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The Work at Home Myth
Everyone who has dreams on how to make money working at home also has visions of working in their pajamas at their own casual pace. Their music is playing softly in the background, the children are quietly doing puzzles on the floor, and you now have the time to volunteer at the kid's school. You'll even have time to use those exercise tapes and free weights gathering dust in your basement. No long commute, no bagged lunches, no more power suits.
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My Typical Day
Unfortunately, the reality of how to make money working at home is not quite that easy. If you're thinking about working from home, let me tell you what a typical day is like for me, and you'll get a sense of what life is like in a home office.
My typical day begins at 5:30 just before waking up my oldest for middle school. While he's eating and getting ready, I often check emails and write out my to-do list for the day. When both of the boys are out the door I really get to work, usually by 8:30 am. I set out to write until about 3:00 when my oldest gets home from school. Unfortunately, the rest of the world does not see my to-do list as anything more than chicken scratch. So, here is a nice list of what gets in the way of the perfect afternoon between my computer and me:
- Phone calls from telemarketers; I did the do-not-call thing, maybe it is time to re-file my request. Thank goodness for caller ID, of course when it rings, the phone is no where to be found. So, I must first frantically run around to find it so I can find out if it's someone I don't have time to talk to.
- Oh look, I made a new friend on Facebook. I can't be rude and ignore them.
- The school calls to see if I can sub next week, of course I say "yes" and add it to my iCal.
- My brother calls and asks "What cha' doing?".... "I'm Working"....and he then goes on to explain how I can help him with his new website (for free of course). He really does not understand that I am indeed trying to make money working at home.
- The little old lady from some religious group is here again. I just can't be rude to her, and even though I have explained that I believe differently, she comes with her pamphlets and I politely listen for 10 minutes.
- I bought some great snacks at the grocery store yesterday and they are calling rather loudly from the kitchen.
- We are out of milk and bread, and if I don't go to the store now, I will have to go tonight. I hate grocery shopping at night.
- If I at least start the laundry, it will not pile up so quickly.
Once the boys are home, work time is over! We start homework, I start dinner, and mommy's taxi service is in full swing. Between the two of them, boxing lessons, baseball tryouts, and basketball practices take up five evenings a week. (Don't get me started on the weekends!) The hubby does do some of the driving and I may get some work squeezed in between 7:00-8:30. Normally, I get back to the computer by 9:30 and work until midnight. I think the toughest part of making money working at home is that it's always there, and if I happen to have any "free time", I think I should be at the computer working. I feel guilty just hanging out in the evenings or heading out for a bike ride, work is on the brain 24/7.
Don't get me wrong, I love working at home and would not give it up for anything. I wish it paid more at times, but the trade off is that my children don't have to go to any sort of child care and I am here when they get home from school. If you are looking at taking on a telecommuting position, there are things you can do to avoid the pitfalls mentioned above. We will look at those in part two of this series.