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Sharing the studio with your partner

by Sigourney Young and Kurt Baird (the artist’s hubby!) | Wedding Photos by Cam Grove

This Valentine’s Day I wanted to celebrate the best creative partner in my life, my husband. Kurt and I moved from Australia to the UK in 2017 so that he could complete his PhD. If he was following his dream, I said, why shouldn’t I follow mine! I went from my previous career in Australia to working full-time in my studio and am so grateful that I have been able to build my business and provide for our family. Thank goodness Kurt is a natural chef, and a truly equal partner, or things could get extra crazy real fast. It’s almost impossible to drag me away from the studio to get anything home related done!

So I wanted to share our story of what it’s really like sharing a home studio with your partner, and I wanted my very own partner’s perspective. Thanks Kurt for being the perfect blogging guest!

What it’s like sharing the studio with Sigourney

Working from home with your partner can seem like a dream, and it is when the days are productive, your work zones are established and both of you agree that despite working from home, you are still working! But it can also lead to a tangle of work and home responsibilities that can accidentally lead to muddled mindsets. This sometimes results in a lack of productivity for both of you.

Sigourney and I are lucky that we can pursue our career goals from the comfort of our home. We both have offices (mine is the dank front living room, whilst Sigourney has a wonderful, bright and sunny studio) where we can separate home from work, and find some focus. The commute is non-existence, we get to have coffee in bed whilst most people are shoving each other on the tube, and our work hours are flexible. We have lunch together, where we spitball ideas, solve work problems as a team, and discuss research trips, conference papers and archival holdings. We can help each other with our work and are the best team members each of us have ever had. Naturally.

Sometimes, however, bad days at the office continue long into the night. When you work away from home, the end of day commute can be a great place to decompress. You can soothe your mind listening to a podcast, or just have some time away from it all. We don’t have that, and as Sigourney works as an artist with a very quick turn around time on her paintings, and I attempt to read old German handwriting, it can lead to an environment where housework follows immediately after work-work. Sometimes we might start at 8:45am, finish at 6pm, and then clean the house for downtime and not be sitting down as a couple until 8pm. When you work at an office you can leave the office kitchen a mess, have an atrocious desk and not have to worry about vacuuming the place you spend fifty hours a week in. At home you can’t. The best thing about leaving your house for work, is that it stays the same way for eight hours, and your home is your castle. Sometimes I miss that. But I wouldn’t swap the opportunity to “hot-desk” at home with Sigourney, it has enabled us to live the life we have always wanted to lead (despite what the Wes Anderson style photo below suggests!).

Kurt’s tips for sharing a studio with your partner

  1.  Pre-prepare meals on a Sunday. It is a great activity to do together and minimises prep time during the week. This means you can use that thirty-minute break during the day to relax
  2.  Tell each other your intended goals for the day. It will help you visualise what you need to achieve during work time but also give your partner the heads up if you’ll be working later than usual.
  3.  Start work when it suits you. Don’t think because your partner works best in the morning that you must be working as well. And don’t feel guilty if you are still working at night if you’re a night owl. Discuss these things and set a schedule for home tasks that means you’re both getting what you need to do sorted for work, home and relaxation.
  4.  Stay disciplined. Sometimes all I want to do is go for a walk with Sigourney and grab a coffee next to the river, but we both know that we have things to complete. It is unfair to both of you to think work-time can be compromised for fun-time. Of course, some spontaneity is fun. Just find a way to keep balanced and don’t suggest a spontaneous coffee trip when you know your partner has deadlines!
  5.  Take fifteen minutes by yourself to decompress at the end of the day. Watch a YouTube video, scroll on Facebook, have a beer or wine and read. By doing this you remove yourself from work time and allow the space to become the partner your significant other needs.
So there you have it! What it’s really like sharing a studio with me, straight from the hubby himself. I think Kurt and I should remember to take his own advice.

Do you work at home with your partner? What do you think it would be like? Let me know in the comments!

Sigourney xo

February 14, 2019

2 Comments

  1. Brooke

    Great suggestions to successfully balance the demands of working from home. Communication is key. Also, I think it is important to continue to get external input or mentoring. You can’t expect your partner to always be as passionate or expert on a topic as you are – keeping professional networks going is critical.

    Reply
    • Sigourney Young

      So glad you enjoyed it Brooke! Yes you’re so right, having external networks keeps the mind sharp and helps you both develop further! It’s easy when working from home to get into routines but breaking out and arranging input from others through mentoring or networks is so valuable for growth, and for avoiding burnout.

      Reply

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I’m Sigourney

I’m a synesthesia artist that will be forever found with paint on my nose, dancing around the studio in my yoga pants. I love travel, gluten-free brownies and working from the home studio I share with my husband. My goal? To bring you into the world of synesthesia and to create a space online that celebrates the colour and meaning of music.

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