Short Story: How I Started Hating My Office Space

home office

In August 2016, I rented office space. My reasons were pure. As someone who worked from home, I struggled with separating my work life from my home life. When I was working, I felt guilty because I wasn’t doing typical homemaking things. When I was doing typical homemaking things, I felt guilty that I wasn’t working. So, I found a nice size single office at an affordable rate that included my Internet. Up until the last month or so, the experience (overall) was fine. However, I started to hate it. Here’s how I started hating my office space.

I Felt Rushed Every Day

When you’re paying for office space, you feel obligated to use it. And I was no exception. I am definitely more focused in my own space. There are fewer distractions. Yet, between school obligations for the school-age children, martial arts practices for my husband and one of my sons, and appointments for the Baby Bull, I always felt rushed. I started freelancing to take control of my time…not to feel like I’ve got more obligations.

I Hate Whiners

I understand whining with children. Children have to learn that life is tough and that they are tougher. I hate whining from adults who are on the job. There is a difference between the occasional whining session that most of us have and people who think they are entitled to an easy life. Life is not easy. I hate whiners. The walls here are thin. To the right of my office, is a business owner who does construction and roofing. I like him. It’s his son / assistant that drives me batty. He always has something to bitch about. It’s never a well-worded suggestion that shows how business practices can be improved. It’s always a complaint about how awful it is that he has a job and has to work.

Loud Noises

I can tolerate loud noise from my children. I can tolerate occasional loud noises in a traditional work atmosphere. These new neighbors on the other side of me? Just…no. I lost a contract because of their nonsense. They just seem to have no common sense.

Always Inside

I’m not getting outside as much as I used to…to be fair, though, it’ summer in Oklahoma – so being outside during certain times of the day is fucking miserable. However, early mornings and evenings are better. Right now, I am almost always inside. Officing from home again means more opportunity to not be stuck inside out of obligation. It was so great a couple of weeks ago when I got to work outside at the lake while Red Bull fished.

No Time for Certain Hobbies

Because I always feel rushed to get here, get my work done, and get home so others can get to where they need to be, I feel like I have no time for certain hobbies I really love. I have a lot of hobbies. When I get stressed out, I don’t want to do any of them…that, in turn, exacerbates my stress. I feel like I don’t have the time I need to unwind despite having my own space.

So, I’m moving my office back home.

Dealing with Isolation & Minimizing Burnout

mr bean

When you work from home, even if you’re around your family all the time, you’re going to feel isolated. You may feel lonely. You may feel trapped. You start working from home out of necessity and you dream about all the freedom that you just know you’ll have. And then? Then? Work at home life slaps you square in the face. With its giant costume jewelry ring. Across your cheekbone.

Suddenly, you find yourself working all kinds of hours. You find yourself thinking about work when you’re doing things with your family. You balance your client needs, housework, and family responsibilities. You just figure that once you die, you’ll get to rest.

That’s isolation in a nutshell. Your freedom begins to feel like chains. So, what’s a girl to do?

Get Out of the House

Yes, really. Even when you have a million deadlines looming. Get out of the house. Go to the park. Go workout. Go to the library. Take your kids swimming. I advocate that you leave your laptop at home…but sometimes even taking your laptop and working from another location can seem life changing.

The longer you stay in the house, the crazier you will become. I’m probably a legitimate recluse. I have zero problem keeping my own company, but even I need an occasional change of scenery. I’m currently sitting in my backyard.

Enjoy the Perks

Everyone wants to work at home ’cause…no pants. At least, theoretically. Pajamas are a standard dream. Those little things eventually get old. There are studies that show people who work from home are more productive. We tend to get more done in less time…and as a result, we tend to continue to put more and more on our plate. Before long, we’re just as stressed out (or more stressed out) as we were when we were in a more traditional job.

Sometimes you just have to stop what you’re doing and enjoy the perks. I like sitting outside while I work. I like to sometimes take a hot bath in the middle of the day. I like to go to the store when most people are at work.

Make a short list of things you were excited to do when you decided to work from home. Then, do those things. You don’t have to do them every day.

You Gotta Take Care of You

Every work at home parent has this moment where we realize all it feels like we do is work and make sure everyone else gets what they need. And when we want or need time to do something we want or need to do, we feel selfish.

We’re not selfish. We can’t expect anyone else to tell us to stop working and do what we want or need to do. Because we’d probably tell them to go to hell because we have responsibilities and deadlines. We ARE the business. And we MUST take care of ourselves which means we are happier when we work.

Day 1 Recap

So, day 1 was supposed to be fruit only. Yeah…how about no…. I was grumpy by noon. I usually eat a breakfast full of protein. No matter how much fruit I ate, I was still hungry. And have I mentioned I don’t care much for sweets (including fruit)? So, I went to the store about noon. I bought a block of cheese. I also bought two of those little tortilla roll-ups with bacon, turkey, and cheese. I was much happier after that.

Dinner was stir-fried cauliflower rice with vegetables. No meat. It was really good (we’ve had it before). I did weigh myself this morning. Despite being a cheater, the scale said I lost an entire pound. So, 135.

This is day 2 – vegetable day. It’s pouring rain. I’m sleepy. I feel protein deprived. I do like vegetables more than fruit so ultimately I should be okay.

Boring update, I know. Working at home isn’t always glamorous. I am going to a movie today…in the middle of the afternoon. To avoid the crowds. So, I’ve got that going for me which is nice.