Working for yourself brings a host of benefits, but for me one of the biggest is freedom.
Freedom to work around my client and family needs; freedom to direct the shape of my business; freedom to choose my own development path; freedom to be myself and do the work I love.
Most of the time, this works beautifully.
But Half term school holidays always seem to present a challenge.
It’s the last working day of the holidays today. I’m ready for a break. Or perhaps I’m just ready to have more structure again. You see the freedom is great, but unless I have a clear plan, I feel I haven’t achieved as much as I think I should.
I take one of three approaches to the short school holidays. We either go away on holiday, have a week planned with play dates and activities, with work topping and tailing the day, or we chill, stay local and re-energize with work fitting into spare hours or sometimes leaking into the day.
This half term was the latter and for me the most challenging approach to navigate. I was busy in the build up to half term, we were all a bit tired and needed to relax. I didn’t even have time to plan activities for the kids, we all just kind of collapsed into it. I scaled back my work but still had a little to be done and with the kids home I’ve had to relax into the feeling of no clear schedule, seizing the sunshine when it comes and putting a film on when it rains. That’s the problem for me, relaxing into the idea of having no schedule, being at home, where I also do most of my work… and recognising that we’ve got a lot done, for both work and play. It feels a little like I’m half off, half on and not being particularly successful at either.
But, we’ve had fun, and been to some lovely places close to home
And, looking back at my action list and hours worked, I’ve tucked away quite a bit of work too.
So yes, there’s always more I could do, but sometimes, it’s just good to take it slow, enjoy the world around us and relax (a note to me).
Lessons learned from a half-and-half Half term:
(Useful for any working parent juggling a career, home and kids).
Remember that play is as important as work
- If you can afford the time, relax into the idea of no clear plan. That really is liberating
- Switch off, Don’t be hard on yourself for taking that time out
- If you are working through it, plan your school holidays as meticulously as you do your normal working weeks
- Create yourself some deadlines. Don’t be lulled by the sense of freedom that time is endless and you’ll get everything done – we all need deadlines
- Stick to the plan
- Put your out of office on and leave the country – get some sun, relax and re-energize