Work is unavoidable, we all have to do it unfortunately. And for Chelsea and I it provides us with the funds to be able to visit each other throughout the year. At the moment, we are fairly fortunate with how both of our work schedules are arranged. Chelsea works in the doggie daycare 3 days a week, teaches classes 2 evenings per week, and arranges dog sitting & private lessons around that. It is definitely a lot of work, but quite often (due to the time difference) it falls when I am asleep, or towards the end of my evening at the very least.
My work schedule varies massively. During my university holidays I work as a digital marketing consultant, able to set my own hours and work from home. In this way I am usually able to complete my work for any day before Chelsea is awake. During my university terms, which collectively last for 30 weeks of the year, I often work 9-5 at university, have some 1/2 days, and a few days off. However, the exact nature of my schedule changes every few weeks.
Due to our 8 time difference, even the times I am working till 5 o’clock at university, this is still only 9am for Chelsea. In this way, the time difference benefits us, because it means I am always finished by Chelsea’s late morning, giving us the time to Skype or message throughout the day. And the days I have free, we have even more time to do so. However, we recognise that by this time next year I will be working a 9-5 job, and this will cut into the time that we can spend together. But, it is not something that scares us, we know it is only temporary until Chelsea is able to move over. And with these steps, we will still maintain a healthy work-life balance.
1. Set Aside Dedicated Time To Talk
This is a topic that we have talked about before, in our article on The Art of the Skype Date and it is still something that we think is hugely important. When both of you work, it can be difficult to find the time to talk. So make an effort to schedule that time, at least a few times a week. If you are able to talk more during the week, that’s a bonus. But if not, at least you have some dedicated time set aside, where you can just focus on each other.
The longer the time between you and your partner seeing each other, the more important this will become to you. Knowing that you will have a chance to talk to your partner, and check up on them, or vent yourself is an amazing feeling. Chelsea and I try to schedule 2 Skype dates per week. However, if we are unable to do that due to our schedules, then at least try for one. It may be difficult to find a time, but doing so will make your partner feel special & important in your life. And if the unfortunate situation arises where you must cancel, make sure you plan a new one at the same time (and see our article on it for more guidance).
2. Create a Shared Work Calendar
Chelsea an I have created a shared Google calendar, and it is incredibly useful for organising when you are, and are not able to talk. You do not necessarily need to fill it with every single detail of your working day, but just the times you are unavailable. For example, I use it to let Chelsea know when my lectures, seminars and presentations will be. I do not keep details of when I will be working on coursework, as this is much more flexible. Chelsea uses the calendar to let me know when she is working in the doggie day care, teaching classes, private lessons and dog sitting.
Try to schedule this a couple of months in advance if possible. It will allow you to look ahead and find possible times where you will be able to talk. And, the more you know, the more at ease your mind will be. Also, make sure when you schedule your dedicated time together (Skype date, phone call etc.) to put it on this shared calendar. It will remind you to keep that time free, and mean you won’t be disappointed by unexpected cancellations.
3. Send Each Other Little Reminders
Little reminders that you are thinking of your partner are a great way to let them know that even while you are work. These don’t have to be long, just a short little sweet message that will make your partner smile. Maybe you have a few spare seconds while on a boring call, or during your lunch break. Your partner will really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to remind them that you love them.
For this, Chelsea and I use an app called Couple, which you can read more about here. It comes with a great feature that sends a little message that reads “Thinking of You” at the tap of a button. You can also send a sticker, or write your own personalised message. Even if you don’t use Couple, many Instant Messaging apps allow you to send similar stickers, or perhaps even send a photo of yourself instead!
4. Don’t Overwork, Take Some Time for Yourself
Work is stressful, and it can be even more stressful if you take it home with you. Working from home for the past year as a digital marketing consultant, I realise that. It can be difficult to switch off. Work takes over your life. You can’t sleep at night because there is another email you could write quickly before bed. It consumes your thoughts until you find yourself burnt out and unable to work anymore.
And this is something that will affect both you and your partner. Being over worked and over stressed is not a good situation for anybody. So try to leave work where it belongs, in the office. Once you step foot outside, that is your time, to spend how you see fit. Spend it talking to your partner, catch up with friends. Try to relax and refresh yourself. And remind yourself, it is something your partner is going through too, so talk about it with each other. Support each other, and just be there for each other like partners should be.
We would love to hear from you; let us know how you and your partner deal with busy work schedules, and start a conversation with us in the comments below!