Saturday, August 1, 2009

Working from Home in the Summer

Summer is a difficult time to be working out of a home office. When I first began working out of the home instead of in an office, I did it right. I set up an office area with my own computer and printer, files, resources, office phone, and, most importantly, a door. I made lists, designated office time, and worked efficiently during those hours. Eventually, as my children grew and were eventually gone to school all day, and with the purchase of my first laptop, I found myself migrating to my favorite areas in the house to work instead of staying in my office. It was sunnier in my kitchen, beautiful in my garden, comfortable in my living room, and so that is where I found myself working.

There have been a few days this summer that have forced me to retreat back to my office just to get things done. Friday was one of those days! My husband was getting ready to leave for a hiking trip with his friends and sat down next to me in the kitchen to talk just as I was reviewing a client's notes for a business plan that I am helping him write and preparing for a telephone interview which was to take place in 45 minutes. We had plenty of time to talk prior to that moment, but he was busy packing. I did take my phone call in my office, but was interrupted by my 17 year old answering the home phone and actually bringing it to me while I was talking on my business phone. Trying to restrain the sarcasm in my voice I asked her to take a message. Then I was interrupted when my daughter left for work, my husband left on his trip, my son needed me to take him to the store, and so the entire day continued. By 5:30 I didn't feel as though I had accomplished much at work, and I hadn't taken a working vacation day either (you know, the days when you decide that you are going to take a vacation day to get all of your housework and errands accomplished). It was sort of that land in between that work-at-homes experience.

As I thought about this, however, I realized that I have actually become spoiled by the focused quiet time that I get during the school year when I am working at home. I remember back to the days in my cubby in the corporate world when I was interrupted constantly by team members, colleagues, and bosses with questions, requests, demands, or just to chat. So, while I may be lax with my workspace during the school year, I need to reinstate my office rules during the summer months when everyone is home and when my husband takes much of his vacation so that I can get my work done and actually enjoy some vacation time with my family before the winter snow flies again.

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