It’s nearly the end of the school year. I’m sitting at my computer which is in my living room trying to work on the 15 projects I have going at the moment. I don’t have my own home office that I can shut the door to when I’m working, because our home isn’t big enough. Working from home sucks sometimes.
Every few minutes I’m interrupted by a ringing phone, or Punky asking a question or wanting a snack. The postman knocks on the door to deliver a parcel. The neighbour’s dog barks so loudly that it breaks my concentration. The washing machine beeps to let me know it’s done and needs to be switched over. The basket of laundry is staring at me while I’m trying to work, begging to be folded before wrinkles in the fabric set and are impossible to iron out.
The notice board above my desk is mixed with work to do lists, blogging to do lists, Punky’s artwork, grocery lists, NHS appointment letters, and mock-up art for redesigning the blog.
My desk is cluttered with Punky’s drawings, random toys, and there’s usually some Lego shoved under the desk and my chair. My stapler is always empty because Punky loves to make pockets for his treasures but doesn’t tell me when it’s empty.
In theory, working from home would be a great opportunity for most 9-5 workers. The big draws of working from home are the non-existent commute, being able to work in your pajamas, and being able to spend more time with your family.
Working from home sucks without adequate support
Working from home without adequate support from your spouse during the day sucks. It’s nearly impossible to get anything done unless you schedule a specific time for each activity. Your brain is always so scattered between work duties and home duties that it’s impossible to focus on one thing. All of this distraction during my “workday” really results in poor concentration, lack of motivation (because the sofa and Netflix are constantly beckoning), and lack of communication with other adults.
Most work days I barely speak to another adult unless it’s through email, or if The Husband stands behind my chair asking what I’m working on. On the rare days I do have outside interaction, it’s almost a relief to be able to have a conversation that doesn’t revolve around Minecraft or Five Nights at Freddy’s. I’m lucky that even though The Husband works on an opposite schedule, he’s “on call” at night to handle the times when Punky has a nightmare, or needs something so I can focus on work or catch a few hours of sleep.
For me especially, scheduling my “work time” and my “home time” are especially important in the summer. Punky knows that when I need to write a post, design a graphic, or work on the store that I need to be able to concentrate. He’s at the age now where he’s quite happy to play on the xbox or even make a sandwich without much interaction from me. When he was younger it was a nightmare to try to get anything done. Now that I’ve taught him how to use the washing machine and dryer, he can switch out the laundry for me as long as the loads aren’t too heavy.
My M-F Summer Schedule looks like this:
- 8 am-9 am: Wake up, breakfast, drink a cup of coffee and watch cartoons with Punky
- 9 am – 12 pm: Home school activities with Punky
- 12 pm-12:30 pm: Lunch
- 12:30 – 4pm: Work, check emails, write blog posts, create graphics. Punky chooses a book from his summer reading list to read fully. He plays with toys, colours or draws pictures, and plays an hour of a video game while I work. He also has the option to go outside in the garden and jump on his trampoline.
- 4 pm – 5 pm: Grocery store run as needed or just a leisurely walk to get fresh air.
- 5 pm – 6 pm: Prep and cook dinner (sometimes I’ll throw something in the crockpot at 9am)
- 6 pm – 7:30 pm: Eat dinner and tidy up. Tidying up includes washing the dishes, as well as a quick tidy of the living room and hallway. Organize the shoes and coats in the hall, and gather laundry to wash the next day.
- 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm: Family movie or board game
- 9:30 -9:45 quick shower, brush teeth, and tuck in for Punky
- 9:45: clean the bathroom
- 10 pm – 2:30am: Work while spending time with The Husband when he gets home from work at 10:30 pm
- 2:30 am- 3am: bedtime for me.
Mondays and Tuesdays are a bit tricky to stick to the schedule because Punky has OT and swimming lessons to plan around. It just means our schedule has to shift a little bit.
On the weekends I tend to skip working until after Punky goes to bed. I usually end up taking him to the park or to meet up with friends. Occasionally we’ll head up to Edinburgh to spend time with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. Weekends are also for cleaning the bedrooms and upstairs hallway. This schedule works for us. I’m accessible throughout the day for Punky, and it lets me get a considerable amount of work done at night. I sacrifice sleep to make my summer schedule work, but that’s what coffee is for, right?
It is definitely a delicate balancing act to try to pull off working from home successfully. This is especially true if your spouse is on an opposite schedule to yours.
Sometimes it can be completely overwhelming to try to do both. If you set a strict schedule for yourself though, it can be done!