I’m a night owl, this cycle was set in motion 14 years ago when I left my diploma in Graphic Design to take classes in Desktop Publishing.
Anyone who has been in the industry long enough will embrace the nostalgia of Photoshop 5, Quark Express 4 and Freehand 7 (in South Africa we hadn’t even heard the word Illustrator!).
Since I was working during the day I attended night school 3-days a week and used the remaining days to go into college to complete my course assignments, this went on for 3-months and that cycle remained to this day.
Adding a marriage, kids and being a Stay-At-Home-Dad to the mix had further forced me to maintain that schedule as it was about the only time I got things done, or rather conceptualized them, though I’d failed to execute many of them, hence the second part of the above equation.
Of late I’ve been hitting the hay at around 10.30 – 11pm, which is a full 2-3 hours ahead of my norm. I’m finding being woken up 2-3 times a night by a 4-month old toddler doesn’t do wonders for my beauty sleep and so I’m trying to get in a few more minutes of shuteye by getting to bed a little earlier.
It’s made the WORLD of difference! I’m still up between 6-7am with both kids, but I’m more alert, it only takes a single cup of coffee to get me going, a nice hot shower and then I’m dressed and ready to make breakfast for everyone, starting the work day at 8.30am, which used to be around 10am.
I find it much easier to execute creative ideas now and have bought myself more time by hiring a childminder.
For the first year of Nathan’s life I was a Stay-At-Home-Dad, but in his second year I had help 1 and then 3 mornings a week and this year I decided to take on our childminder 5-days a weeks, 8.30am – 3pm to help with both kids.
I’ve reclaimed my garage workshop and have a home office as well for writing/admin/e-mails etc.
I’d thought about renting a small space close by, by decided I’d rather put those added costs into having help 5-days a week as working from home allows me to be around the kids, take breaks to play with them and they know I’m literally in the room next door if they need me.
Also having help here 5-days a week relieves pressure on me as she cleans and irons while the kids have their respective naps, tasks that would have originally fallen on getting in a cleaner or doing it ourselves.
Sure, it’s meant that we’re spending more each month with the added childcare, but given that I now have a more time to work I can, and am generating more income to offset the added costs.
How do the rest of you find that balance as self-employed creatives? Have any of you made similar moves or are thinking about it? What’s stopping you?