Coffee Shop Hipsters.
The Popular Crowd at the local Co-Working Space.
This is the glamorous side of remote work. But what about people to who working remotely means barely leaving home? Those whose travel adventures don’t extend past the neighborhood supermarket, and occasionally the park if they’re lucky?
I’m not saying this is always me, but since I’ve been working from home I have gone through periods where I haven’t left the house but once a week. In fact, I spent a whole year in go-out-once-a-week mode. By the end of it, I had never been so badly in need of a tan in my life. Yes, this happened because I was busy, but it also happened because I got so comfortable with just being at home.
For some remote workers, what not reporting an office really means is being able to take a spouse or the kids to doctors appointments without calling out, helping a friend run an errand, not having to miss a day when there’s a hurricane, or escaping having to trudge through snow and ice to get to work.
In other words, there’s no excuse for a remote worker not be productive and still get to attend to other everyday needs of life.
There may be no backpack, hiking boots or taking a selfie on a mountaintop with a laptop. If that does happen it’s an every-now-and-then thing instead of an everyday thing.
Here is a typical remote workday for a work at home parent. Do you think this is the craziest schedule you’ve ever seen or if is it the true definition of work-life balance?
5.49 am – Waking up 19 minutes late doesn’t promote a feeling of overachievement, but it’s still early enough for morning meditation and a good stretch.
6.30 am – The first kid is out the door and dropped off at the bus stop. It’s time to answer emails and check the calendar for the day.
7 am – Time to get dressed and have breakfast and coffee. This can be an even-paced hour or hyper-busy depending on how many incoming calls from co-workers or clients need to be taken in between. By 8.30 am, kids #2 and 3 are out the door and on their way to school.
8.30 am – It’s work time in full effect. From here on it’s imperative to do everything possible to ignore what’s going on the kitchen, the laundry room and everywhere else that’s not about making money.
11.00 am – After two hours of straight productivity it’s time for a break. Actually, dinner needs to be started. It’s really fast to chop up some onions, potatoes, carrots, cubed beef, and throw it in a pot with some seasoning. It’s also time to grab a morning walk to promote good circulation because as a great fitness leader once said: “Circulation heals the body…”
11.20 am – After 11 EST hits, it’s time for interaction. People are awake now from coast-to-coast, have digested their caffeine, and there are demands coming from all directions.
3 pm – There’s a lull in the workday and kids are coming home from school. After settling them in, ensuring homework is started, they’ve got their snacks, etc, it’s time to get back online for more meetings, planning for the next day, and anything else that awaits.
5.30 – 6 pm – This can vary, but the workday is winding down. Everyone is eating dinner and the next step will be evening activities. Those activities could include reading for school or work, sports, social activities, meditation…or anything.
Anything from housework to personal planning is included in this time of day which usually extends into the night until after the kids have gone to bed.
Don’t forget the nightcaps. Sometimes 11.30 pm is the most interesting time for focused creativity, productivity, or a deep conversation.
It’s also the time that you can be exhausted but thankful that after going to sleep, you won’t have to wake up and head out into traffic in the morning.
Being a remote work husband/wife/parent may not have the appeal of living abroad, traveling endlessly without a tether, or telecommuting while hanging out seaside.
But it offers something that is so meaningful to the loves of your life, big and small, and that is your presence. There’s nothing else that can make such a difference to their minds, bodies, and souls.