with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
I’ll be the first to admit that even after years of freelancing, my desk is hardly the bastion of organization I’d like it to be. In fact, there are plenty of times when I’ve hidden from my desk rather than clean it up. But the fact remains that here in my office is where I run my business, and it’s been about a year since I wrote about office essentials, so I thought I’d revisit the topic.
Here we are, a year later. What’s makes my “wouldn’t work without it” roster for the past year? I’m so glad you asked, because I’m going to tell you. Quite possibly in excruciating detail, even.
NeatReceipts Scanner (for the Mac, of course): My husband bought me this little baby for Christmas, and I was all, “Oh, honey… you… shouldn’t have…?” I didn’t really understand what it was or why I would want it. But now I know that it’s a magic box for freelancers! Instead of entering business expenses into Quicken and then stuffing the paper receipt into a file folder (where I may or may not be able to find it if I need to look it up later, for some reason), I just scan any receipt and click a couple of things and I’m done. It’s all organized. Much more organized than I am, on my own, in fact. Who knew a hunk of plastic that looks so much like a FoodSaver would be such a sanity saver? (Well, okay; apparently my husband knew.)
My Senseo single-cup coffeemaker: In the interest of full disclosure, this is where I confess that I got mine on an incredible deal; I don’t know if I would pay $100+ for one of these, honestly. But—that said—I had no idea when I purchased mine how great it would turn out to be for working at home. I mostly drink tea, but occasionally I want a cup of coffee. (Read: Sometimes my lack of a good night’s sleep really sneaks up and bites me.) I don’t want to have to muck around with my conventional 12-cup coffeemaker (finding the filters, grinding the beans) in the middle of my work day, especially when I’m the only one drinking coffee and I want to keep my intake fairly limited. It used to be that I’d make the smallest possible amount in my regular coffeemaker (about two cups) and then end up drinking it all, because I didn’t want to waste it. Now I can have one cup of coffee and only one cup. And it’s fast, easy, tastes good, and lets me get on with my day.
Anything at Office Depot that I can order online: Hey, I’m trying to make the effort to shop local and shop the “little guys” as much as I can, in my personal life. But in my professional life? Sometimes I need a big honking box of envelopes or a case of packing tape or some more copy paper, and I need it yesterday. I love that I can shop Office Depot online, they always have coupons available, and whatever I order (provided I hit the $50 mark or above, which isn’t hard) is at my door the very next day. That’s an incredible boon for those of us short on both money and time.
Twitter: I can’t believe I’m saying this… but… I’ve come to really love Twitter. I know it can be a time-suck and a time-waster, but I also know that for those of us in an isolated home office, it’s a little bit of water-cooler chatter. Most days I keep my Twitter client open but don’t actually say much, myself… but if there’s big breaking news, it generally makes its way into my vision. If I need a break just to remember there are other people out there (heh), well, there it is. It’s like having officemates, without ever finding that someone took the last cookie and didn’t clean up.
If you’re a work-at-home type, what are you digging in your office, these days?
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