in Daily Life, Introspection

Finding Myself

I’ve been blogging full-time for six weeks now. It’s both good and bad. Obviously, I love the work. But as many people have warned, I’m going a little stir-crazy.

In my former life as a box salesman, I got daily contact with my co-workers, including Jeff and Nick. This is a small universe, to be sure, but it’s a universe. Now I go most days just saying “hello” to the folks at the gym. I need to get out more.

I’m going to look into some sort of class during the summer term. What should I take? Art? Computers? Personal finance? I don’t know. The truth is, I can do anything I want now. But what do I want to do? That’s a tougher question than it sounds.

One thing I know I need to do is work less. I ought to be able to get my blogging done in four to six hours per day. So far, however, I’m allowing myself to be distracted, mostly by e-mail. I stayed up until one o’clock last night, whittling my inbox down to 80 messages. It’s back up to 110. There must be a better way to cope, yet I know this is something that each person has to deal with on his own. I just need to find a system that works.

Part of the problem is that I want to give individual responses to everyone. That’s just not practical, though, especially when I get questions or requests that are longer than my blog posts! I end up shunting those aside to read later, but later turns into weeks, and then months.

I’m not worried, though. From everything I’ve read, the first few months of working from home are difficult. It really is like having a new identity. I just need to fumble around and find out who I am.

(As a postscript, I’ll note that I’m tremendously pleased with how I’ve incorporated exercise into my life. It used to be an afterthought — now it’s my top priority, even over my websites…)

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  1. Working from home is definitely not as ideal as people think. The first year was really hard for me. Now that I am in year four, it is a lot easier. If you can, try to structure your day like you would if you were leaving the house to work and establish some sort of transition between work and home life. Things like: Do you work in your office and when you are finished, close the door. Don’t go back in until the next day. After work, go for a walk, work in the garden, cook dinner, something that relaxes you and signals your body and mind to switch from work mode to home mode.

  2. I can second Amy Jo’s comments. When I worked from home, I would shower and eat breakfast and by at my computer at 8am. I treated walking into my home office just as I would walking into a real office. I had to be on time. I would then walk out for lunch and spend an hour eating/watching TV/reading non-work thing. Then back to the office. At 5pm, I turned off the computer to mark the end of the workday.

    Since I bet you are not willing to turn off your, can you close your ‘work email’ so that you are not tempted to look at emails and get sucked in? It takes commitment to work from home, but it also takes commitment to set away from that work to have a personal life too.

  3. I don’t work from home, but I am the only one of my whole project team in my office (in fact, on the continent). I didn’t think it would be a big deal. But, the hard part is that I just don’t get much human contact. Sure, I chat with the receptionist and the guy down the hall, but 98% of the day I spend in my office alone. It’s really great for getting stuff done, but damn, do I get cabin fever!

    I ended up joing a local softball league at my wifes behest just so that I’d get some time out with people on a regular basis. It has made an incredible difference for me.

    Good luck.