The Work From Home Holiday Plan

bwprofA lifetime ago (just over 9 years) I held my newborn firstborn in my arms at my “back to work” interview and told my manager that I wanted to put my notice in. It wasn’t planned, or terribly well thought-out however it just felt right. I left the interview feeling lighter than I had for weeks and went to see Roy at his work to tell him what had happened. He was overjoyed as he loved the idea of me being at home with K however hadn’t said as much because he knew how important my career was to me and didn’t want to colour my decision.

Fast forward to 2016 and I’ve been self employed pretty much since, full-time for the past 6+ years as a freelance copywriter.

I love my work, I really do but above all I appreciate the flexibility being my own boss offers me as a Mum. It’s this flexibility that I’m writing about today, and how it enables me to continue working while being on hand for the boys and enjoying days out and more.

This long Easter/end of term break (18 days door to door)  has been my testing ground to see whether or not I’ll be able to continue working over the long summer holiday without using childcare, which I always have in the past, even if only for a few days a week. Kieran is nearly ten so doesn’t need to be in childcare (and has outgrown the local holiday play scheme) and Taylor would prefer to be at home at the same time.

It has been a juggle however I’m pretty sure I’ve got my holiday working routine down to a fine art, from how to manage a working day and be “Mum”, to fitting in important appointments such as finding and booking in with a local orthodontist (see here), the optician and of course the back to school hair cuts as well as swimming, days out and everything else while still clocking enough client hours.

The Work From Home Holiday Plan

The Night Before (usually 7pm after the boys have gone up / to bed)
Check my emails and update my bullet journal with everything I need to do the following day.
Make any packed lunches, sort out any clothes and do any chores that I would usually leave until the morning.
Enjoy a leisurely evening (unless of course I have time scheduled in to finish work, however if I do I limit this to 1hr max) as I need my “me” time and my time with Roy.

First Thing
First thing during the holidays really is first thing. I’m up, have coffee and am at the PC for 4am. This is not something that works for everyone but I am much better in the morning than I am in the evening and enjoy the quiet, uninterrupted time.

From 4am-8am I write, and I do mean write. I don’t write social media posts. I don’t email people. I write. These four hours are the only guaranteed quiet hours I have during the holidays. It doesn’t sound like much but a minimum of four hours five days a week is a minimum of twenty hardcore writing time hours. It’s amazing how much you can get done under these early morning working conditions!

From 8am-7pm
I am Mum now. I play, I referee, we go out for day trips, walks, to the park, we bake, draw and generally have fun. Being one of those mean mothers I limit digital time and scheduling what they do have is working to my advantage. If we are in the house in the afternoon I let the boys have an hour of digital time. This is quiet time. This is when I send more emails, check messages, make notes, sort my social media accounts out and what not.

7pm
If we are out all day and so the boys don’t have their digital time and I don’t get that extra hour I tend to take this now (7pm-8pm), prep for the next day and I’m done. Again, it is rare that I work during the evening as by this point my brain isn’t in writing mode and besides, a little self care is required after a 4am start.

That’s it. This is my “working really well and being pretty flexible” holiday working routine. Could I work like this full time? No, although elements of it are incorporated in my usual working pattern, such as prepping the night before.

Is it Working?

So far, so good! This works for us and so will be what we do for the rest of the hols and over the summer.

If you work from home over the holidays how do you manage the juggle? I’d love to hear!

This Freelancer’s Summer of Self-Love

10641170_10153752613503998_1845882339386824885_n

I love this time of year as I have both boys boys at home (when they haven’t abandoned me in favour of the local holiday playscheme and all that they offer!). We have breakfasts in bed (mine usually), run down hills screaming, walk, paint, play and simply enjoy quality time together.

The flipside of this glorious coin is the fact that I am a full-time freelance copywriter with a number of regular clients as well as ad-hoc projects ongoing and needing my attention. With only twenty-four hours in a day shoe-horning everything in (otherwise known as the school holiday juggle) may be tough however I’ve always relished the challenge and haven’t dropped a child, a client or anything else yet.

This post isn’t so much about the juggle though, it’s about adding something else to my already busy week and making sure it gets done. This is my self-love time. Working for myself I don’t have sick days, don’t have properly defined (and never company paid) holidays and have a tendancy during the busiest periods to go a bit mad and over-work myself. As I refuse to give any less that 100% all aross the board real burn-out is a real thing and I’ve got very close to the flame a few times.

My self-love focus works two ways, firstly I make sure that there is time in the week just for me, to read, to take an extra long shower, to blast music for ten minutes and dance, to go for a walk (on my own); whatever I want or need to do which enables me to kick back and enjoy myself. The second part of my self-love summer pledge is to take better care of myself. I’m organising my time better and taking proper breaks.

I’m taking half an hour to eat lunch in the garden or at the dining table rather than throwing something down my neck at the desk, I’m getting up at 4am to take advantage of the quiet work time but I’m making sure I have a decent bedtime with fresh bedding and comfy pjs. I’ve made a hydration pledge (this makes me feel better and is important for my health) and overall I’m simply ensuring that I take more care of myself.

I’m important, I matter and I can’t afford to get lost underneath paperwork, deadlines and the sometime downright nuts schedules that parents try to squeeze themselves into.

And you know what? I’m feeling fantastic. I’m much more relaxed, more productive, unrushed and am thoroughly enjoying my summer. Self love summer looks set to become less seasonal and more of a conscious and ongoing intention to ensure that I look after myself.

What’s even better is that me taking more me time is something that my family completely support and have been pushing for (for some time!).

Do you make sure you take time out to look after you? You should!

All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove