all, of my work is done using technology, whether on my laptop or on my smartphone. I laugh as I repeat the old adage …’There’s an app for that!’ because there is literally an app to do most everything you need to do, which makes you not only work efficiently and effectively at work but manage your personal life and time. I’m a Google Girl first, and them a Microsoft 365, so here are some of my go-to apps that work for me:
- Gmail: with their scheduling tool, I can now prepare emails beforehand and set when I want them to go out,
- Google Calendar: Reminder, Event, Goals,
- Google Docs and Sheets and Forms, which I am able to share with my Assistant and Team and clients, so we are always on the same page, and it’s all stored on …
- Google Drive: Online or offline everything is there for me to retrieve, work on, attach and send in an email if I need to,
- FlashIssue – an email newsletter app that I use in Gmail for clients,
- Microsoft 365 Word, Excel, OneNote, also stored on OneDrive.
I got really excited when the work-from-home was initiated as I wanted to see how many people would come to realise that working from home is not a joyride or free pass. Yes, your time becomes flexible, but t takes discipline, persistence and determination to get it right every day. Plus, you tend to sometimes work even longer hours than if you were in a physical office that you can leave at a certain hour. It does have advantages though. You get to schedule your days and weeks so that events are not missed, head to the supermarket on a Monday morning with little or no people there unlike a Saturday when it is maxed out with shoppers, doctor’s and dental visits can be booked with ease at most any time, take vacations knowing that you can continue to work once there is internet or wi-fi access.
In a work-from-home scenario, where you run your own business, it is a virtual, mobile, flexible-time type of life! And I have been loving every minute of it!
Welcome to My Virtual Office! Welcome to My Mobile World!
Elise Farrell is the Principal Blogger at The Blog Shop.
Meet-up with her in her inbox at firstname.lastname@example.org.