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When you work in an office environment ensconced by coworkers and a 9-5 schedule, it's easy for friends and relatives to understand why you are occupied for the better part of the day. People know the demands and constrictions that come with working-full time – in the conventional sense, that is.
It seems to be more abstract and far harder to grasp when you work from home and create your own schedule. I noticed this shift in the attitudes of others when I made the switch from my office job to writing a book from home. Suddenly people were acting as though I didn’t even have a job – not a conventional one, at least.
More requests for help in the middle of the day trickled in and I kept hearing about how lucky I was to be free of the daily grind. A lot of people couldn’t quite grasp the fact that I still worked, that making my own schedule and fostering a creative environment where I could churn out pages everyday was a real challenge.
Rather than having a place I could go that was conducive to productivity, I had to create that space in my own home. I had to make a schedule that I could keep everyday to maintain a consistent work pace. And I had to find time to get in some semblance of social interaction so this new experience didn't become isolating. I really underestimated how the workplace can be a big a part of your social life.
It has taken four months to really find a new work-life balance, even though both of those things are occurring in the same room. And, now that I am halfway through the book, I have learned a lot about what it takes to have both self-discipline and to communicate my new needs and feelings to others.
I suggest everyone take at least one crack at self-employment and detour to self-discovery at some point in their careers. It’s hard work.