Top tips for working the school hours

Laura Brudenell-White

Laura is a freelance book publicist who works from home. She writes a blog 'The 9 to 3', where she shares what works for her while working the 'school hours' as well as how she manages the juggle between work and parenting.

I work as a freelance book publicist from my house in Leicestershire. If possible, I try to work between the school drop off and pick up – it is basically 9am through to just after 3pm.  Before my daughter, I was pretty much a workaholic – I loved my job and luckily I still do but after we moved from London about 4 years ago, we left our childcare behind and I started the juggle between parenting and working.

I’m definitely more efficient and motivated working from my home than when I was based in an office and although I miss the camaraderie of the workplace, I don’t miss the long hours.  Here are my tips for working between the school hours:

Create a routine for your working day.

I’m really strict about this. I make sure that before we leave the house on the school run that all the breakfast detritus has been cleared away, jobs done and my laptop is ready when I get back. The kettle goes on, emails are dealt with and I’m in ‘work mode.’

Keep a ‘work schedule’

I have a very simple Excel spreadsheet where I list my projects across the year. It helps me organise my time during those hours across the year.

set out clear working hours to your clients

I tell my clients that they can reach me between 9am to 3pm. Schedule calls in advance, if you can. I never answer emails after 3pm unless it is really urgent. I will read them if time allows and then action them first thing in the morning.

Tell people you work from home

Tell people (neighbours/other parents) that you work from home and that you are not available for coffee/shopping trips during the week. It is harsh but that means that I am able to attend a class assembly or after school activity instead.

Switch off notifications

Switch off all ‘group chats’ that tend to ping incessantly throughout those hours. I catch up with any school news/playdates etc… after 3pm. Nothing tends to be that urgent.

Invest in a proper work chair

I invested in a proper ‘work chair’ last year – it was the best thing I have done. Not only does it help my posture but also again, it is an easy way to separate my home life from work. I choose to work from our kitchen table, it is my favourite room in the house and currently with this weather, it is the warmest!

Give yourself a break.

I use an app to record the hours that I work per client. I end up doing a lot more work than I bill for if I’m not careful.

Put all your work things away every evening.

I have an alarm on my phone that rings at 2.45pm. This is my reminder to finish up my work for that day, write a to do list that I set onto my desktop ready for the next day. By 3.15pm (the very latest that I can leave the house!), I endeavour to have the laptop and notebook out of sight. I can switch back into “Mummy mode.”

Laura Brudenell-White

Laura is a freelance book publicist who works from home. She writes a blog 'The 9 to 3', where she shares what works for her while working the 'school hours' as well as how she manages the juggle between work and parenting.

One thought on “Top tips for working the school hours

  1. Cathy says:

    Such great tips Laura!! I also work from home and try to go school hours, but always end up doing another two or three in the evening. Mostly once the kids are in bed. Lovely to read this and know there are lots of us out there juggling away! Comforting!! 😅

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