I’m a week into my new routine. I get up reasonably early and go for a walk. Coming home, I feed the cats and do my journal. That takes half an hour to forty-five minutes, letting me focus on my goals for the day while the house is still quiet. Well, except for this morning, when one of my cats decided my feet were the most fascinating things in the world. After I do the journal, I pop open the iPad and get started on the rewrite I’m doing on an old manuscript. That’s supposed to be my focus for the morning. Lunch with my husband, usually at home, though we’re allowing ourselves to go out once a week. I work on the new office space for a while, then update my website or another administrative task. Social media crops up in odd places, though I was mostly absent last week.
Around six o’clock, I call an end to the workday and settle in to read, knit, and catch up with television. The husband and I wander off to bed not too late, and I drift off to sleep knowing the alarm won’t be waiting for me in the morning.
Can I confess something? If I read a post like this on Instagram — usually accompanied by perfectly framed and lit photos — I snort and go, “Yeah, right. That’s not my life. Except… it kinda is now.
Last Monday was everything I’d imagined. I walked, I noted my day’s goals and tasks in my journal. I wrote like mad, made tacos for lunch, cleaned out a bunch of junk from my new office space, and worked on my website. When I called it a day, I’d worked ten hours and felt great.
Then we hit Tuesday. The walk was fine, but…
- One of the cats threw up, and another one left a present where they shouldn’t.
- My father-in-law got up very early and decided he needed to make small talk while in the kitchen. Painful, awkward small talk.
- All this was happening while I was trying to set my goals and tasks for the day.
- The internet went out, causing a panic in the husband. (It was out for less than five minutes.)
- The panic meant he texted me from the back of the house. And texted me again a minute later when I didn’t respond immediately.
- As I’m trying to make certain I don’t lose my work since I’d been trying to save when the internet blipped (we’re so changing providers), the husband comes out to ask if I’ve gotten his texts and do I know the internet is down? (Dear Reader, I snarled.)
- After he retreats, my father-in-law wanders into the kitchen and decides he needs to explain how the internet works.
- He does not understand how the internet works.
- The husband accidentally doesn’t pull the back door closed firmly enough and our oldest cat gets out for five minutes.
Funny, but the rest of the week was closer to Tuesday rather than Monday. I did put in 30 hours on writing last week and got a tremendous amount of work done. I was working nine to ten-hour days and not feeling it. In fact, it felt like I was on vacation. There’s a danger in this. If you feel as if you’re on vacation, it’s much easier to blow the work off, and I noted this happening once or twice. Fortunately, I got myself back on track, and it feels different this week, more like a steady state. That’s probably a good thing because I need this to feel like work, that this is the job I do. Not because I want it to feel dreadful and awful (I’ve pulled a lot of long days in the job I just left), but because I need to take it seriously. Because if I don’t, then I can’t ask anyone else to.
That includes having to set boundaries. There is some leeway, but I can’t just spend an hour in the middle of the day watching YouTube videos. Well, I can, but I shouldn’t. Yes, I did take time out to watch the new Spiderman: Far From Home trailer, but that’s part of the fun of working from home. (Seriously, if you haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame, don’t watch the trailer. There are major spoilers.) But I need to drill it into my husband’s head that just because I’m home, I’m not available at the drop of a hat. By the way, the internet came back after just a few minutes, so, if he’d just waited — like he used to do when I was at the office — there wouldn’t have been an issue. But that’s all part of this journey, and I know there will be days when things will go out the window. I just need to minimize that happening.
But as we start the second week, I’m still loving this and don’t want it to end.
How about you? What keeps you going when things get crazy?