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Working From Home

Mondays are my work day. Working from home means having to be a self starter, which I tend not to be. If something has a deadline, you can bet I will have it done, and done well, on time. But until its necessary for me to actually begin a task, I put it off.

Case in point, today, none of the bills due are actually due today or tomorrow. So I am sitting at my desk writing rather than getting down to business.

When we got married, my husband and I discussed what our roles in our family business were going to be. It took a lot of learning and give and take, but we agreed that I would handle the bulk of the office work and he would handle the bulk of the outdoor chores. It isn't perfect and we both pitch in  to help the other out when its needed, but for us, this is the system that works best.

Working from home requires a specific kind of balance. A balance that has taken me a very long time to figure out. I use to think that since I worked from home, I just did my office work when it needed to be done. If it was the weekend and something was due, I did it. If it was late at night and my husband wanted to go over paperwork, I did. Holidays meant nothing to me, I worked over those too.

I worked by the same ethic that most farmer/ranchers do, there are no days off.

I did this for a long, long time. It burnt me out and made me miserable. It wasn't till a couple years back on a Fourth of July that I had a revelation.

My husband feeds cattle and does chores that are an absolute necessity. They have to be done every day at relatively the same time. So every year, I would wait for him to finish all his chores before the girls and I would join him and head to the river to celebrate the festivities of the holiday.

I would be miserable and pouty. I would sometimes try to help him get done earlier, but with all the kids in tow, we usually just slowed him down. So we sat and we waited.

Then two year ago on that Fourth of July I realized, just because a certain work schedule works for him, doesn't mean it has to work for me. I could take weekends/holidays off. It was the Fourth of July, no one else with a desk job was working, they were at the river celebrating. I could do that too! I didn't have to sit at home with anxious kids and pout and feel sorry for myself, I could head out and wait for my husband at the river just as easily as I could wait for him at home!

Maybe this seems really obvious to everyone else, maybe I was a little late figuring things out. I am ok with that, I'm often a little behind on the obvious.

But that new perspective changed everything for me. I began looking ahead and taking care of business so that I would have my weekends free, Mondays became my day to sit down and take charge of what I needed to finish that week. Holidays were suddenly manageable. I no longer came back from a holiday break feeling overwhelmed or had to take time away from holidays to finish some work task. Instead I planned ahead and prepared to take time off.

When you work for yourself, you can get in the mode of never really taking time off. Everyday, anytime of day there is work that can and needs to be done, but it was making me miserable.

Here's what has been working for me in this season of my life. Its bound to change, and I will have to change with it, but for now:

  • I don't do business work on the weekends, unless it can't be avoided (cattle often ship on Sundays and sometimes office work MUST be done on Saturdays). 
  • Holidays are time off. 
  • Sundays are family day. No office work. 
  • No business work in the evenings. This is a big one for me. Often thats the only time that my husband can sit down to go over work with me, but I avoid it unless its absolutely necessary. I need to be able to clock out and have my downtime before bed especially after the kids have gone to sleep. 

One of the perks to working for yourself is that it can be individually tailored to suit your own needs. So if you work for yourself and are running into road blocks that seem to always be bringing you down, I encourage you to look at your day to day schedule and see if there is an area that can be restructured.

Whatever it is, that makes you happy, find a way to make it happen. There will be the unavoidable tasks, hello taxes! Babies will get sick and mess up your Monday-work day. So be flexible, be willing to learn what works best for your business, your family, for you personally. Just remember for most of us, work is a necessity to be done so we can enjoy life, and if you're not enjoying life, maybe its time to make a change.


Disclaimer: I do not have it all together, my work system has its flaws, sometimes I yell or swear while doing paperwork. I am human. :)




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