One of the things we find ourselves grateful for during the uncertainty that is now isolated day to day life, is that almost a year ago Carol and I decided to build, grow and run a successful online, shopfront-less, paper-less, Boutique Real Estate Agency.
Now, as many adjust to the new normal, both us & our team are well & truly set in this flexible way of work - but let me tell you it wasn’t always so .... to help ease that uncomfortable ‘am I doing too little’, uncertain (#guilty) feeling, here are some of my favourite tips for adjusting and getting productive while working remotely and/or from home.
Routine Will Set You Free
A previous business coach told us ‘routine will set you free’ and it’s certainly a phrase that has proven true. Keep (an honest) calendar of your day, include exercise, lunch, family events, personal appointments, daily planning, email check/reply time slots, voice and/or video calls, 'do not disturb' times and deadlines; be disciplined but be honest and kind to yourself, if something isn’t working simply change it.
Create Your Space & Ready Yourself for Work
Whether your space is a designated room, desk or simply the dining table having a ‘space’ & ‘attire’ to match can take your head space from at home to at work. A fellow remote worker told me from the start, ‘when I put my heels on, I mean business and all in my household know it’ - this was a definite game changer for me personally!
Be Prepared for Productivity
There has been a large amount of research invested in ‘flexible’ working arrangements within businesses and in turn a positive result for both employees and employers, proving that given a timeframe between 9:00am & 5:00pm the same workload can be achieved in many less hours when working remotely free of distractions, office politics and the drawn out ‘daily grind’.
Know How & When To Unplug
Being able to work anytime, anywhere can very easily lead to all the time, everywhere! And that’s certainly not what working remotely is about; know how & what needs to be done to switch off and step away from work so you can be present and enjoy the time spent doing the things you love with the people you love! Whether that means the phone & laptop are turned off, notifications are set to silent or whether it’s as simple as closing the home office door - whatever works for you remember we ‘work to live’ - not the other way around.
Being home-bound this Easter I have convinced myself that rain, hail or COVID-19 will not stop my excitement of hunting for Easter Eggs! So wether you are aiming to keep the kids busy, excite the un-excitable or are just wanting to get creative, here are my thoughts on collating the perfect tools for an extra rabbity Easter egg hunt at home;
Don’t let the thought of rain cloud your day - Gum boots act as the perfect ‘gift bag’ for all of your Easter gifts! They can be purchased from Kmart (yes, they are open) in your child’s (or your) favourite pattern / style. They double up as an extremely practical accessory during a wet backyard Easter egg hunt, not to mention extra fun for the remainder of the rainy season.
Less is More
If you’re planning on showcasing your household with gorgeous Easter gift bags (or gum boots!), use a variety of fillers of your choice in a range of sizes. Make sure to stuff any excess space with tissue paper creating some volume and to avoid filling the entire gift bag or gum boot with chocolate - unless you're like me and are choosing to over indulge this year!
There are a range of non-edible options to avoid the sugar craze. Bubble wands in orange with green ribbon tied at the top, add to the Easter theme and cute bunny ears - just because! Or if you’re following the gum boot theme why not include the matching rain coat & umbrella.
All white, everything - but not this season....Colour is back and I’m excited....Adding a splash (or splashes) of colour to your space is invigorating.
It entices you to step out of your comfort zone, show off your style and express your personality; although it can be a little unsettling to make that first step whether it be a purchase or a brush stroke!
Choosing a colour is extremely personal, it’s an expression of yourself and one that is completely individual.
Choose without doubting yourself and go for something that you love! It’s your home, your space, so make it yours.
Always Get A Tester
Trust me, I have failed many, many times at this (like half the interior of a home fail). Colours have an incredible effect on your mood and on your space, so take the time.
Buy a few testers and view your chosen colours in a variety of lights at different times of the day, decide on how you want the space to feel - open and light or luxurious and cosy ?
