Up for a Challenge

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.
  • Health
    • 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!
  • Weather
    • 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.
  • Routines
    • 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?

P1080668
I get to watch bird TV from my office. A perk to offset the challenges of working from home
Advertisements

Do Something Worth Writing

write or do

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing
~ Benjamin Franklin

It’s summertime. I could lie to you and tell you that I’m writing up a storm, but I’m not. I am off doing stuff; fishing, camping, swimming, etc. I am making memories and bonding with my children while they are still excited to spend time with me. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If I am lucky, perhaps a story or two will come of our road trips, long summer nights, giggles with friends and family by fireside, or the quiet moments when we just lose ourselves in a book. That’s what I’m hoping, but I am perfectly content with just going with the flow. I keep up with client work and jot down a few lines here and there when I can, but some days it is just more important to do. Stories are born out of experience and that is what summer is for me.

So I take in theatre, attend summer festivals, and plan beach days for the hottest days of the week. But sitting in front of the computer and writing just doesn’t hold much appeal when life is outside my door.

After I am done ‘doing’, I will write the stories that come…

See you in September!

Sick Days

There’s a reason I work from home. It’s not because I don’t like talking to people (because I have been known to talk to grocery store clerks, random people at the gym, and, yes, my cats). It’s not because I prefer working in my PJs (because I DO get dressed every day. I swear!). It’s not even because the pay is better, as the taxman scratches his head when he looks at my income taxes every year and wonders how I do it.

No. The reason why I work from home is so that on days when my children are under the weather, I can be home to take care of them. Hair appointments can wait. Running around can happen another day. Writing still happens when my babies are resting. And I have the comfort of knowing that I am exactly where I need to be for the people who need me most.

Kid #1 down with a case of ick

Christmas Gift

Christmas is in the air.
The spirit all around
People bustle to and fro,
seeking perfect gifts that abound

But this year all I wish for,
this year all I want,
is a piece of yesterday’s memory,
your soul in our children’s hearts.

Too many years you’ve been missing.
They wouldn’t recognize you anymore.
But to see your face, as your children embrace –
a priceless moment I’d adore.

So I’ll look up to the heavens
and search for your shining star.
It’s the closest thing to the gift I want
The gift of a father’s heart.

Summer: Wistful Thoughts

Sigh…

I have to admit it. On this last official day of summer vacation, I am a little sad to say goodbye. I had a fabulous summer and as always seems to happen, it flew by far too quickly. There were beach days, road trips, campouts and more. We got together with friends and family, and met new people along the way. We grooved to music at outdoor concerts and in. Quiet nights passed as we gazed into the embers of campfires far and wide. And I found a measure of energy which had been conspicuously lacking in my world as the days slipped by. I don’t want it to end.

Come Tuesday though the school bell will ring and a return to routines will see myself and my children back into the swing of things. There will be swim lessons and Scout meetings. I will gather with the women in my book club and the parents on school council. More time will be available for me to dictate to clients, which is good as demands seem to have increased, but there will be less time for sleeping in and cuddling with my babies in the morning. While I know it is a good thing, I still mourn the life of leisure which will be hog-tied by calendar days once more.

So this weekend, I will hold on to the last of those lazy summer days with my kids. We just might pitch a tent in the yard. A campfire could be in order too, complete with marshmallows if we can find them. Who know, perhaps a day at the beach is in order as well, what with temperatures expected in the 30s. All in the name of regenerating our souls in preparation for a new school year. The prospect of learning new things, meeting new friends and seeing old friends is exciting too, but for today I just want to hold on to the gift that was this summer.

campfire
Campfires: a staple of summer