I have now been “on my own” for five months. Five glorious months without hoping I could leave an hour early to take my son to the doctor, sending in my vacation requests six months ahead of time, and dealing with a lot of other ugliness that I had grown tired of. The last five months have been very busy, sometimes stressful, but always rewarding.
It has been a learning process and there has definitely been a learning curve. My biggest problem: stopping work. When asked what I do for a living (own a business/work at home) I often get “wow – I do not think I could stay focused and work at home” – which I then respond – “I have the exact opposite problem, I cannot seem to stop working”. I have had to learn to deal and re-define “immediacy”. When you have multiple clients, work on multiple projects, and also get a steady stream of new and potential clients, it is easy to spend a good chunk of the day simply responding to email.
About a month ago, I decided to set up a priority list so I was less stressed about work flow and could handle my priorities better. Not surprisingly, one of my respected colleagues – Alex King – recently wrote a post on how he handles priorities which is very close to what I came up with.
I handle my priorities very similarly and added one additional top priority: “don’t forget to stop working because there will always be one more request or one more unread email”. I have been able to spend more time with my son, golf more, and feel less stressed. This is not to say that I do not have the occasional long hours or working weekends, but I now can see that those are for the most part optional and not mandatory. I love what I do and work hard, but at the end of the day I work to live, not live to work.