Life is too short to commute

Before I set up Peekaboo, I used to work in a big PR company in London. Every day I travelled for an hour each way – that’s 2 hours a day, 10 hours a week or 40 hours a month travelling. 40 hours a month is equivalent to a full time job.

I hated it. And once I had children, it became impossible. Those 2 hours every day could have been spent with my baby – or if I wasn’t a mum – setting up a business or writing a novel or training for a marathon!  Instead they were spent looking at a row of cars on the M4.  It was a no brainer. I had to stop. And so starting up my own business wasn’t an idea I agonised over. It was simple. There was no room to question whether I could do it or not. I just did.

Since then, I’ve worked from home. In the early days, just one or two days a week. Now I work five days a week, but school hours only. This means I’m able to walk my children to school, fetch them at the end of the day, take them to activities in the afternoon and go to all their school plays and sports days. School holidays are difficult, but luckily, I have a team of fab mums who help me share the load so we all get to spend some time with our kids and some time working. And our clients get it, because they’re parents too.

I am often working at 6am in the morning or 10pm at night, but it never feels like a burden. It’s my own business and the fact that my working hours are a little different from your standard 9 to 5 doesn’t make it any less effective.

I’m writing this because I have just been working on an article for a client ( about remote working. After doing a bit of research I discovered some startling facts about how much time people in this country spend commuting (which I think I will turn into a PR story in the near future).  And it just made me want to say this:

If you are the average Brit who commutes for an hour every day, spend just one of those hours thinking about how you could use the time if you worked from home or a remote location closer to your home.  What would you do with a spare hour every day? Could you start work an hour earlier every day and then work a half day on Fridays? Could you use the time to get fit or write a business plan to start up your own business?

Life has so much potential when you don’t commute. So my top tip of the day is: speak to your boss about whether you can work remotely. Consider whether your job is something you can do as a self employed individual. Identify what you want your life to look like and make it happen. Because you can. Seriously.

If you’d like to read more about Third Door, see this piece that recently appeared on the Financial Mail Women’s Forum. And while you’re at it, look at this clip from The Michael Ball show featuring Peekaboo client Wendy Shand of Mel McGee from Supermummy, talk about how they’ve managed to work from home. (It starts at 20.41)

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