Finally, I should mention that lone working does not have to mean that you work for yourself, I have many friends who work from home on full time contracts, from graphic designers to magazine editors and database analysts. The way in which society is changing means that the way we schedule in our work and manage our time has to change also. Ultimately you have to find a path that suits you and your family but I hope that I have offered up some useful and thought provoking insights for you to to consider.
As you can see from the picture above lone working offers me the opportunity to work in cute Parisian bistros but there is so much more to consider than which cafe to choose and very low budget Christmas parties, I am going to explore some of the aspects now.
Working for yourself takes a special kind of self discipline and it is not for everyone. It is far too easy to think that lone working means that you can lead an unstructured life; watching an afternoon movie or sleeping in and saying I will make the time up later. You may well make the time up later but there is a reason that the most common working hours take place during the day, that is our best time. There is a real science around daylight saving, we are not nocturnal animals, if we were we would have evolved differently. Many individuals who work permanent night/late evenings, so their body clock is as fully adjusted, as it can be, will still tell you that their brain functions better during the day, they are left more lethargic during the day than they would be returning home from work at 6pm and having the evening as their time off. On top of all this the majority of your friends and possibly your significant other will have a ‘normal’ 9-5 and then your body clock will be out of whack with theirs. All in all structure is key. Structure is something I have always had as I didn’t always work for myself, before this blogging life I had a muggle existence. When I started to work for myself I extended my working hours but I understood that I still had to be available to take calls and meetings during ‘normal’ working hours.
Now take on board everything that I have just written because it is true and important and now the caveat; parenthood changes everything. Of course it does that is why I am typing this at midnight because my baby is asleep, for now. So here is one of the great aspects of lone working you have a degree of freedom to adjust your day. I am still up first thing in the morning, and I mean first thing. So here is a typical day; wake up, feed baby, feed myself, play with baby until it is time for his first nap, get baby to sleep usually done with a dog walk, whilst baby is asleep get some work done, baby wakes, repeat the feed and play portion of the day, Joe returns from work for some baby time (I take this opportunity to cook & do housework), feed baby, baby goes to sleep, I work, and repeat. On the weekends I schedule in all the things that are harder to do during the week. Yes it is hard work but I love my work and my baby is the best thing ever so I have no regrets. Not being part of a team means there is no maternity leave, if I stop everything stops, I would love to have time at home with Sebastian with my mind not worrying about work, at least for a little while.
Working for yourself offers a great deal of creative freedom. Out of all the things I do to put food on the table; presenting, writing for magazines and websites, the blog offers me the most amount of control and that level of creative freedom is both challenging and exhilarating. Yet still my dream for the future is for Archie & The Rug to become a small team. Why? Well I will tell you; it is not only about sharing the load, in fact in a small business everyone works really hard, it is about all the stuff you miss when you work by yourself, you don’t have people to bounce ideas off. It is nice to have a team to share the successes with and support one another in the bad times. It is important to make sure you are working with the right people if you want a small team. We have all had those projects when everyone is pulling in a different direction. It is vital to have clear and defined goals and establish a hierarchy, someone has to have the buck stops here responsibility.