One of the biggest challenges I have always faced is in balancing time at work with time off. The massive benefits of working for yourself and working from home are that you can schedule your work to times that suit you best and that has been perfect for me since having the baby as it means I can work during nap times or when Paolo goes to bed for the night. It also means that Giulio and I can split our time in the best way that suits us both. It sounds like the perfect work life balance and in many ways it is except when it comes to actually having some time off.
My day regularly starts at 5.30am and from that moment I am either working or with Paolo right up until 10/10.30pm when I go to bed. Being with Paolo is fantastic and I would not change this for the world, but the hard part is that every other minute is taken up with work and there really is no down time at all. I have about 10 box sets that I keep saying I am going to watch but there is not a minute to relax in front of the tv. I started reading my Kindle again in bed just for 10-15 minutes to help me unwind before bed, as I was finding it too hard to switch off and go to sleep straight after doing work. For many reasons I knew this had to change, mainly because I was becoming exhausted and also because I am acutely aware that Love Island is back on tv.
Up until this point Giulio, who fortunately has the same work ethic as me and understands what we are trying to achieve, and I had a rule that we would not do any work on a Sunday. This would be family time only and a much needed rest day in the week. However, even with this day off we felt we still needed a little more down time during the week. This is when we decided to look at our schedules and split our time differently. We now work for longer blocks of time in the day, but also have longer time off. We were trying to switch roles too often and were subsequently not being productive enough in that time. We are also trying not to pack too much into the day so that, although we may need to finish off some work in the evening for an hour or so, we are not starting a whole new task that will take the entire evening.
We only did this last week and the difference was incredible. We both worked harder, were more focused and far more efficient. I do think working incredibly long hours every day can start to become counterproductive. We were both so tired every day and really had to work hard to stay motivated. Knowing that your day extends so much at either end can also feel a little disheartening so you try to grab a few minutes off here and there whenever you can and, in the exact same way as picking at snacks all day adds up to a lot of excess calories, wasting 10 minutes at a time can really effect productivity. Now, the idea of having the evening off is the ultimate motivation. Work time is planned, focused and efficient, trying to squeeze as much as we possibly can out of the time we have.
It is a strange idea that you can work less hours, yet actually get far more done, yet that is definitely what happened last week. We are right at the beginning of this new process and whilst juggling is always going to part of it, I also think it is important to make changes to the schedule as and when it is needed. We were working a certain way for a few weeks and realised that this was just not going to be efficient long term so we made some changes. These are all techniques that I use when making up my diet or training programme. Start with planning, implement the changes, assess progress and make amendments as you go along. This process can be applied to any area of your life and is the most effective way to make changes or make room for the important things in your life. There is never only one way to succeed, you just have to find the way that work best for you.
Most importantly of all I have realised that if there is something that I really want to achieve, no matter how difficult it is, giving up is never an option I just have to find another way to get there.
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