My loves and don't loves about working from home

I've been working from home for over a year now.  Like I said, due to a layoff I was let go from a job I had for 11 years.  No hard feelings, not even when it happened.  I think I was ready to move on.  What I found out quickly is that without a nursing degree, I'm not "qualified" to do the job I've been doing for over a decade.  Ridiculous, I know.  I have been doing THIS particular job for a LONG time.  However, the powers that be feel that I should have an education in physically caring for patients, who, by the way, is something I won't be doing in the course of this job.

Luckily, back in 2011 I started working for a 3rd party data abstraction company.  That's a pretty vague description but I don't want to get too deep into that.  It's brought in a nice stream of second income, sometimes more than the first job did.  It's kept my family afloat, even if I'm not always available to enjoy the ride.  When I lost my main job, I still had this one.  Luckily shortly before the layoff I picked up a huge account that was going to be enough to make up for a little more than half of my hospital salary. 

Since then I've been lucky to keep that income coming, but contract work can be unsteady so I'm always a little worried that my clients are gonna decide to start doing the work in house, and I'm out of a contract.  I have some money in savings to get us through an extra month, and I know I CAN get a job.  I have a good education.  I also simply try to do my best work, keep a good outlook on life, and simply keep hope.

So since it's been a year, I think I can safely make a good assessment of what I love and don't love about it. 

  • Flexible hours.  This is a nice feature but one I can't take advantage of. I currently have two clients.  I know approximately how large the work load is as well as how fast they need it done.  So while I may be able to take a random day off, by plan or by circumstance; I also know that if I slack off too long, I will run out of time end up working all day and night to catch up.   
  • More time with my family.  The exact reason I don't want to be working all day and night.  I enjoy not having to rush thru making dinner.  I have time to help the kids with their homework and listen to stories about whatever they want to talk about.  I can sit outside with the man while he works on the car, although that leads to me helping him somehow, which I hate doing.  I enjoy having time for the family if they need me.
  • Time to run errands.  Its nice to have time to get things done.  If I have a doctors appointment, I can make it almost any time of the day.  Minus drop off and pick up times for the kids, I have the whole day.  I can run errands thru the day and work in the evening if I need to.  I can go grocery shopping without watching the clock.  However, I have been using Instacart to do my grocery shopping.  I love that app.
  • Television.  I love being about to watch TV while I work. Enough said.
  • No traffic.  This is a huge selling point.  My commute was 55 miles each way, 5 days a week.  The drive took anywhere from 45 minutes to work (if I left before 5AM) to 3 hours home (if I left after 3:30 PM).  This also meant a lot of money spent on gas.  I used to fill my gas tank every 3rd day. 10-12 times a month.  Now I only fill my tank every 9 or 10 days.  That is a lot of money to save.
  • Working alone.  This is a nice thing.  There's no workplace drama.  There's no interruptions or people looking over my shoulder on a daily basis.  I do have oversight and people who check my work, be it a colleague or the client, however it's not every day or every few hours.  No workplace drama (although I admit I do kinda miss the gossip).
These are all great things.  I love working from home.  I work a lot, and often.  I am making enough to support my family and be home with them. 

Now there are things I don't love about working from home.  I don't hate them.  I don't hate anything about this job, but there are some downsides.
  • It's hard to stay disciplined.  It is really important to stay disciplined and stay on the schedule I give myself.  Without that, its easy to get too far behind.  Each chart I work on, takes 20 minutes to an hour.  I never know how long it's going to take until I open the chart and get in there so if I run behind, push some work to the next day and then get 3-4 bad charts, that can take up a lot of time that I would be doing other things.  It's easy to get distracted, with the kids, the animals, housework etc.  I try to focus 1-2 hours at a time, and then take short breaks.  I try to only work about 5 hours a day every day.  If I stay focused, I can be done working by 1PM every day.  If I get distracted, I can end up working until 7PM!  Its easy to think I have all the time in the world, but really- I don't.
  • Becoming a hermit.  I admit, lately I don't really want to leave the house.  I like being home in my house with my family and my dogs.  I also enjoy my time alone.  I may like it a little too much, to be honest. I am doing my best to meet up with friends when I can, and not give in to the desire to stay in all the time.
  • Eating.  It's easy to eat all day long.  This hasn't been great on my ass.  I don't move around enough.  I've put on some weight. Lately I've been putting better food options in the house.
  • Lots of interruptions.  The thing about being at home, is that I'm at home.  My house can be a pretty busy place sometimes.  There is the man, three kids, two dogs, two cats and a turtle.  Most of the chores are done by me.  Not all of them, but the ones I don't do, I have to remind, coordinate and check on (otherwise they don't get done).  It's easy to get interrupted, and side tracked. 
  • Losing track of time.  I keep a calendar, but it's easy to lose track of what day it is.  I know that on Wednesday the kids have an alternative school schedule.  Of course they are off on the weekends.  Summer is gonna be a blur. 
  • Because I can work any time, it's easy to work ALL the time.  I enjoy my work.  I really do.  It's important work that changes the way patients are cared for.  That means something to me.  Also, the money is good, so I am always open to take on new clients when given the chance.  I need to make sure I manage my time correctly otherwise all I do is work and I have no time to relax.  I have to remember to give myself time to relax. 
Overall, its a great gig if you can get it.  I can work in my pajamas.  I don't have to wear a bra.  I can vape and chat with friends during the day.   But it's not always easy.  I do feel lucky to have this opportunity and while I may not be able to do it forever, I'm definitely hoping to continue to do it as long as I can.

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