Working From Home and Stuck? Here’s a Fix: Take a Part-Time Job

More of us over 60 are working a new career, working from home, or have taken a part-time job. Can that part-time job help you achieve your goals? The right one may be just what the procrastinator ordered.

How Taking a Part-time job (24-hours a week) helped me be more productive in my home office.

As some of you know, EW and I live on a sailboat and spent 5 years cruising in the Atlantic before coming to Florida to fix the boat and restore the cruising kitty in December of 2015. Just like Gilligan, this “Two-Year” adventure in St. Augustine will have lasted three years in a few months. Sometimes that makes me twitch. (Also swear, kvetch, and eat more chocolate.)

Despite fairly consistent attempts I finally found a part-time job that seems to work for me, and a company that appreciates my skills and experience. They also didn’t care to know my age—a rarity in St. Augustine. I’m the new part-time person at a marina which caters to power boats from 17 to 42 feet. They have inside stacked storage and haul the boats after every use. No, I don’t run the forklift, I work in the office.

It’s a great part-time job for me.

It’s a very busy office and I’m (essentially) the first part-time person hired to help the Office Manager. I have no idea how she kept up before but suspect she worked more than 40 hours most weeks. I work Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday; can bike to work; can dress in nice shorts or capris and a decent top (my go-to wardrobe for St. Augustine) and like the job.

As my dad would have said, I’m busier than a one-armed paper-hanger.  I love that. The time flies, I feel accomplished yet am not able (or expected) to complete every task, and it has focused me in a way that working from the boat 8 hours a day did not.

The Work-from-Home Dilemma

If you’ve worked for yourself from home as a writer or in another position, I bet most of you find the dishes/spouse/weather/pets/personal emails/ and a million other items pull you from your allotted tasks. If like me, you haven’t exactly found a way to plan your day and focus, there is nothing like earning a paycheck in a very busy office to remind you how unproductive you’ve become.

Since the Office Manager isn’t in on Sundays and Mondays, I’m on my own with a list from her, requests from the GM who is on site, and visits from customers. I do everything from entering credit card payments to writing the monthly newsletter to tedious filing tasks. So far, I love it.

Here’s how it’s helped me at the Home Office.

  1. Show me the money. Sure a 24-hours-a-week office job isn’t hitting our goals. But it does allow us to do more, pay more bills, and get stuff for the boat. I no longer feel discouraged, I’ve doubled my income, and I am more able to focus on the writing and less on the worrying. Ultimately, more writing will equal more money, so that’s a good thing.
  2. Less time to work at home equals a stronger focus. If a procrastinator has 40 hours a week to do a 10-hour job plus other writing, how long does it take? (Asking for a friend.) Yeah. Not really. It takes 40 or more hours. Duh. With (assuming a 44-hour work-week) I now have all day Tuesday and Thursday, and until 3 on Friday (my indulgence) to complete what I didn’t always get done in 40 hours. That’s just 20-22 hours a week to devote to my client, Heels and Tevas, Harts at Sea, and other writing.  I absolutely have to plan each Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday so I fulfill my obligations to my client, Lynnelle, EW, and to me.
  3. Planning, lists, and shifting gears. The past two days at the job required me to check the priorities multiple times a day, shift tasks from one time (or day) to another, and wait for more information or a quiet moment before tackling the most important things. I had to adjust constantly. If I couldn’t do Priority A right now, I’d switch to Task C for an hour. When I’m stuck waiting on technology or a person in my Home Office, it’s too easy to check Facebook, wash the breakfast dishes, or take a break (usually on the Web, which drops me into a myriad of rabbit holes). That would not fly at the J.O.B., nor is that how I was raised. This exact moment, writing this post s an example of how my habits are changing as a result of having a part-time office job. I had set aside time thismorning to work for my client and I did put in about 30-40 minutes for them. Now, I’m waiting for direction. So—Ta-Da!—I write a Heels and Tevas Post! Go me!
  4. Death to the Writing “Diva”. I got into a bad habit of needing “quiet time” for writing. I wanted to be able to devote a few hours to any project. I became a “Writing Diva”, who heaved huge sighs of frustration when interrupted. That does not work at the J.O.B.  I had to get my first newsletter written during my Sunday/Monday shift and was so busy that I couldn’t start it until 4:00 PM on Sunday. It was done and ready for approval before 4:50.  (And was damn good.)

If you work from home, should you take a part-time job?

I don’t know. If you don’t need the bucks, and it’s not something you’ll like, learn from, or can use as research then probably not. Perhaps volunteering will help you. For me, I’m settling into a great new routine and much better work habits. And that’s a good thing because this Garden Writing Pod won’t fit on the boat.

Although I bet there’s a great place for it in Lynnelle’s garden.

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