If In Doubt
Go for something a little less permanent; begin with a coloured piece of art (again remember your mood, so choose something that makes you feel amazing, happy and content), mirror the colours from the art in some cushions, an occasional chair or an ottoman and top it off with some greenery - achieved easily and easily changed!
Property staging hasn’t always been a commonly used ‘thing’ in Cairns when selling a home. Typically reserved for the higher end of the market and for many seen as an unnecessary real estate cost.
Big City Influence
However, as the property market heats up in our region I can see a little Sydney / Melbourne influence headed our way for homes and properties across the board - not to mention the added value that can be gained by having your home staged!
Benefits of Property Styling
So, what are the benefits of having your property professionally staged ?
With the Airbnb & Holiday Letting craze well & truly unleashed on Cairns, I thought there is no better time to shed some light on what it takes to style the perfect holiday home!
Having styled various Airbnb’s & having been an Airbnb Host myself, I have found the following to be the most effective when creating holidays vibes for others.
Style To Location
The styling of your holiday home should reflect the location & surroundings - creating an experience for your guests that is well balanced.
Keeping a common style & mix of colour and textures through out the home will ensure your guests feel relaxed and at ease each time they return. E.g. a beach side holiday home may feature light pieces of furniture & coastal neutrals like tan, pastel greens & deep blues.
A Practical Space
Ensuring your holiday home is functional is vital. From the right amount of seating to the way the furniture is placed - keep your lounge conversational, as your guests are there to spend time together, chatting and entertaining. Remember less is more - keep the spaces decluttered & choose furnishings with ‘easy cleaning’ in mind.
Let There Be Light
Good lighting is the perfect combination of natural and artificial - achieving this is everything, as lighting has the ability to effect our mood; a light, brightly lit space can enhance positivity & good thoughts - exactly what you want your guests to feel during and after their stay!
Nothing completes a space more than a touch of greenery, but if you're like me & your green thumb is well . . . Not so green. These indoor, almost indestructible beauties will serve you & your space extremely well!
Succulents : Senecio Serpens
With their almost matte look & musky shade of green ; I love the way they grow, creep & fall in low rimmed vases creating the perfect table centre or vanity feature.
Cacti : Cereus
Bring the desert vibes & a stand alone simplicity; they are the perfect natural element when you are creating layered heights on a side table.
Fig : Ficus Lyrata
Bringing the perfect balance of lush, leafy texture & so on trend right now ; a great balance to the corner of your space undercover alfresco.
By incorporating natural tones, textures & elements through furnishings & decor, you will create a unified force in your ‘living’ space! (and if you're still feeling nervous about the colour of your thumb - do as I do and purchase their replicas in rubber!)
Creating a Minimalist space in the home is ‘so on trend’ right now, the dissolved clutter, clean lines, fresh feels & reduced visual impact on our mental state BUT did you know it’s also great for reducing stress & increasing clarity in our day to day lives ?
According to research completed by ( our favourites ) IKEA ; having too much stuff is the single biggest stress in the home! With clutter & mess being the main culprits of increased tension. Ever found yourself frustrated because you can’t find that one set of thongs that work just right, among the 10,000 utensils that you don’t use ?
So, as many of us ( almost 40% of Australian Homes ) turn to paring back our possessions & embrace living with only the basics - how do we begin our journey of living more with less?
HOW TO BECOME MINIMALIST
1. Start Small : Your pantry, handbag, closet, house hold generic draw of stuff or the dreaded ‘Monica cupboard’ ( Friends pun intended ) - we all have one!
2. The 80/20 Rule : Essentially we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time, dig deep, let go & enjoy the feeling of donating your pre-loved clothes to someone who really needs them.
3. Create Momentum : The Minimalist game is not for the faint hearted & certainly builds motivation by momentum - simply purge one item on the first day of the month, two on the second, three on the third & so on until you reach 30 days. Unlucky for me our shortest month has just ended!