My husband is an incredible musician. Some of his work includes Little Lover, Take Me Down, Bones and The One. They’re all highly conscious, heartfelt works of art with deep meaning… check them out if you haven’t already, and make sure the volume is loud and the video full screen (for a more dramatic effect, of course!)… But I digress!
Not only is making music his purpose here on earth, he also works in my business… he plays a sort of CEO mash-up role (very well, I might add). And we have both chosen to work from home. This, of course, means that we spend a LOT of time together and a question I get asked often is how do you live and work with your lover?
Before we dive in, I want to mention that we have both had the fancy-schmancy office before. We employed staff, decorated up a storm, and then realised that it was not what we truly desired. I realised I am a ‘work from home in your sweaty yoga gear from that morning’ type of gal (don’t judge me!). I really like being able to throw on a load of washing, eat my healthy organic delicious food, and go for a quick dip in the ocean after lunch — all perks of owning your own biz and working from home.
However, living and working together can sometimes be… well, let’s say ‘interesting’! And unless you set some clear boundaries, you may end up biting each other's head off.
Today I want to share with you what we have done to make things work. Like everything, this is a work in progress and we are always editing and adapting to what feels good in our bones at that time. I think it’s important that when either of you feel icky, you pivot — and pivot fast. Practicing crystal clear communication (a.k.a. ‘CCC’ — one of my fave relationship tools) is imperative if you are going to both live and work from home, so make that your number one priority.
The first thing you need to do is come up with a list of boundaries and put them somewhere you can see them (for example, your fridge) and make sure you stick to them. Here are some of ours…
- We’re only allowed to talk about work between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- Phones and computers are turned off after 5 p.m. (if possible)
- During our workdays, everything we want to talk about (whether it’s work related or personal) must go in our Google document — no sending emails or text messages. (We try to respect each other’s inbox and not overload it with things that don’t need to be in there.)
- Before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. is lovers’/family time — meaning no work talk!
- Sundays are a social media free day — no phone or computer, that’s the aim.
Work in separate rooms and close the door
We have a rule that if the door is closed, it means please do not come in. Every time you interrupt each other, you’re breaking each other’s flow. I know us ladies want to talk all the words and have loads of things we want to say all day long, but that is not conducive to productivity.
To combat that issue, we have our (aforementioned) Google document for both work and personal stuff, that we keep open on our respective computers. Throughout the day, when things pop up, we add them to the document. Then each day, we have a ‘power meeting’ (usually for about 10 minutes) to talk about all the things in the document.
Right now, in our Sydney home, we don’t have two offices. So I work at Leo’s desk in his room during the day, and Nick works from his home music studio/office, which is in our lounge room. (You’ve gotta make do with what you got, sista!)
Understand the masculine and feminine energy
When I speak of the ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’, I am not only talking about men and women. I am referring to your nature, and the expression of your own personal inner masculine and feminine creative energy that exists within you. We all possess both energies, and understanding the role and importance of each is imperative for harmonious relationships with yourself and others.
For me personally, when I am head-down, bum-up in work mode, I know I am more in my masculine energy. I need to call more on that side of myself in order to get shiz done, especially when I am knee-deep in balance sheets and profit and loss statements. I am then consciously aware of the times when I need to soften back into my feminine side. For example, when I am writing back to a heartfelt email or message, or when my bestie calls me in tears, when I am giving a talk or when I am playing step-muma and wifey. Both energies are needed, but understanding when you are required to step more into one or the other is imperative for your relationship.
Change the energy
When I am in ‘work mode’ I am in my more masculine ‘doing’ energy, so when the clock strikes 5 p.m. and I want to slide into my more feminine side, I need to shift my energy. Tony Robbins calls this ‘changing your state’. I do this by diving in the ocean, having a goddess bath, taking a shower, meditating or having a dance off in my lounge room with the volume up loud. For me, this is the quickest and easiest way to slip out of yang mode and slide deliciously into my true goddess self.
Keep it separate
When you and your lover both work from home, it’s easy to feel like you are morphing into one. But I don’t believe this is healthy for either of you. Us ladies need our own space (especially when we are on our moon cycle). So make sure you create space for you. Go for walks, workout with your bestie and do yoga alone. You don’t have to do everything together, so don’t feel guilty for carving out some space for you.
Get out of the house
When you love what you do, it’s easy to want to work all the time, but this can actually lead to you being more unmotivated and unproductive... Not to mention make you go a little cray-cray! Make sure you get outside — get some fresh air, go for a swim or take a walk each day. Not only will your productivity and creativity sky rocket, but your relationship will be better off too.
Create your own office hours
Last week on my live call with my Business Bootcamp Mastermind babes, I was asked how I stay motivated whilst working from home. For me, motivation has never been an issue. I freaking LOVE what I do, so my ‘issue’ has been how to ensure that I switch off. Honestly, I could keep going and going, and if I didn’t create my own office hours I probably would. Now, my schedule does change, but right now I ‘work’ (and I still pinch myself that what I do is called ‘work’) from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with laser focus. I then make a delicious healthy lunch — and hopefully eat it in the sun — followed by a quick dip in the ocean… heaven! I then go back into the ‘office’ from around 1:30/2ish and then (depending on if we have Leo that week) I do the school pick-up, errands, and make dinner etc. Our intention is to switch off by 5 p.m. for our afternoon meditation, dinner and family time.
We both have Bose noise cancelling headphones which we wear on aeroplanes, but we have started a new rule that when we have our headphones on in the house, it means ‘do not disturb’ because we are in a flow state.
This doesn’t matter so much if I’m working in Leo’s room because the door is closed, but Nick’s ‘office’ is in our lounge room and it’s all too easy for Leo and I to ask him a quick question when it pops up, but this is actually unfair as it’s breaking his flow state. So Leo understands that if Daddy has headphones on, we have to ‘pretend’ he isn’t there. Ideally we would have a separate office and music studio, but right now we don’t so we have to make do with what’s in front of us.
Make ‘lovers time’
When you work with your lover all day every day, life can morph into one big grey area. So even if you have set boundaries, you still have to consciously set aside ‘lovers’ time’. My suggestion? Schedule a date night, leave your phones at home, and make it happen. It’s one of our favourite things to do.
Love always comes first
If you have tried all of the above and you realise that maybe working and living together isn’t your cup of herbal tea, then don’t rush and get a divorce. Try something different — maybe one of you could work from the local library or health food cafe, maybe you could sign up for a part-time desk in a co-working space, or you could call your bestie and see if you can work from her place one day a week to mix it up. Always remember that no matter what is going on with work, your marriage and love always comes first.
So there you have it sweetheart! Right now these are the strategies that work for us. This could — and most likely will — change, and when we feel the pull, we’ll pivot accordingly.
Now I’m curious to know… do you and your lover both work from home? If yes, do you have any ‘rules’ that are conducive to productivity? I would love to hear them in the comments below.
Remember, your tip could not only inspire someone but could save a marriage, so open that beautiful heart of yours and share away.