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?

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I get to watch bird TV from my office. A perk to offset the challenges of working from home
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I’m In the Money

Don’t forget that invoicing is an important part of any Freelance career. You need to keep careful track of your hours worked, invoices sent, and payments received. Your best accounting practices today, will save you unnecessary headaches at tax time.

Invoicing today! Hope you are in the money this month.

Change

Change is in the air…

A client recently gave me notice that he will no longer require my services come the new year. I struggle with the fact that another client seems to be having a hard time meeting payment schedules. A third client is fine, but the work that comes in from them is minimal.

I am at a crossroads.

Is fate trying to push me in different directions? Should I try to attract new clients or go in a completely different direction altogether? I know that magazines pay better overall, but don’t necessarily have the long-term security that a regular client comes with. Do I want to go that road? Is it time to try my hand at that; become a true “freelance” writer?

Perhaps the upcoming breather in my schedule should be filled with that editing that I have been struggling with? Or maybe I should even try to write some fresh words of my own? What direction should I take my writing in?

These are things that fill my thoughts at present. Change is inevitable. It can be scary and stressful, but can also open up new doors of opportunity. Which way will it go? I am not sure, but now is the time for me to decide what I would like to do with my career.

As the seasons change, so must I, I suppose. What about you? Are the changing seasons affecting your life and writing? How do you deal with change?