So it is half term and I am hiding in my office. One of my children has scarpered to a friend’s house. The other is silently arranging his dragon collection. I’ve got them well trained. If you’re a parent who works from home, and those pesky schools insist on closing from time to time, how do you combine the two? This is what I find helps:
- Limiting the work you take on
I will do some writing work this week, but I don’t schedule coaching calls when the children are about. You need 100% concentration for coaching, and that’s hard to give when somewhere, off in the distance, a child is calling you to come and show them how to do the Time Warp.
- Accept that you will get less done
It would be daft (not to say unfair on everyone involved) to assume that it will be business as usual during the school holidays. Keep your goals modest and hopefully your stress levels will do likewise.
- Do at least a little marketing
The search for new work never really stops. I am aiming to get out an issue of my newsletter this week, and will also drop in and out of Twitter. Often it’s when you’re not looking for new opportunities that they drop into your lap; so weirdly, weeks like this can often be when you’re at your most attractive (work wise, that is). Plus a bit of low level marketing will help you feel like you’ve not let things drop entirely.
- Find a job the whole family can do
Admittedly this is easier if, like me, you are a parenting journalist, and more challenging if you are a welder or brain surgeon. On Wednesday we’re off to a Cupcake Masterclass, and I’ll be filming and writing about the event. I’ve sold it to the Juniors as a fun day out at Fortnum & Mason, when really they are acting as my unpaid interns. So essentially I am lying to, and exploiting, my children, which I think is good preparation for their adult lives. And since there’s cake involved, they won’t be too fussed.
- Take a break yourself
Your average freelancer can be the worst sort of employer, demanding weekend working and no real breaks away from the screen. Take some time off and blame the kids. Plus when you do get back to work, it will seem a lot easier than entertaining bored offspring ever was.
pic: Flickr, db photographs