Working and Living At Home

Working and Living At Home

When we work from home it can seem that we never get the opportunity to truly switch off from work mode. Working and living at home means that, for many, there’s no escape. This is especially true right now. But there are little things that we can all do to learn how to relax especially if working from home is something we will be doing for the foreseeable future. But what can we all take advantage of in terms of our home environments but also in terms of our attitudes?

Working and Living At Home: Decorate Your Working Environment Differently

You might be one of those people that feels work has to be formal and with no frills. If this helps get you into work mode, do it! It also helps you to make it a contrast to the rest of your home. When you finish your working day you want to be able to come back into the main areas of your home feeling it’s something completely different.

Upgrading your house to incorporate brilliant bedroom design trends as well as a refreshed living room can easily bring that contrast. One of the most important things we have to remember is how to switch off at the end of the working day. If you have an office you can easily shut the door on this space. But many people don’t have that luxury. By using a corner of a specific room to be work-oriented that you can cover up at the end of the day will start to help you differentiate between work life and home life.

Starting To Digitally Disconnect

Because we are all online all day we may feel constantly in work mode even when we are not. Taking the opportunity to disconnect at the end of the working day, including putting your phone away, means that you have that opportunity to decompress. It becomes a knee-jerk reaction that we look at our phone. When we are in work mode and we are sat at our desk staring at a computer screen, we’ve got to incorporate downtime away from all screens. 

Working and Living At Home: Disconnecting Your Stress

When we work at home but also live there, our brains begin to lump everything in together. This is why you’ve got to separate everything as much as possible. But for so many of us, it’s not so easy. Learning to incorporate practical routines into your life to keep you calm will help but also making sure that you tackle the root causes of your anxieties. You may feel that you have a particularly stressful day at work but when you switch off the computer you cannot escape from it. One of the newer techniques in terms of disconnecting your stress is the Havening technique. This helps your brain to remove the anxieties associated with a particular thought or feeling. And the more you practice this technique the less stressed you will feel about work issues giving you the opportunity to switch off properly at the end of the day and enjoy the simple things in life.

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.

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!