Self care for the self-employed

Working from a home office can take some getting used to for all concerned. Time served in a corporate office does little to prepare you for the experience. Being around the house all day can test the affections of even the most devoted spouse and family especially if, like me, you live in a busy home on a rural block.

In recent months, unfamiliar challenges havetested my patience, my calendar management and my communication skills. Frequent requests to open jars or change bulbs have broken my concentration. A ban negotiated to prevent the use of the vacuum cleaner during client calls. The drenching of lambs postponed until it didn’t clash with getting to a meeting on time.

Others in the house might point to a suspicious increase in unwashed dishes after lunch. Or a slowing down of the shared broadband connection. Not to mention a distinct lack of chocolate biscuits in the pantry since I began working from home.

For all this, so far the pros outweigh the cons. My office now overlooks a green pastoral valley instead of a car park, my end-of-day commute is down from 60 minutes to 60 seconds and I’m doing work I love for clients who appreciate it. What’s more, I get to spend more time with my office manager, Pip, seen above taking a break from office life.

Over the years, I have adapted and changed how I work to maintain a good work/life balance. Working solo from a home office has increased the need to do so. Good basic self-care is crucial for me and my business, so here are a few of the things I’ve put in place:

• Take regular breaks – try the Pomodoro technique;
• Stop for lunch and make it a healthy one;
• Get outside for a breather at least once or twice a day;
• Focus on one task at a time – trying prioritising with the Eisenhower matrix.
• Try to avoid long hours and over-working;
• Challenge unecessary goals and ‘fake’ obligations;
• Make a conscious effort to schedule in relaxation time;
• Enlist a team of supporters – family and friends or peers you trust;
• Celebrate milesones and reward yourself for completed projects;

What would you add to this list? How do you make sure to take care of yourself? Leave a comment and let me know.

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