In a recent post, blogger Liz Proctor told us why she started her blog and where she gets her inspiration for posts about living and working at home. Today she talks about coping with life and work at home.
Liz, I like your honesty about sleepless nights – while heartily recommending working from home I wouldn’t want anyone to think it’s a panacea. How do you cope with stress?
Honesty is really important to me and I’m always determined to show things as they are. Although I try to appreciate all the happy little moments in life (the small pieces), there are times when things seem difficult and not to acknowledge that seems to me to be slightly dishonest.
So in the spirit of honesty, the first thing I’ll say is that sometimes I don’t cope very well! I grumble at my husband, snap at my son, stare at the computer for hours without doing anything very productive and eat too many biscuits. Other times, though, I will stop working at the point where I realise that I’m not actually being at all useful and I’ll go and do something else, either at home or out somewhere. The great thing about working from home is that you can take that time when you need it and come back to work when your mind and body are ready.
A real treat I’ve indulged in a few times is to email an employed friend who works down the road and invite her over for lunch. She brings her sandwiches, I grab whatever’s in the fridge and we both benefit from a half-hour break which feels like stepping into another world.
How does working from home compare with going out to work?
I get more done in less time. I don’t spend entire days (weeks) in endless meetings. I don’t have to drive for over an hour a day. I can drop my boy off at school and collect him almost every day. I can eat dinner in the garden with my nose in a book without having to chat or eat over my keyboard. I can bunk off in the afternoon and work in the evening instead without having to explain myself. I only have to make one cup of tea at a time rather than fifteen for the entire office.
On the other hand, I can spend whole weeks without speaking to anyone apart from my family (thank heaven for 2-minute chats at the school gates and phone calls with clients!) If I mess up, there is no-one to blame. If I take on too much work, there is no-one to blame and no-one to delegate to. I have to deal with the financial and admin stuff I’d rather not think about. When the phone line goes haywire, as it has this week – fortunately we still have broadband – it’s my problem, not the IT/Technical Support Department’s.
I was almost seduced back into away-from-home employment early last year but realised just in time that it wasn’t for me. It’s at least as much an emotional choice as a practical one.
What’s your favourite part of working from home?
There are so many! The top one is being able to put family first. But I think it comes down to the name of my blog really – living and working at home means that everything in life is part of one whole and I’m not split between ‘work’ and ‘home’, just made up of small pieces of lots of different things.
Thanks for sharing your view of living and working at home, Liz. I’m sure lots of readers will recognise many of the points you’ve made.
Liz is a charity fundraising consultant and mainly works with charities in the nature conservation/environment sector.