I’ve just come back from my first holiday away since I set up Bill Blogs and started online copywriting in the new year, gritting my teeth against swarms of midges and cold water on beaches around the Outer Hebrides with the family – about as far away from my laptop as it’s possible to get.
I even broke my phone, sort of by accident, so I wouldn’t be tempted to keep in touch with work while I was trying to pitch tents or frying dinner by Loch Ness.
Now I’m back, I’ve also learned that email inboxes can overflow.
Getting back into the swing of work this week was all the harder because of the the three hyperactive children who are still in holiday mode and trying to make up for a fortnight of healthy outdoors and majestic views by demanding pizzas and fighting over the television zapper.
This constant distraction at home, especially during holiday times, must be a problem for everyone else who’s self-employed too? And as a copywriter, these distractions dry up my creative juices and they always seem to get worse when a deadline looms. I’m missing those school days when I’d get a golden period from 8am to 4 when the local school has the job of distracting the kids.
How do people working from home manage to keep disciplined enough to get their work done and ignore all the distractions of housework, garden, shopping and children?
After decades of being employed by someone else, being given a desk and some office space, I’m having to adapt to this new environment. I’m going to try some different techniques which I hope will allow me to work from home:
- I’m block booking my diary, splitting days up into chunks and allocating them to commissioned work, self-employed chores life book-keeping, housework and the usual admin guff. I’m even programming in a few activities with the kids, which is already motivating them to arrange their own stuff and get out of the house instead.
- I’m eyeing up the shed (or according to my wife, the summer house). If I can get away from the house I may get more work done. Even the home office upstairs isn’t far enough away from the fridge, or hoover. Then there’s the benefit of being out of wifi range, so I won’t be checking Facebook regularly either.
- I might try bribing the kids to cycle into the town every day to visit the ice cream shops.
- Alternatively, maybe I should get out more and discover my “third space”. There’s plenty of free wifi about, it just depends how corporate or hipster I feel – Café Nero or independent bookshop? Mind you, none of them has the range of real ale of the local Wetherspoons.
If I can get my work squeezed into sensible packages rather than allow it to spread out all day, then I hope I can find time to do my work, get into the garden, spend time with the kids (whether they like it or not) and achieve that work life balance which I was looking for when I started this lark.