Working from home is awesome.
You can hop out of bed (or not!) and be at work in seconds. No long commute for you!
You’re close to your kettle, your fridge, your TV, your bed, your couch, possibly your significant other and children, your pets…
In short, you’re close to all the things that make life relaxing and sweet, but that can also distract the heck out of you!
Those of you who have a ‘regular’ job (or those of us who remember what it’s like) will know that having a J-O-B brings with it a certain routine. You have to get up at the same time, get showered/dressed/fed. You have an external force that drives the shape of your day.
There’s a certain rigidity to this, sure – but there’s also a certain sense of peace that comes with routine. You don’t have to make the decision to get up, dressed, and out the door anew each day – it’s just something you do. A habit.
For those of us who work at home (and especially those of us without kids to organise), it can be a real struggle to create this same sense of routine in our lives.
Part of the joy of working from home is that we don’t have to adhere to routine. We have a sweet, endless sense of flexibility to our day. If we want to brush off work and go for a bike ride, we can. If we want to sleep in, we can. If we want to have an impromptu 3-hour lunch with a friend, there’s nothing stopping us.
However, within this flexibility lurks the danger of laziness. No one but us is making us work/get up/exercise/answer those emails.
Spending every day in this flexible state can end up resulting in feelings of stress and overwhelm, where we just jump from one task to the other without any sense of calming daily structure.
I know I’ve struggled with this a lot in my own life; when I don’t impose some sort of routine on myself, it all just turns into a bit of a hot mess.
I asked my fellow creatives how they cope with this – to share one core routine or ‘keystone moment’ in their day that helps them to stay focussed and feel in control.
The existence of this constant balancing act between flexibility and routine came out loud and clear in their responses.
Ensuring I have a lunch break is really important. Also acknowledging that sometimes I can be flexible and work in the evening rather than only 9am-5pm ~ Cate Lawrence
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Dedicating/ scheduling a day for certain activities such as bookkeeping activities. That way there is more or less a dead line to be met to have all information to be gathered by and provides a routine. ~ Megan Beverley
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I generally write off my mornings! I’m a night owl and am not very effective in the morning, so instead of trying to fight it I see that time as being for catching up on the news, socialising online and having a good, leisurely breakfast. At lunch time-ish is when I get started with work and I generally do some sort of work until bed time. ~ Simone Walsh
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I found getting up in the morning, eating a good breakfast and having a shower as if I was going to work helps. ~ Elle Roberts
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I start with a morning walk with my dogs and a friend and we chat about our day to come, then breakfast and all the ‘get ready for the day’ stuff then go to the studio. I have different admin tasks each morning, I love creating my daily ‘to do’ list. Afternoon is for making and creating. I always have a lunch break and plan meetings at the local cafe so I can see people and not go stir crazy. ~ Lorna McKenzie
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I work on the 45/15 rule: Each hour I’ll do 45mins focused work, 15mins check emails, twitter, or put a load of washing on, etc. I tried to be a good little worker but can’t focus for 8 hours straight so this works a treat for me. ~ Poppy & Bliss
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Flexibility is the key, if I’m not in the right headspace for book work, then I’ll sew or do some social networking. I would probably put at least 8-10 hours into my business 5 days a week, often more. That’s with 4 children, it’s amazing what you can achieve if you’re passionate about what you’re doing. ~ Middlemost Clothing
Everyone seems to have a slightly different mix of routine and flexibility. Some work on an hourly basis, some daily or even longer.
I think the key is finding your own balance.
Find the point where you feel calm and in control of your work/life while still feeling the freedom that working from home can bring.
So, if you work from home – how do you walk the tightrope between flexibility and balance in your life?