I have a love/hate relationship with a home office.
You can’t beat my five second commute and I love being master of my office attire. Pajamas, shorts, t-shirts or jeans–it doesn’t matter because I wear what is comfortable.
There are no interruptions from the person in the cubicle next to me. I don’t have to deal with biological warfare, bad singing or burnt microwave popcorn.
Truth is most days I love it and have no interest in going back to having to commute somewhere.
But there are moments where it is more challenging.
Sometimes people have the mistaken and misguided impression that because I work out of a home office I am available to take care of chores or get involved in conversations I wouldn’t be available for if I worked out of aÂ traditionalÂ office.
There is no doubt my arrangements provide flexibility that wouldn’t otherwise exist and that I can adjust my schedule to do things during the business day that I might not otherwise be able to attend to.
But I can’t do it every day and I still have to do the work I would have done.
It doesn’t disappear just because I went to the school’s winter festival or some athletic event. If I take two hours off to do those things you shouldn’t be surprised that I’ll come back and work two more hours later in the day.
And you shouldn’t be upset that I am not available for conversations all day long.
We all have deadlines and we all have responsibilities but as a writer I live by deadlines. As a project manager/marketer I live by deadlines and when I don’t hit them I want it to be because someone other than me dropped the ball.
I hate missing deadlines and it rarely happens because I am conscious of my time.
Maybe I am more conscientious about it because I have had to bill my own hours many times. Maybe I am more conscious of it because I know what my hourly rate and it is easy for me to put a number to hours away from my desk.
When I worked in an office I had no problem asking people to let me work because I was on deadline so it is not any different to me to do it at home.
Except for one giant distinction.
The people who interrupt me the most are my family and they are the reason I work so damn hard. They are also the reason why I worked so hard to find a job that had this kind of flexibility.
Sometimes I look back and wonder what it would have been like to have done this when the children were infants and toddlers. Sometimes I wonder how much I missed because I was in that office and or traveling. Sometimes I wonder if it wasn’t easier for me to have been in an office because back then they were always ar0und and now they are in school.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter because I can’t turn the clock back. There is no Delorean or Doc Brown to help me go back or try to send me back to the future.
And that is ok.
I am happy being present. Most of the time it is pretty damn good having a home office. Most of the time the dog keeps me company and if I need someone to talk to he listens.
Hell, he listens better than everyone and as long as he doesn’t see that squirrel outside he tends to be the best kind of companion.
Still I am very conscious of how fast time is moving. The kid that made me a father is a teenager and high school is just around the corner, won’t be long before he heads out and a short blip longer before his sister goes.
Sometimes time moves too quickly.