There are a lot of self-proclaimed gurus out there, aren’t there?
Now I’m meeting and interviewing so many business-owners and freelancers, and working on my own business, scrolling my social media feeds is like viewing a conveyor belt of adverts for every niche of business. It’s like being back at uni Fresher’s Week with all the clubs and societies clamouring for my attention, trying to grab me with a witty one-liner.
“Hey, fancy a blow?” That was just the brass orchestra guy.
I mostly walk on by but it can be hard not to get swamped by ‘shiny object syndrome’, where you feel as if you need every new course, worksheet, step-by-step guide and expert’s top tips so you don’t make ‘the big mistake all entrepreneurs need to avoid’… You know what I’m saying?
When I decided to set up The Homeworker, it was out of an understanding for and a desire to help people juggling their work and home life when it’s all under one roof: Women trying to run a business from home whilst raising kids; busy employees desperate to quit the 9-5 and use their skills to grow a business; new and small-business owners who want a sense of belonging and not of isolation. Not because I’m a guru. Just because I’ve been there.
I know what I *ought to do* and I know what can work but I’m also human and flawed. I can get my head into the zone but I can also get stressed and feel overwhelmed.
Do I schedule, time-block and try to keep up my productive habits? Yes.
Do I sometimes lose my s*!t, feel as if I’ve wasted a day doing close to nothing but compare myself to other people on social media? Yep.
Do I start my day with herbal tea, a green smoothie, a workout and little pep talk? Yep. Sometimes. Do I also lie in bed, groaning about my two-year-old’s 3 am cry for cuddles, stumble, bleary-eyed into the kitchen to make porridge for two small hungry tummies and start my day in a zombie state, wearing some of that aforementioned porridge? Yep. Occasionally.
Do I have super-productive days, complemented by walks in the fresh air, talks with like-minded people and complete with a (little bit of a smug) feeling that I’m smashing it? Yes!
Do I also find myself hammering away at my laptop once the kids are asleep, (feeling oh so less smug), seeing my husband swan in from a day in the office followed by a gym session and feel massively resentful that all I’ve done is stay at home working, followed by staying at home feeding, bathing and putting kids to bed, followed by more working at home? Er, yes. Again, sometimes.
Do I generally feel happy, optimistic, grateful and love rooting for and cheering the success of others? Absolutely.
Have I also sat and ugly-cried that everything seems so hard and unfair and wondered if the woman with the six-figure a month, insta-worthy, lifestyle biz really does spend her days sipping mojitos on a fancy island, while raking in the money? I’m afraid so.
Do I eat a balanced, healthy diet to help stay energised, focused and alert? Sure.
Do I also sometimes power through lunch and then make up for it by inhaling half a box of chocolates that evening. Er… guilty!
Do I plan my day to the minute so that I have a satisfyingly, ticked-off to-do list by 5 pm? Sometimes.
Do I also pick and choose my tasks, drawn by how I’m feeling and where my head is at? Yes.
Do I raise happy kids, feed them nutritious food, spend quality time playing with them and have a productive work session during nap time? Yep.
Do I also have days where I’m tearing my hair out and they watch a bit too much Paw Patrol while I’m grappling to meet a deadline? You bet.
Basically, my point is that I am human. We are all human. I have great days, but I also have really not-so-great days. Days where I feel I’m wallowing and drowning and unsure of myself. Days where I wonder if I should pack it in to go back to the office job. Days when I want to scream at the four walls and throw my laptop out the window (rock n roll stylee – could be fun but expensive).
None of us ever have a perfect day every day. I don’t always have it all together and that’s just reality. Homeworking can be seen as the holy grail of work-life balance, yet it is often harder not to tip that balance when work is at home and home is, well, work.
I know all the ‘ought to dos’: The productivity hacks, the exercise, the meditations. I know when I do them, they work. I also know that the reality is I sometimes lose my way, I sometimes fall out of a good habit and have to work hard to steer myself back on course. None of us is perfect and I am constantly choosing to learn, because there’s always more to discover.
Just letting you know that I’m with you on this journey. I have skills, I have expertise, I have knowledge and I also have doubt and uncertainty and areas where I can learn more.
Running with the mantras of ‘progress not perfection‘ and ‘growth and learning only come from overcoming.’ It’s how we deal with the obstacles that prove our real character. Nothing is impossible.
You’re bloody amazing.
For articles on successfully working from home, how to overcome your challenges around feeling good enough, manging your time and staying productive, check out The Homeworker Magazine