Perhaps it’s because I’ve never really left education, but the start of a new school year in September feels as much of a fresh start for me as the first of January.
Despite the fact that I no longer teach full-time, I still feel the need to shake things up and start the new year with the best of intentions. This can be anything from simple resolutions such as “I’ll always make sure the uniform is laid out the night before” or “I’ll get up as soon as my alarm goes off” to much bigger plans around new routines.
This September I’m off to a bit of a head start as our routines will completely change with no effort whatsoever on my part – Amy will be attending school five mornings a week and naturally this will mean some adjustments. Of course the trick is to make sure I’m making the most of these changes so that they work for me, and in turn for the rest of the family.
This year Amy is entitled to 30 hours childcare – which provides her with 15 hours a week at school and a further 15 hours with her childminder. In simple terms this gives me two days a week for Supply Teaching like last year but also means that I have a full day & two mornings at home for freelance work. This is quite a step up from last year where I had a short day on a Friday & a couple of hours on a Monday.
As someone who works from home, I’ve discovered it’s actually really hard to switch off (I’m writing this lying in bed). When you work for yourself, it’s easy to just keep going – there’s always something else to do. When your job is the Internet it’s even harder to leave it alone. As such I’m planning to make Friday my day off. A day where I don’t switch on my laptop, check my emails, set up photos or write blog posts. It will be a day where I go to Celebration Assembly, get some cleaning done and find some time to exercise, read a book or whatever else I fancy. In reality by the time I get home from assembly I’ll have less than two hours before I go out to pick Amy up again but I’m determined that our Friday afternoons together will be Mummy & Bo time not ‘let me just send me this email’ or post this picture on instagram time.
Life is busy and it’s up to me to take some time to slow it down – for my own mental health first & foremost. If I’m going to be successful in giving myself Fridays off then I need to ensure that the rest of my working week is used effectively, not just frittered away. I’ve always been a fan of a good list but I’m now trying to create myself a very definite working timetable – one which allows for breaks, for getting the cleaning done, hanging out the washing or getting out of the house for half an hour. Working from home can be relentless and lonely and it’s easy to feel guilty for doing too little or indeed too much. I’m hoping my new routines will help me to redress the balance a little!