Guest post by James Diehl
When I made the decision a couple of years ago to work from home, I knew there would be challenges. I understood that sacrifices would need to be made if I wanted to be closer to my family and give up the “daily routine” I had become accustomed to.
It’s a constant struggle – balancing the joys of working from home with the challenges of raising a family. It’s not easy, but it can be done; it just takes the willingness to make a few changes in your daily life.
I have embraced those challenges in order to spend more time with my wife and children. But it has not been without sacrifices – I’ve had to make several changes in my already hectic life in order to make it work. It’s been worth it, without a doubt, but it hasn’t always been easy.
Starting out, I had to be honest with myself. What was I going to need to do to be productive and write effectively? I knew, for example, that I could multi-task while doing research or compiling notes or performing dozens of other writing-related activities. If things are a bit hectic around the house, that’s fine. I can handle kids running around, the wife asking me to run a couple of errands and the phone ringing incessantly when in that mode.
But when I begin the actual writing process, I need the house to be quiet. I can’t listen to music, or have the television on or have children running around like wild animals. Can I write under those circumstances? Sure, but the quality will suffer and I can’t, and won’t, accept that.
The change I made in my life was a big one, but it was also a necessary one. A former night owl, I now get up every day well before the sun rises – usually about 4 a.m. – and power up my trusty computer with the objective of getting as much work done as possible before the house becomes alive with the sounds of little people doing, well, what little people do.
I love my kids and I love working from home so I can be near them, but trying to get any real work done while they are awake and active is a bit like trying to fill a watering can that is filled with holes – it just doesn’t get done.
I now get a good portion of my daily writing done between the hours of 4 and 7 a.m. After taking my daughter to school, I can then do my interviews, compile my research and run my errands. It’s been a good system for me, but it required making a commitment and making a drastic change in my life.
It’s just one of those things you have to do if you want the privilege of working from home. I do, and I did – it’s as simple as that!
James Diehl is an award-winning journalist who has covered Sussex County, Delaware for various media outlets since 1998. Since 2007, he has owned and operated a freelance writing company based in Seaford, Delaware and is also a partner in a Lewes, Delaware-based public relations and marketing firm. He is the author of two works of non-fiction – Remembering Sussex County (DE): From Zwaanendael to King Chicken (American Chronicles), published in 2009 by The History Press and World War II Heroes of Southern Delaware, published in 2009 by DNB Group.