I’m new at this, some help please!

If you work from home, how do you do it? Get the balance between home and work I mean?

For the length of my ride this morning this question was foremost in my thoughts. I dress properly in the morning, as if I am heading to the office. Yet somewhere early in the day, especially so if there is no reason to leave the house, my eye gets distracted by the house and so I think, 15 minutes won’t hurt. Or the blog takes longer to write than I’ve allowed on the clock. Then the research material doesn’t fit together or a crucial part is missing. Let’s not even mention email.

Now that the young man of the house is on summer holiday there is an additional distraction.

Presently my set up is:

Shared desk space with my partner (in life, not business!), shared printer, own computer. Paper in boxes, paper in folders, paper in plastics bags, paper in paper bags: by paper I mean printed stuff, including yet not limited to magazines, letters, brochures, trade info, ideas, reminders, application forms etc.

Should I think about renting an office space? There are plenty of office suites around the city, with rents charged according to size and location. Financially, this was a step that I was anticipating 18 months – 2 years down the track. If I’m not getting anything done at home, it could well be better in the long-term.

Space wise we do not have the luxury of a dedicated office. Our current office takes up one corner in our open living / dining room. A desk in the bedroom is out of the question from a space point of view, and also for my own piece of mind. Now if I wake at three in the morning, I’m not disturbing anyone if I sit at the desk for an hour or so.

There is one other alternative: I could buy dedicated ‘Heather only’ filing cabinet. My ‘favourite’ furniture store has quite a nice unit called Alex, 9 drawers and stands a little over one metre high. Times 2 would be 18 different lockers that would more than cater for my needs at the present. Although space is at a premium, and I’m reluctant to bring more furniture into the house, the paper situation is driving me crazy.

Now that I’ve thought out loud for a little while, I’d like to know what you think about my situation and if you work from home, how do you do it? All comments and ideas eagerly anticipated. If you know of someone who works from home and has a good set up, please pass this on and ask them to comment. Even if you enjoy the luxury (IMO!) of a separate room to work from, I still want to hear how you cope with putting on the ‘office’ hat as opposed to the ‘home’ hat.

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My next survey

I had such a great response to the last survey that I thought I would do another one! I will get the survey results from survey # one analysed in the next few day. I will say there were some great responses and plenty of good comments.

Without further ado, here is survey # 2: the topic of the day is Public Transport. The good news is that I have learnt from my previous mistakes and the survey has no tricky questions or problems with yes / no answers.

Of course, if you find any problems please point them out. It’s all a learning curve!

Edited to add: feel free to pass on to your friends ūüôā

Research, research and still more research (or you never stop learning!)

This week has been most interesting from a research point of view. I found out that the people staffing the office in charge of distributing start-up funding are not nearly as scary as imagined. In fact, quite the opposite. Monday morning saw me sitting in the office of one counsellor who jumped out of her seat three times to confer with her colleague down the hall. Then she swiveled her chair and collected more information from the filing cabinets behind her. She was more than forthcoming about my need to gather papers from my old college (on its way) as well as the taxman (ordered online at 2143, delivery anticipated today or Monday). A nice packet of papers is being built-in preparation for lodgement.

My online endeavours didn’t go so well.¬†That’s not exactly true. I managed to create a short and simple survey. Said survey however suffered¬†from being the free version¬†and thus I wasn’t able to ‘pipe’* the questions accordingly. As I’m not in a financially viable position to upgrade at this point in time, it just means that my next survey needs to be clever. Or I stay away from asking why on yes or no questions!

The best part of this week was hanging out at the Cruise Terminal chatting to the passengers returning to their ships. Earlier I’d been asking my questions early in the morning as people were heading out. Very different responses from the two groups. Those that have had a chance to see Helsinki were much more forthcoming in their opinions than those who were just heading out. I’m going to keep up the research, although the focus will change week on week. Next week I’m going to start asking about public transport (which I must say is VERY good in Helsinki!). Today I’ve ordered some almost free business cards and will be handing them out at the harbour. They will promote¬†the blog, Foursquare¬†¬© and Twitter ¬©, so hopefully I can generate¬†traffic from¬†Helsinki visitors and get some dialogue happening, all the while building the brand!

This morning my mentor and I chatted for an hour and have worked out our next step in the plan of attack. He was disappointed to hear that a couple of my contact attempts had gone unanswered. I’m going to try again via the telephone and see if that gets any response. I have twelve days to tie everything together to a final package. This has gone much slower than I anticipated, although these last two weeks of market research have been invaluable. The product is taking shape!

Yesterday I took the number 16 bus from Herttoniemi, through the city to Hernesaari where the Cruise Terminal is located. I arrived at the bus stop and it appeared that one bus had not arrived as there were a great many disgruntled faces to be seen. I overheard one couple were being advised that they could take a taxi and¬†guessed they were heading for the terminal also. Just to be sure I asked where they headed? ‘Back to the boat, love’ in lovely Australian accents came the answer. ‘So am I!, we can catch the bus together – I’m sure it will be here soon’. Sure enough the bus arrived and we all piled on. P and M sat at the front and I moved to the rear of the bus.

Then, as we were driving through Kulosaari (the next island and suburb along) past the Chinese, Indian and Iraqian embassies I thought to myself that I was wasting an ideal opportunity – at the next stop I moved to the front of the bus and asked if I could sit with them and they could ask any question about Helsinki as we went along. So, my plan to describe the trip for my next Heather’s Helsinki post went down the drain, however we go to talk all about their trip and why they had done somethings and not others. Invaluable. Oh, and we did talk a little about the passing scenery …

If you answered my survey this week: A VERY BIG THANKYOU. I’ll get the responses tabulated and post them in the coming weeks.

* Piping refers to yes / no questions and being directed to the appropriate subset of questions.