How Do You Balance It All?
I took a hot bath today.
Maybe that doesn’t seem newsworthy to you. It really shouldn’t be, I guess. But the fact that I took that bath at 3:45pm, in the middle of a workday, was big news to me.
I work at home.
That statement still seems unreal. For almost all of my adult life, I have worked in an office. The past 16 years haven’t been exactly all 9 to 5, since travel was a major part of my career, but I still left my house to go to work every day. Until this year.
After two years of weaving the development of our new app, Tykester, into my daily business duties, I got sent home to work on it full time. Wow. Instant culture shock.
I think back to all those early mornings when I was stuck in traffic, or hustling to the airport, and I would daydream about working at home. I had it all planned out. I’d have a leisurely cup of coffee while checking my email. Do networking luncheons, living room yoga sessions, enjoy a power walk around the block during conference calls. And then cook dinner each night before 7pm. I was going to have that wonderful thing everyone calls work-life balance.
Instead of perfecting my balance routine, I actually seem to be drifting more off-center. I check my email before I get out of bed. I answer the phone at 6:45 am, and return emails at 11pm. I feel guilty about taking 15 minutes for lunch, or folding laundry during the day. My car sits in the garage for days – seriously, I haven’t driven 20 miles in two weeks. There is no starting time, or quitting time. My working hours are my awake hours, period. Often, I’m discouraged to find my to-do list is longer at 7pm than it was at 9am.
My family tries to be supportive, even as they suffer through the neglect. They’ve gotten used to me working weekends, nights and pretty much during any and all conversations. I used to have a beloved dog that followed me from room to room, but now this laptop is my constant companion, along with my phone. The email chime makes me sprint. The calendar “ding” supersedes dinner, snuggle time, and phone calls with my mom. I still cook dinner later than desired, or more often, not at all. Good grief, I’m a fairly intelligent, sensible, strong woman – can’t I figure this stuff out?
Okay, there’s plenty of good stuff, too. I have to admit it.
I can keep the A/C on 75 or 60, depending on my mood. No one cares if I wear a ratty fleece jacket when I get cold. Our WiFi works on the back porch, so I can get a little Vitamin D while I check our website page views. I only have to “fix” my hair on days I have a Google Chat, or travel. I can balance on a yoga brick at the kitchen counter while I fill out my budget spreadsheet. Absolutely no one borrows my stapler and I have three - count ‘em - three bathrooms to myself all day. Pretty sweet.
But I have to wrap this up, ‘cause I have work to do.
Not just on my to-do list, but lots of work on me and how to handle the lifestyle changes that have thankfully been handed to me. Work on a balance that is, if not comfortable, at least reasonable for me and my family.
Today, I took a hot bath during the middle of the day when I needed a stress break, which is a step in the right direction.