Before I made the jump to fulltime freelancer, I used to picture what my life would be like if or when I was working from home, making my own schedule and chasing down my own goals. I had a beautiful, ideal picture of the way my days would go, that included a spotless house, energetic, early morning exercise, productive workdays, and relaxed afternoons spent in the garden or working on a house project. Not that my expectations were totally out of line–they were simply a bit sugar-coated. Of course it’s unrealistic to assume that a new job will make your entire life perfect. Case in point, my house is probably messier now than it ever has been. (I still haven’t figured out why this is, but I’m working on it.)
It hasn’t been quite a month, so I’m a complete newbie when it comes to this whole fulltime freelancing/working from home thing. However, I’ve learned a few things along the way, partly from my own limited experience, and partly from the advice of others who have been doing this for awhile. Here are my thoughts in a nutshell (or maybe a bucket).
First off, let there be no doubt, I absolutely love my “new reality”. It’s hard to describe the profound thrill I get every time I realize that this is my new life, that I no longer answer to a boss, have to request days off, or need to squeeze business tasks into weekday evenings. I love the freedom I have each day. I love deciding how my hours will be spent, and working hard on something I am truly passionate about. I love knocking off early, and spending Friday afternoons with my husband, doing whatever we please. I love knowing that all my efforts are leading to something bigger, and that the decisions I make and tasks I accomplish today will impact me tomorrow, and in years to come. It’s exciting, freeing, fulfilling, and… terrifying.
The flip side of the coin is that all this freedom requires a tremendous amount of discipline and drive. I remember telling my husband, months ago, that if I were ever to quit my job and work fulltime from home, I would struggle more with workaholism than I would with laziness. I was homeschooled, and I think I learned allot about discipline during those years. I’m self-motivated, and it’s easy for me to stay focused on the tasks at hand. What I struggle with is telling myself it’s okay to enjoy lunch with a friend, quit early for the day, or take a long weekend. My father instilled in me a very strong work ethic, and I am so grateful. However, I also have his tendency to never stop moving and going. I put pressure on myself to make this business a success, bring in a supplemental income for our household, and use my time wisely.
With all that being said, I am still utterly content in this place, as I learn to balance work, home, and my own personality. I learned a long time ago that life is not on the horizon, in the “someday”, or around the bend. It is right now; here today, in this very moment. So, I take the profound and thrilling sense of freedom I get from this experience, and put in next to my own fears of working too much or not enough, of failing or falling, and I charge forward into today. Because, after all, today is all I have. Tomorrow is no guarantee. I want the things I do today to matter, right now, and in ten years. So I set out to accomplish tasks that will take me somewhere, and at the same time, try to make time for the small, seemingly insignificant moments that really matter. Because isn’t life really about this balance of big and small, important and simple, future and present? Therein lies the crux.
Before I go on much longer, or get any more deeply introspective, I think I’ll wrap this up. However, I’ll be back again soon, because I want to keep this conversation open. I have more to share about setting goals, as well as a handful of practical pieces of advice on daily work habits, routines, and the like. If you have specific questions for me, feel free to ask, and I’ll do my best to answer. Stay tuned, my dears!