with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
Today is one of those days.
Today I have a kid home and a kid who was late getting ready for school. The kid who’s home is boooooored and I am thinking of locking my office door if I am interrupted one more time. The kid at school just called to say—of course!—that my signature is needed on some forms which I already signed but have mysteriously gone missing, so could I please just swing by to sign a new set, pretty please?
I had a doctor’s appointment this morning, which meant that I saw my husband briefly as I got home from that and he left for work. (Thank goodness he was able to stay home with the kid while I went, at least.) The kid who’s home has a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, after which we will likely have to run over to the hospital for some additional diagnostics, which means I already know my afternoon is toast.
There’s a stack of work on my desk right next to today’s “To Do” list, which has seventeen items on it. So far I’ve completed… two of them. It’s past lunchtime and I just got around to having breakfast.
Some days my flexible schedule feels like it’s trying to strangle me.
I know that life isn’t any easier if you work in a regular office, and in fact I do have, even on days like today, more flexibility to deal with these things than I might otherwise have if I didn’t work from home. I know. But days like today, it feels like I’m trying to do everything at once and nothing at all actually gets done.
Driving home from the doctor’s office, I handled a business call on my cell phone, praying the whole time that the signal wouldn’t drop. Before I came home, I swung by my son’s school to pick up some forms we need for the doctor, later. I suppose there’s a bit of poetic justice or fairness or something in the fact that I now need to swing by my daughter’s school, too.
Here at home, I did a quick bit of work before getting some food thrown in the crock pot so that we can have dinner tonight, fielded the next round of “I’m bored”s after that, sat down to do more work, return more phone calls, and try to squeeze in what I can before this afternoon’s appointment.
On a day like today, I feel like I ought to have a better strategy for actually getting things done, instead of just feeling like I’m hurtling through space at 100 miles per hour, barely nipping at the corners of the things that actually need completing. I’m on hold on the phone while I’m typing this. Yay for doing two things at once, but really, at some point I’m going to type out what I need on the phone or say the wrong thing to the human on the phone because I meant to type it.
Not to mention that I just plain need a nap.
We talk a lot about balance, in freelancing. We talk about moderating our work as best we can to maintain a pace that isn’t going to burn us out or produce mediocre results because we’re stretched too thin. But how do we moderate needy kids, a leaky roof, a dog that needs an appointment for shots, and all the rest of life? I’ve yet to find a way to make everything else fall in line with my picturesque notion of a well-ordered life.
In the meantime, I’m just going to have to keep trying to get everything done. But I’m pondering a plan where I compartmentalize it a bit better, so that I can at least do one thing at a time.
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