Working From Home – Ideas

Over time I have experienced lots of different work patterns. In the past I have worked full time office hours, flexible hours, several jobs at once and night shifts. But Covid has introduced working from home as an acceptable part of a normal working pattern. Although I teach face-to-face part time, I still manage to have some time at home doing my other work, such as freelance writing.

Lots of my friends include managers and researchers and they have really got used to working from home. So much so that they have opted to carry it on in preference to returning to the office.

Personally, I hope to work at least two full days from home after the summer and I am really looking forward to it. I have gathered together some advice for people who are new to this kind of work and listed them below:

Working at home – Suggestions

– All of my friends agree that getting rid of distractions is vital when setting up a home based office. Here is a previous article about this, Working from home – without distraction. Such distractions include family members, pets and neighbours popping round for tea.

– Having the right equipment matters. That includes back supports for any chairs you sit on. Also it is vital that you get an anti-blue light screen protector that minimises glare, helping you to look after your eyes. This will also stop them getting tired so quickly.

– Make time for physical breaks. Not travelling to work is great for the environment but often it is easy to become quite sedentary. Time can also run away from you so make sure you rigidly set times for breaks and chances to be mobile.

Some easy ways to mobilise include:

a) Take the dog for a quick walk (he/she will thank you for it).

b) Do ten squats. These are great for getting the blood flowing and wake up your glutes as well as keeping you alert.

c) Walk up and down the stairs twice. Perhaps even treat yourself with a glass of water at the end of it.

d) Do a home maintenance task for five minutes. This helps in two ways as it gives your back and eyes a rest as well as contributing to those chores that will otherwise build up throughout the day. Good examples are: fill the dishwasher, take the bins out, dust the window sills or wipe the kitchen surfaces.

e) Close your eyes and lay on your back, doing alternate leg raises. This will give your abdomen a simple workout whilst allowing you to let your eyes relax for a few minutes. Three lots of ten leg raises work wonders.

– Make sure that if you have a visible timetable online, you pencil out a block everyday for admin tasks. If you don’t then colleagues won’t resist booking you in for back-to-back meetings all day long.

If you manage your time well and don’t get sucked into too many unnecessary meetings, you will still have time for exercise and reflection at the end of the day. Without the need to commute, you should have a little bit of ME-time to unwind, get fresh air and maybe even read a book.

Hopefully this advice was quite useful. For similar posts about lifestyle and entertainment, perhaps consider following my little blog.

How To Blog – Progress

As I weave my way through the blogging galaxy, I am learning so much about the process of keeping a blog going. Of course, I am making tonnes of mistakes too. So let me share with you some of my experience, this time focusing on taking a blog to the next stage (whatever that may be for you).

Beginnings

My blog began as a place to write the odd book review and get down my thoughts on environmental issues. It was ad-hoc and I often went months on end without producing any content at all. However last summer I decided to pay for a full WordPress membership instead of the free one, so I could explore plugins, get to grips with the technical side and, most importantly, begin to write regular content.

Here are my thoughts on progressing a blog. I spoke about maintaining one last time in this article about getting into a good routine. Now, let’s discuss moving forward. This can be just expanding the hobby or potentially developing a site in order to make it a part time business. Remember I am still in the early stages and by no means an expert. Nevertheless, these are my thoughts.

Measuring

It is not something worth obsessing over but it is worth having a look at your blog analytics regularly. I am not too interested in overall views but finding out which posts are most popular or have the most interaction via comments can be extremely helpful if wanting to improve the blog.

After all, if people seem to be lapping up poetry posts then it wouldn’t hurt to write some more. When random posts about the News don’t seem to generate any interest, that is no reason not to continue dropping them in but perhaps consider writing fewer.

Adverts

From day one I started using the readily available WordAds featured on WordPress. It seemed odd as -for what seemed like an eternity- it just kept leaving placeholders, which are essentially just adverts for WordAds itself.

However, after weeks of analysing my site, it started to throw up actual adverts and slowly but surely, small amounts of money began to register on the Jetpack dashboard. For me, this has never been a big earner but it does grow slowly over time.

Adsense

As soon as I had my blog up and running, I applied to use Google Adsense which is a nice way to include adverts on a blog whilst establishing it. The hardest part of this process was copying and pasting the code in the right place on my blog. Adsense itself was a really easy to use provider. I noticed slightly more money accruing and occasionally someone would click on an advert for an extra boost.

Using an ‘Insert Headers and Bloggers’ plugin enabled me to insert the code that I needed to connect Adsense to my WordPress pages. I was also able to add widgets within the ‘Appearance’ section of my blog dashboard, where I could then select specific places that adverts might appear. This simply required pasting custom html into the widgets on either my sidebar or beneath the articles.

Moving on…

I now use Ezoic for advertising placement and it has already improved my site speed and revenue, after just a few weeks. Ezoic bids against Adsense and whichever bids the most gets the advert spot each time. The best thing about changing to Ezoic is that there are lots of learning videos and challenges which enable me to take the decisions about my site into my own hands, whilst recognising clever suggestions.

I have recently learned about optimisation and how to declutter my blog of plugins. Similarly I learned how to cache my blog to make it more accessible and responsive. I knew nothing about these things until I watched Ezoic learning videos. They make regular suggestions for improvement which you can take or leave. You can also test each change before it goes live to make sure it doesn’t disrupt your home page.

Working with Bloggers

The biggest thing for me in helping me to improve my blog has been grabbing opportunities to collaborate. I welcomed my first guest post in the Autumn and noticed that my DA suddenly improved. Ever since, I have been offering to write on others’ blogs and encouraging them to produce content for mine. This ‘I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine’ technique is definitely good for growth and visibility.

Having backlinks to and from other blogs makes your blog look more established and trustworthy, therefore increasing the likelihood of Google recognising it and eventually for Moz to increase its domain authority.

Summary

Without overloading you with information, I hope that this brief article has encouraged you to continue developing your blog. It would be wonderful to hear your own thoughts about moving a blog forwards. Monetisation isn’t everything but it is an added bonus, so please feel free to share your tips below.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Please consider following my blog for similar future content and posts about books and the environment.

Middle of the Week – A Poem

Rush, hurry, don’t slow down.

Middle of the week,

Time is flying by,

Not much time to speak,

But always time for, ‘Hi!’

Singing silly songs,

Laughing really loud,

Rushing round like crazy,

Pushing through the crowd.

Working late at night,

Working all day long,

Busy as a bee,

Gotta try and stay strong.

Striding for the weekend,

Looking forward to a rest,

Trying to keep my eyes open,

Weekend slumbers are the best.