Recently, I was really struggling with working from home on a full time basis. When I started my Virtual Assistance business in May 2008, I lived overseas with 3 young children and my prime motivation was a) providing a secondary income and b) hopefully getting some mental and cybersocial stimulation as I was quite isolated and missing home.

When we returned to live in Sydney in late 2008, 2 of our 3 children were initially still at home, so I was happy with the limited hours I was doing as more of a pleasant diversion from the hum-drum, and a warm up for when I would eventually return to work full time.

Fast forward to earlier this year when I was knee-deep in work and developing my business further, multi-tasking like a possessed woman. As much as I loved what I was doing (how could it really be classified as “work” when it was so much fun?!) and grateful I still had the flexibility to be there for the kids and avoiding forking out obscene amounts of $ for childcare, I was simply burnt out. I felt like a mushroom closed off from the world as I’d migrated to the cyberworld, becoming increasingly disconnected with the real one. I’d neglected to establish the necessary discipline to “wind down” or switch off as there was always something new to learn, try or someone great to virtually meet. In fact, I was frequently struck by the irony that I had started working from home to improve my quality of life, as well as that of my family, and there I was spending very little time with them or taking time out for myself.

That’s when I knew something had to change quick, and that change would only come from me. So, a few months ago when fate intervened and a great flexible role onsite nearby dropped into my lap, I jumped at it. Getting out of the house every day for several weeks was a total godsend, turning out to be exactly what I needed to stop, catch my breath and get a clearer perspective on everything. It was so refreshing getting up with a purpose of putting my “corporate hat and face” on walking out that door as “me”. As much as I adore and appreciate my life and woudn’t change it for the world, along the way I’d lost my own identity. Also, I hadn’t realised just how much I’d missed interacting with real people until then, and how essential it is to my well being overall.

Even though that role has now changed becoming more virtual, I’m fine with it as now I’m aware of the pitfalls of working from home alone and how to avoid them. Just by taking a break from a routine, mixing it up, I seem to have finally created a happy medium that fits in with my life and not the other way around.

To those of you who are out there working from home and feeling worn out or isolated I say venture out and do something out of your ordinary! Remember, there’s no one way, there’s only your way.

Have you experienced the same dilemma, and if so, how did you change it for the better?

Alex 😉
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