There’s a lot of buzz around co-working facilities when it comes to small business and start-ups.

There is no doubt they create a creative space for start-ups to have a “proper office” to go to, collaboration with other business owners and meeting space, all for the fraction of the price (and commitment) of setting up your own bricks and mortar office space.

I’ve had the privilege of using some world class co-working facilities and they definitely revved up my bright and shiny object syndrome and my inner social butterfly.

Some co-working centres are like mini resorts with games rooms, on site barbers and medical facilities.  They have community gatherings, business directories and Friday night drinks.

But here’s why they don’t work for ME;

I’m a natural networker and I love meeting new people

You’d think those traits would be perfect for those spaces, and while it has its advantages, I need to be very careful of my boundaries.

I’m generally an extrovert. I get a buzz out of meeting new people.  I could spend hours by the water cooler finding out what everyone else does, connecting them to people who can help them and generally solving the problems of the world.

As I’ve got older though I’ve become more of an ambivert.  I need to hang around “the right people” to be energised rather than drained.

 

I love helping people

In all my corporate roles, I’ve always been “that person” who people would go to when they couldn’t find something, someone or somehow.  I was like the office FAQ page.

Whether it how to replace the toner in the photocopier, how to do a mail merge, who to call to replace items in the first aid kit and how to direct visitors to the site, even when it wasn’t my job, I was the one my colleagues would go to.

Two weeks before I left my role at BHP, I was telling my desk neighbour how I was looking forward to being responsible for only myself and before I could turn back to my monitor, someone from the same department, but a completely different team who worked at the other end of the building, had walked up to my desk to ask me if I knew where the batteries for the presenter remotes were stored.  They had walked past two department administrators, whose job it was to know where the batteries are stored, to get to me.

Of course, I did know where the batteries were (I happened to have some in my desk), but the trouble with being “that person” is so often I’d find myself helping others with their work so much, I ran out of time to do my own.

 

I love working from home (even though I don’t have a permanent one of my own)

Some people like the clear definition of home and office. I remember hearing a story of a gentleman who used to get fully dressed in a suit and tie, grab his briefcase and do a lap around the block before entering his home office, to draw a line in the sand of his workday.

I love the blend.

I love being able to put the clothes on to wash when I wake up, hang them out on a morning tea break (especially if there’s a sunny clothesline to hang them on) and then bring them in before the sun goes down and everything gets damp again.

I love being able to make my lunch fresh everyday and not have to think too far in advance. I can make a tank of fuel last for weeks because my trusty Corolla does a couple of trips a fortnight to Pilates, the shops and networking events (I’m starting to sound less of a social butterfly).

I love being able to work with my body clock (which is not Swiss given its changeable nature).

If I wake up early raring to go, I can get straight into my day and take a break when the two-thirty-itis kicks in and then power on through when my second and sometimes third winds come later in the day.

 

I love avoiding traffic (and I don’t just mean cars)

When you’re working the exact same hours as everybody else and going to the exact same place as everybody else, then traffic is one of the trade offs.  While sitting in my car for hours gives me a great excuse to see what’s happening in the lives of Jamie and Claire Fraser on my audio book, I loathe crawling along in traffic.

But traffic comes in many forms, not only are the “commuters” fighting the car traffic, they’re fighting the lunch traffic, the queue to get into the doctors and the supermarket.

Being able to pop to the supermarket at one on the afternoon, means I miss the queues and am still being productive when my mind usually isn’t.

 

But as much as I love working from home, not everything works in my favour.

As an extrovert, my energy builds as I interact with other human beings.

When I first started my business, I spent so much time attending networking events trying to get the energy charge I couldn’t get at home, there wasn’t enough time left for me to do the work. Then when I went back into full time business, I found, as the day and week went on, I was like the other bunny in the Energiser ads and (as my Mum would say) I ran out of puff and motivation very early in the day.

After discovering the joys of Virtual Co-working from the amazing Jo Bendle, I found a couple of co-working buddies I worked well with.

We use Zoom video conferencing software and have a little chat from the comfort of our own desks, in whatever we’re comfortable in (yes some of us have turned up in pyjamas).

Then I stumbled across Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies.  Gretchen’s hypothesises that we all fit into one or two of her tendencies.

 

I’m an Obliger with rebel tendencies which means I need external accountability to keep me on track.

Here’s what Gretchen says about Obligers:

“the defining fact about Obligers is that they readily meet outer expectations, but they struggle to meet inner expectation. For instance, they wouldn’t miss a work deadline, but they’d find it hard to find time to exercise on their own.”

And what someone in her community came up with to combat it:

“I wanted to get up earlier, but I live alone. So I created an embarrassing Facebook post, and used Hootsuite to set it to post every morning at 8:00 a.m., unless I get up ahead of time to disable it.”

Take the quiz yourself.

 

I needed to find a way to bring accountability to my work/ home blend.

I decided to build a structure around my business to enable my tendencies instead of disabling them.

After working with Jo Bendle Productivity coach, I started the Virtual Co-working Club and invited some of the other amazing women in my Australian business community who all work from home to join in.

Our members are all over Australia from Port Hedland, Northam and Beverly in rural Western Australia, Wagga Wagga in central New South Wales, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne.

I decided to build a structure around my business to enable my tendencies instead of disabling them.

We meet 3 times per week for monotasking sessions (aka the Pomodoro method).

At each session, we;

  • Have a little chat (to get that “I’m all alone in this business” feeling out the way)
  • Catch up on what we’re focussing on during the session and then
  • We turn our microphones and videos off and focus on getting one task done for 40 minutes.

It has been a game changer in my business.

Requiring me to be at my desk at certain times, giving me the chance to talk to other business owners without travel time or even having to get dressed up and building an amazing community of people who understand me and my business.

If you’re a woman in business working from home and struggling to focus on all those projects you’ve set yourself.  Why not book a chat with me and I can tell you more about the Virtual Co-Working Club?

Cheers,

Lynette embodies an intrinsic ability to save business owners money by delivering back the all-elusive “spare” time so they can use it to do what they love. She puts these principles into practice in her own business – Kits and Bits. Lynette is an avid genealogist and tango dancer.

Lynette Delane

Tech Translator, Kits and Bits

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