I did not see Covid-19 coming. Even in the early days, with the first reports, I couldn’t imagine life being quite like it is now. Writing this we are entering our third week of lockdown. As a mother and a freelance Copywriter, I’ve had to embrace adapting to a changing world in order to look after my family, to run my business and look after myself.
Adapting To A Changing World on a Personal Level
For me, adapting to the changes affected largely by being in lockdown has been more of a personal challenge than a professional one. For many introverts like me, in some ways lockdown has been easier to adapt to than it has for others. This doesn’t mean that I’m not anxious about the present as well as the future and I am unashamed to admit that I have a cry every time I hang up the phone after speaking to my family.
The logistics of how I work have changed significantly though. I’ve been freelance and working from home for nearly fourteen years. Desk-hopping between the lounge, the office and the kitchen is normal. What is not usual for me is having a houseful of people when trying to work. Suddenly I went from coworking with other freelancers and posting pictures of business-friendly venues and coffees to home educating two children from different schools while working full-time and being confined to the house.
My children’s world has turned upside-down too. They’ve adapted well, better than most adults, but they still need extra support and reassurance. With these new times come new responsibilities so I’ve been Mum, I’ve been Teacher and I’ve been a Freelance Copywriter with deadlines, all at the same time. I won’t lie to you, I’ve had to adapt, and quickly.
Adapting The Work Day Structure
I stopped looking at the day as a 9-5 entity. I’ve prioritised. I worked out that my 4am starts (I’m an early bird) allow me to get uninterrupted work completed before people started to rise. I soon realised that the boys could get all of their academic learning completed in the morning if we worked hard on it. This gives them the freedom in the afternoon to create art, garden, play outside, do puzzles or whatever activities or free time I see fit. This works for them and it works for me. I can’t write while teaching (I have a renewed respected for teachers who hear, “Miss, Miss, Sir, Sir, Sir” constantly).
I use the mornings to achieve quick tasks, for example, I write emails, complete marketing tasks, research and mock-up articles. These are types of work that can be picked up and put down with relative ease. I’m there primarily to help the boys with school work and so on but can still use the time productively when they are engaged with what they are doing. The afternoons, as well as the 4am – 7am hours are when I do my solid writing work. This just works. It might seem disjointed to some but it’s the best way for me to run my business while looking after my children and giving them everything that they need. It’s been about shifting perspectives and finding ways to make things work.
What I Refuse To Change
The current situation has meant much change, personally and professionally. For me, there is a line. I am not working evenings and I am not working weekends. Maintaining a proper work-life balance has always been important to me and now is not the time to let that slip. The laptop is closed from 5pm onwards and I shut down properly over the weekend. I’ve not accessed work emails on my mobile either. The school holiday/work from home juggle is never easy. I am now home educating as well as working but realise that now is not the time to start burning the candle at both ends. I treasure my family time, my date nights or afternoons with the husband (even in lockdown) and time for me. Covid is taking enough, it’s not taking my family time.
Adapting To A Changing World: Moving Forward
I’m not really looking to the future. I’m taking things day by day and week by week. I suspect that there will be more adaptations needed both personally and professionally in the future. For now, I’ve decided to simply not sweat the small stuff or to fret about what I can’t change. The way that I run my business and the services that I offer as a Copywriter haven’t changed so fundamentally my work is the same. How I get through that work is what has changed. I’m simply doing my best to adapt to and accept this new normal. Above all, we have found a balance that works for us all.
What has changed for you? How does your workday look like compared to this time last month or last year?