An Integrated Life
Posted by Gail | Filed under Thinking Out Loud
I’ve been working from a home-office for about two decades. Back when I started, it wasn’t chic. In fact, it was frowned upon by many companies. Back then if you didn’t have a “real” office, you weren’t serious about your business. Thing is, I could never thoil spending money on rent for commercial office space when all I needed was a desk, computer and telephone. Carving it out from my home space meant that I was not only controlling my company overhead, I was able to build an integrated life.
My To Do List isn’t segmented by “home” or “work.” I know I have to get a bunch of things done each day, week, month, and where or when I get those things done is irrelevant. So my List Book has everything in no particular order, including “get groceries” and “send invoice.” When I go to pick Boyo up from school, I’m answering email or checking in with Twitter on my phone while I wait for the bell to ring. When I’m creating a presentation for a client and need to take a break to clear my head, I fold some laundry, unpack the dishwasher or water my plants.
When the kids were younger, I’d have them do their homework beside me as I worked. We could talk, I could answer questions, we were together. Sure, this couldn’t be my highly creative, big-concentration work… but I could file, respond to emails, return messages and keep my life in order as Baby Girl and I did our homework together.
I can cook, clean, garden, write (or think about writing), plan, communicate, share all from my home-office. When I need a break, I climb on my couch and have a nap or I head to the grocery store to pick up the makings for dinner. I send off business mail and do my business banking on the way to pick up new vacuum bags.
I’ve learned to keep an extra pair of fancy shoes in the car to deal with impromptu meetings. I’ve learned not to obsess over things no one will remember in five years. And I don’t think of myself as split into separate roles: mom, broadcaster, writer, book-lover. Instead, I find a way to make each of those – and many other – roles integrate so I have a balanced life.
People sometimes ask me if I’m a work-a-holic. I don’t think so. I love my work, so it often doesn’t even feel like work. But I also take lots of time to garden, read, knit, and watch TV… although I do this off DVDs or itunes since I’m in bed early when all the good shows are on regular TV. I get up early, usually at about 5 a.m., and hit the hay by 9 p.m., when I read, listen to stories and play games on my ipad for about an hour while my brain unwinds. If I have had a long day previously, I grab a nap. A 20-40 minute kip recharges me so I can do Part 2 of my day.
Having an integrated life means I get everything I need accomplished. Last year I wrote 2 books, made 32 episodes of Princess, made a half-dozen presentations, blogged daily for my site, and for MoneySense.ca, wrote about a dozen articles, answered hundreds of questions. And that was just some of the work. Home was even busier. I have a great life and I know it. Integration lets me have so much more than if I were trying to keep it all separate.