Sunday, June 19, 2016

If It Doesn't Work, Try Something Else

Posted by: R.L. Naquin
Zebra headphones, polka-dot fan, and empty Starbucks cup.
Yep. This is mine.
Working from home is hard. I know. To a lot of people, that sounds like I'm complaining that my diamond shoes are too tight and my sports car just goes too darned fast.

Please believe me. I am immensely grateful that I get to do what I love full time from anywhere I choose to do it. 

But I would still argue that working from home isn't easy. Even without kids in the house (my nest is now officially empty) the distractions are still there. My husband understood on a theoretical level until he stayed home sick one day and worked from home while I was out. The truth was eye-opening once he experienced it for himself.

When I got home, he was shocked. "How do you ever get anything done?" he asked. On that particular day, my daughter had been there all morning before going off to work. (She still lived with us at the time.) She was gone maybe ten minutes before my son came home to have lunch. (He works closer to our house than his, and I keep healthy lunch food stocked so he'll stop eating pizza every day.) The boy wasn't gone twenty minutes when UPS knocked on the door with a delivery.

At some point, I think my husband, despite being sick and also trying to work, got up and washed the dishes, tossed in a load of laundry, and broke up several arguments between one of our cats and my daughter's cat. 


In the meantime, I have grown farther and farther behind on the projects I'm working on because I have zero ability to block it all out. Okay. Not zero. I'm on my ninth novel in five years, but it's been slow going.

Help was on the way, and I didn't know it. See that picture up a the top? That's my new desk in my shared office downtown. Two of my friends wanted to get an office to work in, and I went in on it with them. It's not a big room, but it fit three desks and chairs, a bookcase, and a beanbag chair. My yoga mat is rolled up and ready against the wall, and one of my beloved white boards is hanging behind where I sit. 

The best part? My friends have regular day jobs, so they're using the office in the evenings and on weekends. I'm in there all by myself during the day.

There's a diner downstairs for days when I want a hand-dipped milkshake or a bowl of chili. Or a glass of wine, because I live in a cool town where even the diners are awesome. Also, they have pancakes. And pie. And donuts. 

Seriously, how can this be bad?

Okay, I do see how this could be bad, but rather than sitting in my house all day, I'm now parking my car in a parking garage and walking several blocks a day. So, that's another win, even if I whine about it every day.

Is it working? Yes. Yes it is. My productivity is way up, my concentration is sharper, and I actually see other people from time to time throughout the day, so I'm not so isolated. Some days I still work from home. And guess what--it's not as hard anymore. 

So, the lesson I want to share is this: If something's not working in your life, try something else. Change it up. If it doesn't work, try something else. But don't keep struggling when there's something you can do about it. 

Plus, there might be pancakes as a reward.

Rachel writes stories that drop average people into magical situations filled with heart and quirky humor.

She believes in pixie dust, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks and putting things off until the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas. Rachel has one husband, two grown kids and a crazy-catlady starter kit.

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