Work can be fun!
Guest Post by DeeAnna Merz Nagel
I mostly work from home and that can be challenging. How do I adjust my days so that I stay in flow and practice self-care? The balance is not always easy but the balance is important. I started the Online Therapy Institute a few years ago and anyone who has started a business knows how much time and energy the effort takes. I had already started a part time private practice seeing just a few clients a week in the office and a few clients a week online. After a couple of years (literally) of trying to find my work groove, balancing work at home, work in the office and occasional travel to conduct seminars and workshops, I finally found a rhythm that works for me.
I am an introvert by nature, so give me a cozy environment and a laptop, access to coffee and tea and a pastry or chocolate here and there, and I am golden. Sometimes the challenge is not to indulge my quiet side too much. So instead of stacking my client appointments to one day a week, I found it works better for me to see clients a few days a week. Even if I have one client during the day at the office, that gets me out of the house. So while I could arrange my work week so that I only go to the office one day a week, I purposefully plan my schedule differently.
I also found that when I work from home, I do well to move around in my space. I might sit at the desktop (properly- in an ergonomic chair at a desk) or I might sit on the sofa, or lounge in the guest room when on my laptop. Moving around gets me up and out of that “headspace” for a bit.
I also move around with my tasks, perhaps answering a few client emails in the morning and answering a few in the late afternoon. The rest of my day is filled with writing curriculums and answering trainee and consultancy questions. I use social media as a way to relax online. It is my communication portal and draws out the engaging side of me. I like the conversation and dialogue that social media can foster.
I also take breaks during the day to just play – whether that is reading something really gossipy or juicy on my new Kindle Fire, or watching a talk show, going to lunch with a friend or a colleague, or taking a few hours during the week for shopping or spa-like activities. Mostly, I try to lean into the mood I am in and when I am not creative or ready to begin work, I don’t fight it. I allow myself to putter and trust that the work mindset will kick in (it always does).
I am fortunate that my office is 5 minutes from my house and that I live in a small village on the Jersey Shore. I can live the quiet life and wave to the Manhattan skyline – only a ferry ride away! Working for myself allows me different luxuries that I do not take for granted. A nice spring day might give rise to seeing a matinee on Broadway. It is all right here at my fingertips – the world in cyberspace and the world outside my door. Finding balance to enjoy both the online and the offline world is important.
Today I woke up with every intention of finishing up a curriculum. Instead, I puttered with Polyvore and created an expressive piece about work: http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/set?.svc=twitter&id=43800377
Questions: What’s fun about your work? How do you keep it about you? Please tell us your story.
Self-Care Tip: Keep work about you and you’ll have more fun. Keep on.
DeeAnna Merz Nagel is psychotherapist, coach and consultant. She co-founded the Online Therapy Institute and the Online Coach Institute and is Managing Co-Editor of TILT Magazine ~ Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology. Her counseling and consulting specialties include relationship issues, alcohol and drugs, surviving abuse, internet addictions and understanding how technology impacts our lives. She offers online counseling and in-office psychotherapy in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. Find her at http://www.jerseyshoretherapy.com & http://www.trainingcoachesandtherapiststoworkonline.com
Glad you have found a good worklife balance working from home. I, too, work from home (for remote work) but primarily do contract project management training (out of state and internationally). The good parts of my job are that I am my own boss and I get to travel and set my own hours. The downside is that it is feast or famine and since the recession, I’ve had to forage more than ever to find bits and pieces of work to pay the bills.
At this point in my life (my children are grown and I am divorced) it is a solitary lifestyle and I miss the teamwork of being part of something bigger. On the other hand, when I had 5 employees 10 years ago, I had to essentially “babysit” them and their problems and gained little loyalty in return for outstanding pay (I paid them very well!)
Working from home is wonderful and being my own boss equally so. For those who need the comraderie or teamwork, it can be isolating, but for self-starters, it’s the best way forward!
thank u for telling us this part of your story carol. u captured so much. the sense of betrayal, the empowerment and the the accountability. thank u. keep on.
