Hey Näppers,

Were you also eagerly waiting for the next press conference to be released? It seems like even though the new year is starting and there is still no clear path as to how we can move towards a virus free future, our heads are looking down. Even though 2020 was in some aspects helpful, as in moving from a fast to a slower pace in life or nurturing one’s relationships, we all feel now that this is becoming draining.

What to do?

Well, there is no special magic formula to this.  Whereas one topic becomes louder and we think this is more crucial than ever to inhibit and address.

Boundary management

We don’t want to talk about emotional boundaries in specific (because none of us are certified life coaches), but we do have some hacks for you. Let’s create a scenario here so you can feel with us.

She: 40, self-employed influencer (from Australia)
He: 38, self-employed fitness trainer (from Amsterdam)
Them: two kids of 9- and 5-years lifetime.

Sandra (invented) is a lifestyle influencer with a focus on sustainable living and gardening. Luckily, she can perfectly adapt to the new situation and move on with her business from home. Yes, she needs a lot of creative resources, inspiration, and output. And yes, she needs to be online 24/7 but she didn’t lose her job or had to change her business model due to COVID-19. So, Sandra tries her best to make a mental separation between home, family, and private space. Not forgetting the virtual space, her online community, and her online presence, a space for profit oriented self-representation.

In the last months, her business grew steadily, so she decided to rent out a coworking space where she can go to do bureaucratic work and where she can write, as she just started to write a blog on top of her Instagram channel. She has clear rules as in no kids/friends/partner on the pics, only one meal a day documented for the community, a business, and private phone to be able to distinguish and get the distance. Sandra had a hard time facilitating all of these changes and becoming aware of their necessities but that’s what she learned in the last years of becoming a digital influencer.

Adam (invented), on the other hand, is completely new to this daily online gathering, in the way he had to get to know it when COVID-19 started last year.

He used to leave the house around 9, go to the gym to give his fitness courses and private lessons throughout the day.  He was able to come home at 12, prepare lunch for him and her, leave again and come home just in time to help prepare dinner.  There were times in which scheduling became a real challenge and it took a while for both of them to set up a daily routine in which they could both follow their profession, take care of the kids, their household, AND the relationship.

While COVID-19 started spreading and the first lockdown came into place, Sandra immediately helped her partner to set up an online platform on which he could facilitate his training and courses. She helped him to connect with his clients online, win new ones – thanks to her growth hacking skills – and set up his online business. It was a long way to go and most of their evenings were the only slots in which they could make it work.

Martin and Rita (invented), the kids of Sandra and Adam, are 5 and 9.  Rita is in a Dutch elementary school; Martin is in kindergarten. When COVID-19 started and both had to stay at home, the family as a whole experienced unexpected change.  What they realized at first was that they actually never spent so much time together in the house as they were doing in that first lockdown. There were a lot of beautiful surprises, but also new challenges (we bet you can feel this, but let’s focus on this angle on one topic today).

How did you manage your space?

This family lives in a little Dutch house, the way you know it, the tiny stairs, the thin walls. Very gezellig though. Martin and Rita both have their own room upstairs and the couple shares a bedroom on the same floor. Downstairs there’s the spacious living room, kitchen, and bathroom.

Now imagine Martin, an energetic child, not being able to play with her friends in kindergarten and Rita who’s out of the sudden asked to do school from home online… Adam, who sets up his new online business in the living room at the kitchen table, where there is normally the space for communal food gatherings and play evenings. And lastly, Sandra, who tries to capture aesthetic moments of a pandemic at home for her online community.

It was not an easy one.

Here are our main reflective impulses and outtakes we want to share with you:

What daily activities need our attention?
What is our daily routine and how can we make it work?
What space needs to be used simultaneously?
Can we organize space differently and use rooms for different purposes?

Online and offline space:
– If possible: different devices for different purposes (job/private)
– Even though it might take much space from your computer but it’s totally worth it: set up different partitions for different projects (e.g., 1. Homeschooling f. Martin 2. Blog and Influencing 3. Bureaucracy and private stuff).

Also, UNICEF gave some very useful tips on how to manage parenting during COVID-19 and their free guide and newsletter is available in more than 100 languages.

We will follow up on this topic and talk more about how we can use our space together, especially in times where we’re asked to be a lot at home together. If you have any other hacks you’d like to share, please DM us via Instagram or Facebook.

Take care until then!