Because I do. And I’m sure I’m not the only work-from-home type who does this.
What I imagine my day will look like and what it usually ends up looking like are two very different things on most days.
I like to pretend that I’ll get up at 6 when my husband’s alarm goes off, hop out of bed and take the dog for a walk– or better yet, a jog– then return home to shower and boot up my computer to start writing at 8am.
I’m so funny sometimes. Mainly because I keep imagining days like this will happen.
In reality, I try to get up at 6 or so. Some days I manage this, other days I can’t do it. Today I did get up at 6. I did walk the dog, although I watched a DVRed episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians first. Shut up, we all have guilty pleasures. I did shower and head down to start writing after that, but it was more like 10:15 rather than 8.
And once I settled in to start working, I realized I hadn’t vacuumed in days. Tumbleweeds of dog fur were drifting across the kitchen floor. I could see the dirt tracks my husband and I left around the living room after working outside all day yesterday. Plus there were 3 heaping baskets of laundry staring at me.
So I did some cleaning before I started writing. I would have been distracted by the to-dos if I had ignored them to start working. Then I answered emails, talked to my brother about some potential clients he has for me, and made a sandwich. It was lunch time after all.
Now it’s 2pm and I’m ready to start. It’s weird. I know. But this is how my brain works. I like mornings a lot. I enjoy getting things done, being up early, getting ahead on the day. But my writing/working brain doesn’t come alive until the mid-late morning and afternoon. I don’t know why. I just know I get the most work done later in the day. And I beat myself up about it all the time.
It’s not “normal.” My husband starts working at 7:30 am. That’s normal (ok, maybe that’s a little early). He stops at 3:30. Work ends for him. I write on and off into the evenings. I don’t keep “regular” hours. I’m not a storefront; no one is popping in to buy a hot cup of words from me in the morning. I work long enough to get everything done, but I don’t force myself to hunker down at 8am to start. I don’t close up shop at 5. I just don’t clock-watch like that.
I beat myself because I’ve always read about well-known, successful writers who keep strict writing schedules. They get up at 5 in the morning and write. A lot of writers are productive in the morning. I can work in the morning, but I always seem to push it off until later, filling the early hours with other tasks.
And a lot of normal workers are productive from 9-5. So what’s my problem?
It can be uncomfortable not fitting the norm when you do your own thing. But at least recognizing that I am productive and effective at what I do, just not first thing in the morning, is helpful for me. Some writers are night owls. I go to bed pretty early, but I have stayed up late writing before. Other writers get up early to start working.
Maybe my brain just needs a few hours to start creating good ideas before I write. Maybe the 9-5 “norm” is totally counter to how most people work (I believe this is probably true). Maybe I just like to work how I want to work, when I want to work.
I like this because it allows for breaks, more than one time a day, where I can clear my head before going back to work. Studies have shown that people have 45 minutes attention spans. Good–I’ll work for around an hour, do something else for a while, then get back to work. This makes me more productive. And happier. I guess being a little abnormal is worth it then.
Do you beat yourself up because of the hours you keep if you work from home? Do you conform to the typical “workday” prototype, or do you make it your own?