Lockdown Lessons: Separating work from home life… Changes are abound

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Wooo! 2020 sure was a kicker of a year, wasn’t it? 2021 seems to be shaping up a bit better, less time in lockdown so far, but we’re still not out of the woods yet.

So, what did you learn from lockdown?

I know, right! A question you’ve been asked or have asked yourself a gazillion times. Did you even learn anything? Or were you – like me – just trying to take each day as it comes and riding the wave? I know I didn’t learn anything profound or life-changing. For me, it was just an intense sequence of groundhog days. Having the kids at home ALL. THE. TIME. Two teenagers desperate to be with their mates, desperate for routine and a 3-year-old who didn’t understand fully what was going on or why he couldn’t visit his Nana (who lives next door), but oh my Heart, was he happy to have his family around him every day.

Working through Lockdown

Working during these times has been both a blessing and a curse. And I won’t lie to you, there were times I longed to be one of the employed and on furlough, just so I could catch a break and actually spend time with my family. But I was one of the lucky freelancers who not only kept their existing clients but managed to sign a couple new ones too so I was busy throughout and grateful to be so.

Of course, this has had knock-on effects. My now 4-year-old has no respect for when I’m on a client call and frequently displays his works of art to my clients. My teenagers still don’t really get that I actually ‘work’ from home and often gaze confusedly at me while at my desk and ask me what I’m doing (oh to be young again!). I also have very blurred boundaries between work and home life and will often check my emails while walking past my desk (which is in the dining room tucked under the stairs Harry Potter stylee). And I have been guilty of seeing a notification fly in and getting up from the dinner table to respond.

Needless to say, this is not the life I imagined for myself when I decided to go self-employed but those lines are so easy to blur. Especially in strenuous and unparalleled circumstances like we had last year.

So, what does all this drivel mean?

Well, it means that I’ve decided to move my office OUT of my house and into the garden. I imagine you’re sat there thinking “ooh, get her, bet she’s bought herself a lovely little summerhouse” or some such, but no, I haven’t opted for the summerhouse, they’re too ‘glassy’ for one thing and way too much of a muchness if you ask me. No, I’ve gone for your good ol’ garden shed conversion and I can’t wait to be in there.

Y’see, it turns out I did learn something in Lockdown and no, it wasn’t a different language or the meaning of life (everyone knows the answer is 42). I learned that I don’t want these blurred lines between home and work life anymore. I learned I need somewhere separate from my home to work from. I learned that trying to put in a full day’s work with 3 boys constantly vying for your attention does not lead to productivity, either as a Virtual PA or as a mother. I learned that OH MY GOD I NEED SPACE.

And I was lucky enough to have saved up enough money to do something about it. So this summer won’t be spent in a hazy blur of family and work all being meshed together or me wanting to run to the top of the nearest mountain to scream my frustrations and stress down the valley, no. My dining room/office will once again become just the dining room, and I will have a little work haven of my own, in the garden, with beautiful mountain views and most importantly – privacy and quiet in which to do my work.

Hashtag bliss!

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Don’t let the thought of me being busy with my new ShOffice (yes I really just said that) stop you getting in touch. I would still love to hear from you so why not pop me an email to see what wondrous things we can achieve together!

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