Working from home means being on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your office is lurking in a corner of your house, calling you to do just one more thing over and over again. The result is long days, no days off, and weeks that in blend in to one another.
This week I had a meltdown. I could not pinpoint any one specific thing that triggered it, I just know that I felt unbelievably frustrated. In my head everything was going wrong, nothing was working, and I felt trapped. It felt weird. I am the person who always sees the silver lining. I always find a way around problems. I don´t get depressed. ´Never give up´ and all that positive mumbo jumbo. Except this week.
I know it was bad because my husband kept phoning to see how I was and offered to take the day off work and take the kids out so I could have some free time. Even the kids looked scared. When Mrs Motivator goes quiet, they think something is very, very, wrong.
Luckily I had to take my son to basketball and hang around for four hours, and then take him and his friends to the cinema. I wanted to watch the film as well as Guardians of the Galaxy looked funny, and boy did I need a dose of funny this week.
An hours drive to basketball, waiting for four hours, and two hours to get home after dropping them off. Thinking about it I was cursing about how much time I was going to waste, how ´busy´ I was and how I needed to be online. Blah, blah, blah.
Busy does not mean effective. Anyone who has worked from home knows that you can be sitting in front of the computer for hours - that doesn´t mean you get a lot of work done.
After waiting for hours, driving for miles and getting to bed at 3am in the morning, I felt like a new woman the next day.
- The basketball 3x3 tournament was at a coastal town so I got to walk along the beach and get some fresh air.
- I got to socialise with the other parents and have some adult conversation.
- The movie was really good fun and made me laugh more than I had in a long time.
- The kids and I also got to do something fun together instead of being stuck in the house while I was working.
It may seem obvious, but when working from home you often get so focused on what you are doing, you forget the power of taking time out. If I had stayed at home, there would have been nothing to get me out of my funk. I would have been miserable to live with and completely ineffective.
Working mothers definitely need to pay more attention to taking time out as they are so used to being available 24 hours a day. Add to that your business which has no closing time and a personal project you want to get off the ground and you have a meltdown brewing.
As soon as you start losing focus, as soon as you feel exhausted, frustrated or lacking in motivation - GET OUT. It could be something as simple as a walk around the block, going for a coffee, going for a run or meeting friends. The important thing is to break the funk because you are not doing yourself or those who have to live with you any favours!