Tag Archives: work life balance

Back to School

cardiff-bayCandice:  I’m typing this from an apartment in Cardiff where we have come for a last-minute break before the return to school next week.

I can’t believe it is a whole year since someone started school and what a rollercoaster that has been.  One of the biggest rollercoasters has been trying to work out how to wrangle the new way of life:  Work, childcare and school holidays.

Though my daughter has been in childcare since she was quite young that was different, it was 51 weeks of the year and the hours never changed.  Once she started school things got very different as we had to make sure she had a place in breakfast and after school club, whose opening and closing times were different to what we were used to. There were also after school clubs that she might like to attend, which meant more jiggery-pokery.

I also changed jobs, and went from being employed somewhere with flexible working (i.e. working from home when I wanted) to being at home for a bit, to being somewhere where I had to be in the office set times all the time.  That little voice saying “Why can’t you pick me up earlier?”  really hurt sometimes.

And then finally the saga of school holidays.  Planning if we were going to be away or not, if we weren’t then booking in some time at the school holiday club which had to be done as soon as you got back from the last holiday as it would fill up quickly.  And then the six week holiday…. there were many hours spent with a chart working out who would cover when, if she was going into paid holiday club, where she would go when that wasn’t open, and all the time trying to work out if we could spend some quality time together too.

Somewhere in all of this, I was trying to find some time to write. To be honest I failed miserably.  When I wasn’t working the first time I was too busy trying to get a job that I couldn’t focus on anything else.  Now I am between contracts again but I have a slightly different view and am finally having the time to write.  I’ve taken to going to the library and working there for a few hours to help me concentrate, and its working.  In the last week, I’ve done 4000 words.  So, until something else comes along I will do that as my new ‘job’ and also plan how next time I work I’m going to get the work/life/child balance better.

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Filed under Candice, Writing

Bookmark’s progress

booksandmarkPhil: Tuesday’s post wasn’t the one we’d discussed over curly fries the day before but a combination of technical problems and a poorly puss-cat conspired against my friend. As is often the case though, the results made more of an impact, on me at least, than the original plan.

By the time I came to read the post, I’d been on the road for 4 and a half hours sandwiched around a day full of meetings. I was knackered. However, my friends words pushed me into reading a couple of chapters from the book I’ve got on the go and I felt much better for it.

At the moment, I’m in the happy position, for a self-employed person, that there is more work than I can shake a stick at. While my work is enjoyable, work/life balance is a bit off whack. No trips to Italy for me for a couple of months. At the moment, a trip to the Post Office is the highlight of the week!

Anyway, it hasn’t stopped me reading. Dipping into a book for half an hour takes my mind off the pile of projects that consume my waking hours. Unlike watching TV, I can immerse myself in another world. Watching the box tends to be a passive activity involving sitting in front of flickering light as stuff plays out in front of you. Aside from the fact there isn’t much on that I would like to watch, I can do it and think about other things. It’s not really a break.

Reading, like juggling, meditating and apparently even going for a run, clears the mind. The activity takes you out of yourself and forces a conscious break in your thoughts. My brain might be wiring away in the background but the bit I live in is consumed with the story.

That break is good but I find a side benefit from the progress my bookmark makes through the volume. It’s one project that I know will advance reliably as long as I keep reading. I get a sense of satisfaction just seeing how far I’ve read. Not a great achievement perhaps but I like it. Approaching the back of a fat book is especially satisfying as I feel I’ve put the work in and will soon have the sense of achievement that I’ve finished the story. Sometimes, I don’t want it to end but mostly, I enjoy the journey but like to get to my destination. Hopefully that’s a nice, satisfying denouncement with all the loose ends tied up.

Which is why, no matter how busy I am, I’ll make some space to read.

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Filed under Books, Phil