By: Cholo Ledesma
Home is where your whole life is!

In a place as busy and filled-to-the-brim as Metro Manila, the routine struggle to balance our multiple roles in life can seem like a nearly impossible feat. We are not just living for our full-time jobs, as many of us have different roles and interests as well. Perhaps those who have it hardest are parents, working hard to provide for their families and doing their best to be present for their children.

Many parents end up crossing cities to go to their full-time jobs, and are constantly swamped with stressful demands at the office and at home. The long commutes in between take away much needed time that could be spent fulfilling their many duties at home. This leads many to make the difficult choice of sacrificing quality time at home with loved ones.

It is perhaps every parent’s dream to be able to balance these roles as gracefully as they can. However, Gideon Lanot, a freelance storyboard artist who now works from home, sought to make it a reality for his family.

Gideon was working as an art director at an advertising agency when his baby daughter, Emma, was brought into the world.

“My wife and I just had our first baby, so we were pretty excited,” shares Gideon, or Gidge as he’s known to his friends.

However, with Gideon’s new role as a parent to Emma, his work life and his family life became even more of a challenge to balance.

“My commute to and from the office [took] too long. 2 hours going and 2 hours back at an average, and Fridays are even worse. Because of this, I miss [out on] spending quality time with our baby Emma,” Gidge explains.

It was difficult for Gideon to be fully present for his daughter with the stressful challenges of his office job and daily commute. Emma would not yet be awake when Gideon would leave for the office, and when he would finally get home at the end of the day, she would already be sleeping. Seeing that he was sacrificing precious quality time with his newborn daughter, Gideon re-evaluated his priorities and decided to make a daunting change.

“I wanted to prioritize my role as a father,” he says. “My role as an art director had to take a back seat.”

Since then, Gideon has decided to work from home as a successful freelance storyboard artist. This means that he’s hired by various advertising agencies and production houses, and does commissioned illustrations and works for other clients as well. The best part? He can stay home and spend more quality time with his family. Here are some tips from Gideon Lanot on how to live your best life while working from home:

1. Set up a space at home for your work

The transition from working in an office to working at home can take some time. With many other things happening at home, it is important to set up a space in which you can stay focused on your work, just like in an office. At home, you have more freedom to choose a space where you can be calm, productive, and motivated, so choose wisely! For Gideon, he works best at his bedroom desk.

“I tried setting up a home office in the attic, but I end up working on the bedroom desk,” Gideon says. “[This is because] I love hearing my daughter play with her mom as background sounds [when] I work.”

2. Have a schedule that works for you (and stick to it)

Much of Gideon’s work has to adjust around the schedule of his daughter and chores he has to do, and so it’s important for him to let his work schedule integrate with his other responsibilities. You might also have other important tasks to accomplish that aren’t related to your work, and so it’s good to keep these in mind when making a schedule that works for you!

When Gideon is working on a project, a normal day for him begins with fulfilling his role as a father and husband before his daily grind. “I try to help with the chores like feed and bathe our baby in the morning, sometimes cook meals, then start working [at around 11am].” Gideon is able to make time to play with his daughter on a usual workday, too. “A bit of playtime after lunch, before baby Emma takes her nap, then go back to work.” he shares.

However, being at home doesn’t mean you’re exempt from stress. In actuality, Gideon usually ends up working on his projects until late at night, but is also able to eat dinner at home and do some household chores before pulling all-nighters for his projects.

With the gift of more free time comes the responsibility to use it well, too. Gideon’s new routine requires him to be more disciplined with his own time and productivity. On the drastic transition from working in an office to working freelance at home, Gideon says, “I have to be more disciplined because [I don’t have a] boss.” He says that nobody is there to tell you that you’re late, or that you’re not putting in enough work. No one is there to fill in for you, too. “I have to be more strict with myself in order to get work done. I also have to manage my time well, [especially when there are] projects.”

Truly, Gideon’s challenge is still to be able to balance his work life and his family life, even if they co-exist in the same space. “Emma [is there, and she also] wants playtime with daddy.”

3. Continue to hone your craft

More free time can be overwhelming at first, but it’s important to use this free time wisely. One of the ways you can do this is to practice or hone your craft that you use for work projects, just as Gideon does.

When no projects are lined up for Gideon, he makes sure he is still focused on staying productive or working on his craft in different ways. “I try to stay productive by just sketching, practicing, studying and appreciating artworks of my lodi artists.”

4. Don’t take it easy on your work

Even if it seems like Gideon is living a relatively more stress-free life, he still has to put in a lot of hard work into his craft. In fact, Gideon describes his new routine as “bittersweet.”

“Sweet, because I have more time for my family, and eventually my passion projects, like illustrating and joining local art market events.” However, this sweetness comes with another scary challenge, too.

“Bitter, [because of the] uncertainty of projects,” he adds. Gideon confides that he cannot be entirely sure if he has a project that will come in the next month, or even within the week. This is why he just can’t take it easy or be complacent when it comes to work since he needs to be able to provide financially for his family.

“It’s a conscious effort [that when there is a project,] I give my best.” Gidge shares. He hopes that when he does this, he is able to get repeat orders that will open more doors for new projects. Thankfully, Gideon has been finding success in getting consecutive jobs as a freelance artist.

5. Have faith and always give your best!

Gideon’s last bit of advice for people thinking of making the same shift to working at home is to “have faith that God will provide. Furthermore, continue to work hard to achieve your goals.” The new life that Gideon has chosen came with a set of new challenges, but this did not stop him from achieving his goals and meeting his priorities.

“Always give your best, never stop learning and continue to hone your craft,” he adds.

With clear priorities and strong resolve, Gidge is able to do the job he loves at home and spend quality time with his family. As Gideon committed to shifting his routine and seeing it through, he is able to create the beautiful life that he and his family deserve. Why not start creating yours today?

Sincerely,

The COHO Living Team.

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