I work at home, which is pretty awesome. There isn’t a need to wear business suits every day or spend an hour commuting back and forth to the office. To tell the truth, I don’t even have an office. My paid work takes place in the comfort of my living room. I’m snug in the arm chair when I write (unless I’m feeling frisky and camp out on the couch) and sit on the piano bench when it is time to put my singing students through their paces. And of course, there is all the other work I do around the house cooking, cleaning and being my favorite job of all – a mom. While there were days early on in my son’s life that I doubted my ability to stay sane and raise a child, I have found that it is the best thing ever. And working from home means I get to enjoy every minute of the parenting adventure.
Of course, while I love being home with my son, I have found that working from home presents a problem that I hadn’t anticipated. Because of my deadlines and the joy of technology, there are very few waking hours that I don’t find myself working. Last Wednesday was a great example. My schedule for the day was as follows:
Got up. (I suppose this is a given, but all stories have to start somewhere.)
Pulled on my clothes (Yes, while some authors revel in wearing their PJs all morning, it is not a luxury I’ve gotten to avail myself of, although I aspire to a life of fuzzy slippers and ratty terry cloth.).
Rousted the four-year-old and made breakfast.
Drove the small person to school.
Went to the store to buy groceries. (And caffeine. Lots and lots of caffeine!)
Came home, cleaned bathrooms, did laundry and vacuumed. (Ah – the glamorous life of a writer!)
Worked on revisions.
Picked the tot up from school and made a stop at the playground. (The kid had a blast. I shivered with several other moms.)
Answered e-mails with cartoons playing in the background. (Calliou isn’t my favorite show, but at least it isn’t Barney.)
Put the small person down for a nap.
Answered texts from a student going to a college audition.
Worked on revisions until naptime ended.
Made dinner and washed dishes.
Spent an hour with family.
Helped get the small person to bed.
Worked on revisions until 1 a.m until the words on the screen got fuzzy and I decided it was time for bed.
Depending on the day, you can add a voice lesson or two into the mix, but you get the gist. I’m lucky, because I love my jobs. I love teaching, writing and adore being a mom. But working from home makes it tough to remember to have…well…a life. There is always another page to write, or an e-mail to answer or an idea to jot down. The sad thing is that I know this problem isn’t unique to those of us who work at home. For those who can leave the office behind, smart phones and e-mail have made it almost as hard to separate work time from home time. Technology has made it easier to keep in touch 24/7, which is great for some things, but when it comes to allowing us to work 24/7…not so much.
So, I guess I’m curious – how do people do it? How do you separate work from home and still manage to get everything done? Please share your secrets because I can use all the help I can get!