As of February 2014, Mandy and I both work from home. We are super lucky to have enough room in the Fox Den to each have our own offices, but this creates some unique challenges in our marriage. No matter how much we love each other and love to spend time together, spending every moment of every day together can drive anyone a bit nutty. We sat down when she transitioned to her new job to layout our plan for how our new routine would work.
1) Work happens in offices
Our first decision was to be sure that each of us actually utilized the space that we have in our house. In order to create boundaries, we decided that we would keep work within our offices. At the end of the day, we could close the door and return to our personal lives. One of the biggest frustrations that I hear from other people who work at home is how easy it is to never really stop working. It’s so easy (and tempting, honestly) to bring your laptop with you wherever you are in the house. It has been really important to us that we set up boundaries in our own minds that the office is a place for work and the rest of the house is a place for life.
2) Take advantage of the freedom of mobile working
We are very lucky to be able to work from anywhere that there is an internet connection. In order to protect each of our sanity and peace in our marriage, we alternate working from coffee shops or restaurants with free wi-fi. Now this doesn’t happen every day – definitely not enough room in our budget for that much Starbucks! Probably about one or two days a week though you can find one of us working from somewhere other than the Fox Den. We both find that we are more productive when there is less of a chance for distraction and that being outside of our normal work environment gives us a creative and motivational boost.
3) Just because we work together, doesn’t mean we have to eat lunch together
During the first week of sharing our workplace, I would wake up and ask Mandy what she wanted for breakfast. Around 11:30 I would walk over to her office and ask her what she was craving for lunch. My natural inclination was that we would eat our meals together every day. Even before we got married, we decided that our family would eat dinner together around the table every night that it was possible. I just kind of assumed that the same would hold true for breakfast and lunch. I’m happy to admit now that I was wrong. I love to have lunch with Mandy, but with as jam-packed as our schedules are it ended up causing more stress to expect to share every meal. We still make breakfasts and lunches happen sometimes, but neither of us puts pressure on the other to sync up more than we realistically can.
The great Mike Sohn shared a quote with me a while ago that I really love.
“Don’t let work get in the way of life”
Our identities are not wrapped up in our jobs. We both love what we do and give it 110%, but we understand that work is a way of supporting our life and not the other way around. Our identity is in Christ and setting boundaries around work has been the single biggest decision in successfully sharing our home workplace.