How Furlough improved my life

Insights How Furlough improved my life.

So I’ve been back at work nearly a year since being on Furlough and even though Furlough was a troubling time for millions in the UK. I haven't had a chance to sit down and reflect on the experience, until now.

I am a firm believer in the “how can this benefit me” mentality not in a selfish way, I like to look at problems through a more "what are the silver linings" lens when faced with difficulties. Looking back on the actions I took during Furlough they clearly impacted my life in a variety of ways. My home life, self-development goals, professional skills, mental state and financial situation are all aspects of my life that improved or are continuing to improve because of my actions during Furlough

“Joel, how can you improve your life on a reduced income and when you can’t even leave the house?”
Well, let me add to that with, not only was my income reduced but Rachel, my better half, was also on maternity leave so her income was also massively reduced. In short, we were in a bit of a pinch.

So with a baby, 50% less income, a mortgage and mouths to feed what did I do? I did the only thing I know. I got to work. I refreshed the very website you are on, built a few more on freelance contracts all in the name of survival from Furlough. This is just one way I helped my financial situation but the truth is, non of that money went into the household. That money went into the “business account” to subsidise my other ventures, more on that later.

So how did we improve our finances? To start Rach and I sat down and culled as much as we could from our outgoings as possible. Shopping cheaper, eating cheaper meals, cutting the excess streaming services. We completely overhauled the organisation of our money. Limiting our expenses meant that we were living reduced paycheck to reduced paycheck but the organisation massively reduced the stress and still does.
Don’t get me wrong it was a real struggle towards the end. Thankfully we had some savings squirrelled away which we really needed as the maternity pay dwindled to zero for the last two months.
Now nearly a year out of Furlough those lessons we learnt are still paying off. Our finances are organised and stress-free. If you want more information about how I organise my finances for a stress-free life message me on social media.

“But Joel, why didn’t you use the money from the freelance work!?!”
Well as I said that money was set aside to pay for my day job.
“DAY JOB! You are on furlough!?”

That’s true but in embracing the “how can this benefit me” mentality I spent that money on assets to help bring in more income. I bought servers, built websites which I now charge my clients for hosting. By investing in my own infrastructure, I took the first steps to a passive income lifestyle so if furlough does his me again It won't hurt as much.
Building the hosting service meant that I had to learn new skills in server set-up, management and documentation. This is a full-time job in itself! My day consisted of 2 hours of YouTube tutorials, 2 Hours of Skillshare tutorials, 2 hours of experimentation & coding and 2 hours of family time.

I turned my self-development into my day job and folks… I LOVED IT! With the additional freelance income, I could build testing servers, break them and learn how to fix them. Without risk to my clients. I took my first steps into cloud computing with a Kubernetes (K8s) cluster and learnt how to use Docker, Helm and many more pieces of technology to get sites up and running faster and with more reliability. Along with the skillshare subscription I set up an Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop subscription and learnt how to use those programs to expand my arsenal and took on my first logo and company re-branding projects. With the ultimate goal of being a one-stop shop for businesses.

So, my finances are in check, my professional skills and self-development schedule improved and are improving my finances but what about my home life and mental state?
Well with all of the above improvements I made my mental health flourished. I was writing my own schedule, learning what I wanted and having ample time for family. I always knew I liked learning new things but never this much!

Regarding home life raising Daisy is no small feat. Rach being on maternity, freed up my mornings to work and being on furlough meant that could take over the family jobs in the afternoon, giving her much needed time to rest and giving me time to spend time with Daisy, which is also a massive plus for being on Furlough.
I honestly don’t know where we would be if I didn’t have that time with her. It makes me think that companies should allow for more paternity leave and a 50/50 parental leave split. Some families aren’t as lucky as us to have that much time to spend together and I don’t think Daisy and I would be as close if I was working in an office for the first year.

“Joel, all this sounds very exhausting”

I’m not going to sugarcoat it, it was. It was a 5 AM start, work for 6 hours, family time, dinner time and sleep all to start it over again the next day. The biggest help was having a dedicated office that I could work in. I severely doubt I would have been half as productive if I was working from my kitchen table. By now Furlough had given me a taste of what life could be. The freedom of working the hours your want, working on what you want and getting paid to do it. It gave me a taste of the passive income lifestyle and I wanted and still more.

This is why more of that freelance income went towards an audible subscription powering the reading list found here. It has become an endless circle of self-development and learning and it suits me SO WELL! Learning more about different technologies and lifestyle techniques with the end goal of living off multiple streams of passive income. This is my ultimate goal.

It sounds weird to say Furlough was a “positive experience” for me as I know it has ruined many lives and been a point of stress for the whole country during the pandemic. The truth is I was fortunate to have a job to come back to and savings to keep the family afloat. Otherwise, the financial situation would have been the downfall of the whole experience. There would have been no new servers, no experimentation, no skill share or adobe subscriptions, no audiobooks and no learning.

I am sorry if this blog comes across as “braggy” it was not my intention. I wrote it in the hope to inspire and showing the power of having the right mentality when facing what can seem monstrous hardships. I think I have done that, at least I hope I have.

Like always if you have any questions about any of the topics in this blog. Kubernetes, self-development or financial planning. Please don’t hesitate to message me.

That's it for this week. I hope you have a positive and productive week.
Cya next week.


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