Working from home with kids
So your house is bustling with noise and movement and you know you have a million different things to do for work along with your 'home' jobs and activities. It can get pretty messy in your head and hard to separate the two. So how do you work from home and balance time with the kids too?
This is something we've been working on for QUITE awhile. In the past we've tried lots of different ways to make this happen. There's been times when we've just had to try to do it all, when our summers were filled shooting weddings every weekend and the kids were home full time too.. phew.. it still gives me the jitters now thinking about how we 'managed' it.. not very well I can honestly tell you.
I guess the thing to say here is it depends a little on you, and also how you like to live. If you like to keep things separate then there's a way for you and likewise, if your home life means you can't and don't want to commit to a 9-5, with a family that need you after 3pm, then there's a way for you too. When we set out with our hearts and minds fully on making our business work, we would work at ANY time of the DAY or NIGHT. Even though this feels pretty crazy now, we were both just trying to fit this around our lifestyles. James had a fulltime job and worked most evenings and weekends on his dreams for our business and I worked early mornings, in between naps, evenings and some weekends to do the same. Creating our own business felt possible even though we already had very busy lives. It was quite a tag team, but we hardly had time to think or spend quality time together.
Over time we found we were burning ourselves out.. being ALL to everyone ALL the time can leave you frazzled and unproductive and it's easy to fall into the trap of being reactive rather than proactive. In the days of answering emails at 5am in the morning, getting the kids up for school, answering more emails, editing, marketing, packaging, picking up from school, cooking dinner, homework, checking instagram and facebook were up to date and then bath and bedtime, we were exhausted. Sound familiar at all?
I'm not saying we've got it perfect by any means.. and adding an extra little one into the mix certainly challenged us to be careful with our time. We had to consciously choose tasks each and work out when we would actually be 'at work' and likewise when we would quieten our work minds down to give us time to appreciate the life we were building and growing together.
After working every hour we set up a timetable, it was fairly strict and it seemed set in stone when it was inputted into our diary. (gulp)
9-30- 10-30 am emails
10-30 - 11 am Facebook marketing or editing or culling or packaging or admin (one of those)
11 am Coffee
The coffee part still makes me laugh now! We allowed ourselves two short coffee breaks a day!
I think we lasted a few weeks with the new regime and realised we were failing triumphantly, felt guilty that we couldn't keep to it and were so unproductive. It killed our creativity too. Bad move!
James thankfully deleted the timetable (and left in the coffee breaks to make us smile)
Now we have set days we are in the office. (which is at the bottom of the garden) The set days help us to separate work from home life so we can enjoy and get stuck into both equally. We have days working seperately and two together so that we can plan for the week and also make bigger plans. It all feels pretty exciting right now.
Over the past few years we've searched for and sometimes offered help from people who cared enough to see that we had the soul behind our business but hadn't quite mastered a good working balance. We are genuinely so grateful to those people because none of us should be cramming something productive into every given second. We need time to think, to dream and to be inspired.