New year, new resolve. That thought crossed my path yesterday. And I aspire to stick with it. Hence another blog post today. Working from home throws up plenty of challenges to that though. Here are just a few that I seem to struggle with;
Challenges of Working From Home
- Friends wanting to go for coffee/lunch on their days off
- Yes, I am home, but no that does not mean I am available at any given point to just drop everything. I do sneak in the occasional lunch or coffee date (socializing is a challenge when you work alone), but I try to make client work a priority. If work doesn’t get done, I don’t get paid. And then there is no money for that luxury coffee!
- Doctor appointments
- Most doctors only make appointments during the day. Everyone has to fit them in according to the doctor’s schedule. But unlike those who work in a 9-5 office, people who work from home end up picking up the slack later—in the evening, on weekends, sometimes when you would rather just relax with a good book or in front of the TV.
- Turning off work
- Again, when you work from home, you are always at the office. Any time I sit at the computer, I am scanning my emails, checking to see if my client’s social media pages are in need of attention, or maybe squeezing it time to work on my own portfolio/social media presence. The net never sleeps.
- Volunteer opportunities
- My children are school aged. That means that I feel the pressure to be involved in their schooling. I love the fact that I can be a part of it, but I also know that every time I step into the school, I am away from my home office. Sure, I can catch up on any work projects later, but then I am back to working evenings and weekends (when I would rather shut it all off). I could put up more boundaries to protect my precious work hours, but it’s true that children’s youth is fleeting. I know that making them, and what is important in their world, a priority, will pay far more dividends in the long run than the almighty dollar.
- I love the little niche I have carved out for a desk in my home, but the fact is—I spend far too many hours plunked down in front of it. I sit while writing, surfing, brainstorming, and more. Then I get into the van and sit behind the wheel to pick up my children and ferry them around to various activities. All that sitting is NOT ideal for a body. So scheduling in a workout is of utmost importance. I might be exercising my brain with all the writing I do, but my heart needs the occasional cardio set too. And you might have better discipline than me, but if it isn’t scheduled into my weekly routine, it doesn’t happen!
- You would think that working from home the weather would make no difference to me. And in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t. But a sunny day can be tempting for a walk (exercise! perk!). Likewise, several rainy or gray days in a row can have me feeling dull and in need of a pick-me-up (work remotely kind of day). I might not have a killer commute to worry about, but I still leave the house daily, even if only to take the kids to school. And I am Canadian after all. We love to talk about the weather.
- I have a calendar on my desk. I set a schedule for what needs to be done when. I tick off projects as they happen and do my best to stick to the routine I have set. But sometimes routines fly out the window. Children get sick. Doctor appointments get scheduled. Client meetings happen. And sometimes I fudge and squeeze in those coffee dates or shopping excursions. For every blip in the schedule though, there is that ever-living fear of still getting it all done. Because ultimately, if it doesn’t get done, I don’t get paid.
Ultimately, the lifestyle I have chosen works for me and my family right now. I enjoy the freedom of being available to my children when they need me and like that I get plenty of quiet time to be creative. Fits with my ISFP personality I guess. If I need a dose of people, I make a date to get together with clients or choose a day to work offsite in a coffee shop for a few hours.
Could I be more disciplined, and free up more time? Sure, but I don’t beat myself up over it. This week I have dodged a coffee date, spent a few hours at school for my volunteer responsibilities, and fit in time for a doctor appointment. I have to leave early to pick up kids for a trip to the optometrist, but give myself a pat on the back for fitting in writing for me two days in a row. Plus, have made good headway on some new client work. All in all, a good week. And you?
What do you like about working from home? What are your biggest challenges?