One of the disadvantages (or advantages, depending on your type-A, work obsessive personality ☺) of working at home is that you can always work. I try to have set work hours, and adhered to play, family and “normal” person hours, but I confess that whenever I have a few spare moments, especially if the house is empty, I find myself working overtime. And why not? My office is right here…. I’ll just catch up on that one more thing, write that one line, get that one idea jotted down so it doesn’t slip my mind. And I’m happy with that. As I wrote in a recent e-mail to a good friend, “I don’t feel horribly busy. I’m still playing games at night with the kids, reading, etc… I guess I don’t really socialize a lot—but I do a bit, so yeah…. my schedule is do-able and good. :)”
Yesterday though, I kind of played hooky (another advantage/disadvantage, depending on your viewpoint—I’m my own boss. I may be unhappy with my work habits, but am I gonna get canned? No way.). I’d come home from the gym and every muscle felt delicious—that good tired where everything’s been stretched and pulled and worked, but it’s the day before it hurts. Crispy-pretty blue-with-cold late autumn had turned into white, wonderful winter and everything was muted and made dreamy by a quickly thickening blanket. I had my double-cream coffee in hand, the woodstove was crackling away, and the animals were in various positions of complete sloth—cat sprawled belly up on back of chair, old dog curled up in a ball behind big plant, small dog sleeping on my feet.
Sitting in my office chair, I lifted my arms as high as I could stretch them and just felt good. I considered my long to-do list and hesitated. I have a big project with an open- ended deadline (ugh, the worst kind!), an editing job, and a column due soon. Plus, my latest WIP sits fresh and deserted from its first edit, ready for me to really put some teeth into it. I like each job, and I had an industrious day planned, but still I stalled…. And then I said, “It’s too good a day for a to-do list; it’s do what you want day!”
I spent some time on the Internet, browsing writing sites and boards that I don’t frequent as much as some others. I researched a few markets for articles I’ve let rest for too long—and then, feeling very motivated, I pitched two of them. I finished two novels. Good stuff! I split up my full day with an hour-long tub…. All in all, it was wonderful. And productive.
It makes me laugh that even when I do exactly what I want, I end up doing exactly the same type of stuff I do on days that I’m sticking to a schedule. How lucky am I? My real job is also my dream job.
If you work from home and the odd day calls, “Do you what you want, do what you want!” I recommend listening to it. Worse case scenario, you have to pull a few longer days later in the week or work Saturday morning (but come on, you do that anyway!). Best case, you remember exactly why you work at home, alone, in the first place.