People ask me all the time how I bring in an average of $2,000 per month working from home while also homeschooling 5 kids and leading an active life (walking almost every day, taking the kids all sorts of cool places, going on dates with my husband, etc.). They don't think they could ever do it.
Honestly, the answer is not sexy or intriguing and I don't have any life hacks. Here is the "secret" ... It's waking up early and working when I don't want to work.
I WANT to laze around in bed every morning, sleeping as late as I can. Instead, I get up at 6:00 every morning so I have time to pray, make coffee, and then get to work ... while the kids are sleeping.
I WANT to binge-watch entire seasons of shows in a week while my kids sleep in during the morning time. Instead I watch one episode of a favorite show maybe once a week or as a reward to myself for finishing a big project.
I WANT to read books at night. Instead I am happy reading when I can sneak it in ... and listening to audiobooks while I walk (multitasking!). I'm a proofreader by trade, so I get plenty of reading time in.
I WANT to feel less rushed socially and be able to mingle and form relationships, but instead I really need to get home to turn in that article or that proofreading job or work on that book.
I only work an average of 2 hours per day (some days I work 4, morning and night, and some I work just a bit). Doesn't sound like much, does it? But that's 60 hours in a month I am not watching TV, reading, lazing around, napping, and generally hanging out. And that's just during the school year when my focus is on homeschooling.
I cook easy meals for my family, the kids help with chores, I do laundry in a simple fashion (I honestly don't separate types or colors and never have) and I cut corners other ways to make time for the important things I want to do other than working: spending time with my family and cultivating friendships. See my post on Time Management for Writers!
Yes, everyone needs down time. I grab mine in the form of what I mentioned above ... in little bits of reading, TV, podcasts and books and music while I walk, lunch dates with my husband, the zoo with my kids. I also recharge every week at Mass :-)
And yes, after a few months of this pace, I burn out a little bit and need a day to just do nothing ... put on a movie or two for the kids and just take a nap, turn off the phone, grab a book, and say no to everything and everyone for my own sanity. Update: my son had an outpatient surgery and wanted me to just hang with him watching The Walking Dead for a couple of days and you bet your butt I cleared my schedule to do that with him!
This might not work for you, and you might not be a writer-type like I am. You might need to make a lot more money (I am blessed to have a husband with a full-time job so making this much works for our family). You might only be able to carve out one hour a day. I'm telling you if you carve out 15 minutes a day to do something like write a book, you will have a finished product at some point. If you carve out ZERO, you will have ZERO.
All I know is the cubicle life was not for me for a variety of reasons and being with my kids and husband as much as possible was a goal of mine since birth! So I prayed and Googled and asked around and somehow made it happen. I believe you can also!
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I'd love to hear from you in the Comments section ... do you work from home or want to? How do you do it or plan to? How much time can you realistically devote to it? How are you going to find business ... clients you love that you can work with long term?
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