One of the hardest things about working from home is getting the other people who live in your home to understand that you are working. Convincing everyone, particularly my child, was easier when I worked in jobs that required me to strap laptops and cellphones on my hip. Those were the tools of busy-ness/business and they garnered a certain respect. Now that my tools are paintbrushes and markers, it’s a little bit of a different story.
My work now looks like play. And in many respects it feels like play. Especially when I’m playing loud music while mumbling or laughing to myself. If I’m being honest, it took me a little bit to take myself seriously. I would push studio time aside for other things. While it felt like a priority, I didn’t always act like studio time was a priority.
When I first started this venture, my daughter was in school. My wife was either working or sleeping so it was pretty easy to carve a few hours out of the day and claim them as mine.
Every pattern I had is being reshaped. I spent the first week of summer frustrated. As much as I thought I was prepared, I wasn’t. Every interruption drove me crazy. People in my space when I was trying to work something out made me want to scream.
The second week of summer brought some pretty significant changes to our home life and I knew that I needed to stay flexible and find a way to establish a new norm. I needed to find the balance between caring for my family’s needs along with the needs of my fledging business and my own person.
I’m employing a few strategies. I’m getting up a little earlier on days where I have a lot of family obligations. I am also trying to recognize that I can get just as much done in short sessions vs the long, uninterrupted swaths of time that I love so much. The latest tool is something I’m introducing to my family this week - the mom time clock.
The concept for the mom clock is pretty simple - “leave mom alone until this time”. Thankfully, I live in a house where everyone is old enough to tell time. They can also care for their basic needs without intervention from me. Despite these things, I’m still interrupted in times when I really need quiet. When I worked in an office environment, I would find a conference room or go work from another floor (or home) when I needed head down time. This gig doesn’t give me as much opportunity to pick up and work from some place else, so I’m hoping that this clock will help everyone (including me) respect my time when I really need it the most. This will hang just inside our back door so that my beloved family can check it before coming outside to talk to me or text me. I plan to use this only for those moments where I really do need quiet. I’ll also use it to check myself and ensure that my phone is on silent and I’m not goofing off on social media. We will see how this goes.
If you are an artist and have family at home, how do you manage quiet time?