So what do people who work from home REALLY do during the day? I’ve had quite a few people ask me how I’m making out and I have to admit a few things have surprised me.
One is the number of people who have asked me how I am enjoying ‘retirement’…including my Mom. On my first day of self-employment, she pointed out “I guess you don’t have anything to get up for now that you’re retired, huh?”
Even when I gently correct people by saying “I’m still working, just from home,” they tend to smile knowingly and nod. As in “yeah, sure you are…”
Also, when researching working from home, I found out that one of the pitfalls is supposedly a danger of overworking. If your workplace and home are one and the same, you run the risk of working TOO much.
Well, I know myself pretty well and never dreamed this would be my problem. In fact, Jeff and the girls both suspected I’d be taking a daily nap because I love naps on weekends so much! How would I be able to resist? And I have never skipped a lunch break. Lunch and breaks are both way too important to me.
However, without the daily interruptions that come with working in an office environment, I have found I am able to get extremely focused on whatever task I’m working on. So much so that today, for instance, I’ve been sitting for nine hours and not had a break.
To clarify, I ran downstairs to throw in a load of laundry (if that constitutes a break) and I opened the pantry to grab a granola bar. But the rest of the time, I’ve been:
- Writing and responding to emails
- Lining up all the articles/photos/captions for tomorrow’s magazine deadline
- Writing and/or revising a few more articles for the same deadline
- Obtaining quotes from video companies for a potential client, which led to a conference call with one company
- Finishing up a proposal for the same potential client
- Writing and issuing a news release for another client, then realizing I sent it with the wrong heading (sigh)
- Uploading the news release to the client’s website and Facebook page
- Writing this blog post.
But guess what? It’s ok. Because yesterday I worked until noon, went for a massage, wandered around a garden center for two hours, bought some plants, brought them home, planted and watered them, ate dinner, and went kayaking.
It’s all about balance.
Granted, I’m in a perfect position right now. I am not an employee who has to worry about the boss thinking I’m slacking off, or a new business owner scrambling to find enough clients to pay the bills.
I allowed my business to gradually grow over time to a place where I felt comfortable leaving full-time employment, and over the years I learned to be self-motivated.
At the same time, I’m only in my third week of being on my own, and I am well aware that things could change very quickly. For instance, my main client operates on a shoestring budget and could decide at any time they don’t need my services anymore. But that is motivating in itself – I have to make sure I do exceptional work so when the s*** hits the fan it’s not me on the chopping block!
Staying motivated is also easy since I am doing work I enjoy (not what someone else tells me to do) while wearing comfortable clothes (shorts and a tank top), with the freedom to choose when and where I work (earlier in the week I was in my home office, yesterday was on the deck, and today I’m at the dining room table.)
In fact, Monday morning of the long weekend there I was at 4:00 am writing an article on the living room couch. (That’s another unexpected ‘con’ of working from home – if you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about work, it’s all too easy to go into your home office and work until all hours…even if it’s a holiday.)
But tomorrow is Friday, and I have a few pots yet to fill, so I’ll likely punch out early and head back to the garden center. Then I may even take a nap.