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I like this post, Sana! I don’t work from home, but I do work solo. After having the same employee issues that Carol mentioned, I have opted to work more hours rather than have a staff. I love my work atmosphere. I’m celebrating my 20th anniversary with my sign shop in April, and I added Beth Parker Art, which is mostly online, into the mix in 2008.
My business is in a small resort town on Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma. I stay involved with the community and local arts to keep me from being by myself too much. This week, I’m hitting a ground breaking and a chamber of commerce meeting, just to keep from staying isolated too much. I can spend 12 hours a day working in the sign shop and never get lonely, but I do think I need to get out among the people from time to time.
The first 4 years I was in business, I worked from home. I lived in the country and made the 2nd floor of my home into a sign shop. I’d get up to an alarm, shower and dress, work for a while, then go to the cafe in town and drink coffee with the local farmers, who had already done their first round of morning chores. I’d go back to work refreshed and up on all the latest news. I learned that it’s good for me to stay involved with people, even though I am totally happy being alone.
Oh my…. that was an essay. **giggle**
wow. beth i’ve loved hearing about you. thank u. u someone we all want to connect w.
For as long as I can remember, I have always thought of myself as an artist, studied to be an artist, taught others that they might become artists, and, for as long as I can remember, I have put MY art on the back burner…for others. I needed to be with the family on vacations. I needed to keep up with my homework. I needed to work during the summer. I needed to raise my kids. I needed to volunteer at school, scouts, PTA, church. I needed to…..
And now I’m retired. I can be the artist I have always wanted to be. I have the space, the time, the money (Well, maybe the money….). I can do MY artwork. BUT there is still the family, the church, the housework, the…the what? And MY artwork still comes last – or not at all. No, it’s not work that makes money and puts food on the table, but it’s work that I have always wanted to do – and, for Me now, need to do. I just don’t know how to convince myself that it should be a priority in my life. I don’t know how to allow myself to do what I have always ached to do. I have never been able to “make it about” me and that. for me, is incredibly, painfully frustrating.
not easy to befriend yourself all the time
I just read this quote by Earnie Larsen and Carol Larsen Hegarty and I thought Nancy would like it. Do your art, Nancy!
“Most would not think of work as a prize. That is often due to the concept we have of work.
Work can be that of an artist, the work of creation. Such work is not the response to a whistle or the boring activity that follows a punched time card. Creative work is the fullest human expression of being alive. It comes from the inside out and has no boss other than an inner demand to create a thing of beauty that previously did not exist.
The primary task of human beings is to creatively work at making our lives a remarkable thing of beauty. Whether we be butcher, baker, or candlestick maker there is always the opportunity to make a truly creative effort of a life’s work by pounding out our dents and polishing that which is already beautiful. When we understand that life is the medium and we are the canvas, our efforts to improve become an exciting challenge rather than a boring task.”
Thank you SO much for offering this, Beth. It will go on my bulletin board right in front of where I need to be working on my art projects every day. It speaks volumes to those of us who were brought up to think that, if we weren’t doing something to make money or help someone, our work wasn’t important. My mother even indicated that art was a waste of time…even when I was teaching it! (Strangely, she loved art books and museums!) Thank you. Thank you!!
You’re welcome, Nancy! When I’m creating art, I develop a warm and fuzzy center to my being that enhances everything else I do. Every part of my life is influenced by the artist inside me.
Listen to your inner artist, Nancy, and go forth to create! I’m so happy I could help in some small way.
Beth, u made all of us happier w your comments and engagement/connection. thx and big hug.
I’m working away from home most of the time at the moment, but when I am based there, I try to go for a walk at some point before I get computeritis. The breeze, the trees, the sky – all great tonics.
do u live in a suburban area or rural? nice to hear from u, friend.
Small village in rural setting.