Category Archives: Work and babies

Studying when there’s a baby in the house

I’ve written before about the challenges of running a business from home when there’s an infant to look after.

But on top of this, over the last 3 months, I have had a very demanding revision timetable for a vocational exam that happens next week. The exam is extremely important to my business. Basically, it’s the difference between me having a license me to practise as a personal trainer and not having a license

ln order to concentrate on my studies, I’ve had to pull myself away from family life during the evenings and shut myself in our studio room week in, week out.

It feels more than a little selfish to leave F. to look after the baby on her own. And of course it also means I miss out on looking after the baby.

I have been finding it difficult to concentrate on studying with the sound of distractions in the flat or outside (we live in the inner city and there can be traffic and street noise at all times of the day and night)

A solution came from Mrs D. and her experience of handling shotguns.

One of the many cool things about my wife is that, as a undergraduate , she was a member of her
university’s shooting team. The nearest this city boy got to such weaponry was watching The Sweeney. F. still has a pair of the ear defenders used to muffle the explosions. As she used to wear them in exams to help her concentrate, she suggested I try them when studying.

The defenders are like large old fashioned headphones without a cable attached to them. They are intentionally very tight, gripping the side of my head like a vice. Which makes wearing glasses a little uncomfortable. And, whilst they don’t completely completely block the sounds of the outside world, they do help muffle the sounds of the outside world. So I can still concentrate.

I also found that I could wear earbud-style headphones underneath the defenders thus creating a second barrier to outside distractions- it’s like playing music in a soundproofed room.

It feels a little selfish to do this bit needs must and I only have a week more of revising.

Working from home with a baby

There’s a popular image of running a small business from home: a new parent, baby bouncing on their knee, happily types away into a laptop whilst they answer calls and make coffee. This hasn’t been the experience of me or my wife. We run our personal training business from home and I can definately say that our business has been hugely affected by the presence of a baby.

The most immediate impact has been on the time available to us to work on our company together. This can only practicably happen during a working day when the baby has a nap and both of us are ‘free’ (although one of us has to be ready to go into the nursery if V. is restless). But even though the baby is on a fairly strict sleep training routine, the actual amount of time V. is fully asleep is short: a couple of hours a day. This has particularly slowed down the decision-making process when it comes to developing the business.

In addition, the time and energy demands of looking after our daughter has lead to us changing the division of labour. I’ve taken on diary management, payment processing, and customer queries so that F. can concentrate on bigger-scale projects. And for those projects to make any headway, F. needs time to concentrate. So when I have an afternoon clear of client appointments, I take our daughter for a feed, a change of nappy, playtime and a sleep. Usually this is a four-hour period of time that allows F. to work on areas such as marketing, SEO and IT. That really is not a lot of time.

We’ve also learnt to schedule a bunch of business calls to coincide with nap time. We don’t make or take calls when a crying baby could be heard in the background. It’s too unpredictable, too distracting, too unprofessional.

As childcare is not an option for us, we’ll keep on making the best of the situation. I’m hoping that this experience teaches us to our business in a leaner, tighter and more efficient way. Especially when the baby learns to type…