The million dollar question for the work-at-home crowd
The thing about working from home is that it’s not always clear what you should be doing. Or when you should stop doing it. And exactly how guilty you should feel about it.
If you don’t have set work hours and the nature of your work means the projects come in ebbs and flows — I alternate between OMGSOMUCHWORK to Hmmm-I’m-busy-but-not-crazy-busy, I-wonder-if-I-should-be-busier?
Yes, you can keep strict office hours and refuse to work outside of those times. But my freelance work means that I have to work mornings, afternoons, evenings — whenever interviews can be conducted, and children can let me write. It’s all over the place.
Summer is slower in the freelance world. I’m not lacking for work, but I’m also not drowning in it. I’m getting paid less frequently, though, as office admins and accounting types go on vacation (freelancer pay is not a high priority at many places).
So on the slower days, when I manage to check everything off the list, I feel a panicked need to get ahead on tomorrow’s work. And so I do. But you know what I’m (slowly) learning? The work never fully gets caught up.
In this self-employed life, THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING YOU COULD BE WORKING ON.
There are “worky” things I could do. I haven’t updated my corporate site
is a million years (hardly an exaggeration). I have so many half-written blog posts I have to finish and publish. I have folders of photos waiting to be shared on the blog.
There are house-related things I could do. I have housework to do. Projects. Organizing. Light bulbs that really should be replaced.
There are things I’d like to do. Having my sewing supplies in my home office is torture some days, because I refuse to ever let myself even THINK about sewing during the day.
There are freelancers who take advantage of this flexible lifestyle, but I feel guilty even entertaining the idea. I always try to fill these precious work hours with as much paid work as possible. Anything else feels … frivolous.
And so, right now, at 2:25 p.m. on a day I’d planned to work until 5 p.m., I’m frozen between wanting to get started on tomorrow’s work and wanting to call it quits for the day.
I thought I could come to a decision by the end of this post, but I haven’t. Maybe it will be clear after I hit “Publish.”