By November 17, 2014 Read More →

5 essentials I can’t work without – the blogger

5 essentials I can't work without - Emma Jordan - Choc MotivatorWhen I carried out a survey on the blog (another one coming very soon, by the way) I discovered that one of the main reasons people visit is to find out about other home workers’ offices and routines.

Hence the popularity of the home office galleries and the What’s in Your Bag? series, and the reason we started 5 Essentials I Can’t Work Without.

Last month Heather Greig-Smith of digital magazine Flexible Boss told us about her love of lists and garish pink trainers (her words!)

Today blogger and ebook author Emma Jordan joins us to talk about

5 essentials I can’t work without.


1. Parents.
I couldn’t work from home if my toddler-daughter didn’t spend a large part of her week entertaining her grandparents. Well, I perhaps could, but after running around with my little girl all day any content that I produced would bear the hallmarks of an exhausted Mummy, and my partner would forget what I looked like, as I squirreled away on the laptop.

I am extremely grateful that we live so close to our parents, and that they can spend time with their granddaughter before she begins primary school. Thank you to grandparents all over the world who care for grandchildren while parents work!

2. Chocolate.
If creativity has stalled on a blog post or early draft of a book, I head for my chocolate stash. By the time a square (perhaps, two) of Belgian milk chocolate has melted on my tongue I’ve either worked through the problem or decided to take an early lunch/dinner.

When I was pregnant and the afternoon tiredness kicked in I used to head for the sofa with a bar of chocolate, and working from home I still feel the afternoon dip. I’ve tried healthier snacks, but there’s something very rewarding about curling up in the late afternoon with a little chocolate.

If I really need to push on with a big project I break down the tasks into 8 manageable steps, drawing 8 squares on a sheet of paper. I then place 8 individually wrapped chocolates within the settings as rewards for each task completed. (See the patented Choc Motivator above!) Suddenly it’s easier to complete the project!

5 essentials I can't work without - Emma Jordan - country music3. Country Music.
I need music in my day, and when I’m writing or editing I listen to three fast and loud tracks every 45 minutes or so (usually while the kettle’s going, and I’m stretching). I play a lot of new country (The Band Perry, Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood) and keep classic country (Alan Jackson, Reba McEntrire, Dolly, Kenny and Vince Gill) around for ideas.

Country music narrates a story in three minutes, and their tales of heartbreak and revenge can be pretty inspiring. I need to be careful when editing, however, that I don’t veer off topic, so I keep familiar tracks quietly murmuring in the background as a steady motivator. As familiar stories play I can work – editing is not the time to discover new artists!

I also keep the Nashville soundtrack in my car for when I’m ferrying my daughter around, all though she prefers to listen to The Gruffalo! Either way, she should grow into a great storyteller.

4. Kindle Fire tablet.
Aside from offering me the new career of non-fiction ebook author, my Kindle Fire absolutely stays within my sight. Notebook apps of ideas and shopping lists, playlists of my favourite songs, easy access to Pinterest AND several hundred fiction and non-fiction books. Yum!

I honestly have little idea how I worked without my tablet, although I certainly wasn’t as productive as I have been since I bought my Kindle. I’ve downloaded apps for my daughter to amuse herself with, like Picasso, which encourages her drawing, or we read ebooks together, or she swishes through our photos.

At half the price of other devices, I’m not nervous about her using it to build her own IT skills! When I travel without my family I can keep in touch via Skype, and on long journeys there’s the obvious advantage of not committing to just one book.

My Kindle has been invaluable in discovering new authors too. I have loads of samples of ebooks downloaded, and when I’m ready to buy I head to Amazon’s store. If I see a book I’m interested in, the free samples are a handy reminder. Nothing worse than being inspired by a good book and then forgetting the title!

5. The sofa.
Over the last couple of years I’ve spent working from home, I’ve found that the sofa has become a productive place for generating creativity. As well as pottering around online, on either my laptop or Kindle, I can plot blog posts and write early first drafts of books. There is something blissfully comfortable about the semi-horizontal position. Perhaps employees would benefit if sofas were readily available for sprawling on?

I keep snacks and water on the nearby coffee table, and find lounging on the sofa, legs outstretched, is a great office environment. I can work with the TV on, although if I’m plotting I tend to hit the mute button. When I do watch TV I keep my Kindle nearby to draw up notes of ideas/topics to research. The sofa is also handy when toddler-daughter watches films; I can network on social media while she’s distracted, and write guest posts.

work from home secrets

Emma Jordan is the founder of the lifestyle blog, Size15Stylist, and is dedicated to shopping, writing, blogging and styling. She has written and published two ebooks on the Kindle Direct Publishing platform, and describes the process in How to self-publish through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

4 Comments on "5 essentials I can’t work without – the blogger"

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  1. Sharon says:

    Oh my, I do like your choc motivator – hope you’ve patented it 🙂

    I listen to music too, I don’t really like to work in silence. At the moment I have all Led Zep & Robert Plant tracks on shuffle. My parents love country music – mum’s a big Vince Gill fan – so I recognise the country artists you listen to. I’m partial to Brad Paisley and Brookes & Dunn among others.

  2. Hi Sharon, hope you find the Choc Motivator useful….I’ll certainly be using mine this afternoon to sort through administrative tasks!

    Love Vince and Brad, too, they certainly helped me through my studies as well as my writing projects 🙂

    • The patented Choc Motivator has been very well received on social media. I’ve always said I could do with a box like an automatic cat feeder where the chocolate is inaccessible until the appointed time when the lid pops open. Perhaps we could set up in partnership, Emma?

  3. Absolutely, Judy – an automated Choc Motivator would be a great Christmas present!

    I wonder how many homeworkers are staring at their version of the Choc Motivator this morning to whip through tasks? I’m about to set mine up to ensure I meet invoice and admin deadlines!

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