Fall: not as good as Summer but, I love it still

I stepped outside just now to get some fresh air. The sun is shining with the orange trees popping out against a blue, blue sky. It is stunning. And that smell hits me of damp earth and decaying leaves and I think, summer is truly over and I am feeling ok with it because I love love love the smell of fall and really it’s still pretty warm outside and sunny and kind of like summer.  So, I am feeling good about the season and since my previous idea for this week’s post was on how intolerant I have become and  just a rant that I think might enhance your lives in no way. I decided  to write about beautiful autumn.

I love the smell of fall. I love the colors and the dramatic tall, clouded skies. I love pumpkin flavored things and cardigans. Fall is for me. Once I get over the devastating fact that summer is over, and this takes me awhile, because, really I love summer the best.  Summer and I swim and laugh and cook things on the grill together with cocktails. We are best friends. Summer is light and breezy. And let’s face it Autumn can be a bit serious. It is all about planning, preparing and catching up on some of the things you let slide in the easy, breezy summatime.  It is, for me, a bit of a wrestling match to let go of summer and give in to fall. I’m often ready for a higher level of structure that comes with the kids going back to school and I am always ready for the kids to go back to school. I feel reflective and also eager to plan for the future. I go buy a bunch of office supplies and say things like,

“Right, Lisa, now we are going to get really organized. No fooling around.”

Fall is a time for getting back to work and all of that appeals to me. But, I am at the same time looking over my shoulder thinking, but wait, Summer, just one more day with sun-warmed skin, dashing across hot, hot sand to get to the cool water. Can’t we go on a picnic and drink lemonade, under the shade of a Maple, one more time? I vacuum the sand out of my car, put the beach towels in storage and dust off the Crockpot, reluctantly preparing for the shift in season.

And then a day like today hits and I am ready to fully embrace the change. I insist on buying mums, apple cider and think about, but never get around to visiting a corn maze. Tonight when the family gets home, I will try to engage them in craft projects with construction paper,

‘Come on guys, let’s make bats. It will be fun.’

They will mumble things like,

“I have a paper due tomorrow.”

“Mom, I’m 16.”

“Monday Night football, something in the garden to put away…”and  they will be hard to find for the rest of the evening. I will cheerfully carry on alone until I loose interest and toss the deformed, half-finished bats into the craft supply storage area, also known as The Closet Things Fall Out Of, where they will remain until 10 minutes before the Trick-O-Treaters arrive at the end of the month.

What’s not to love?

I just ate a whole bag of cheese corn: Complications of working from home

I recently launched my own business, L-Co, specializing in communications, media, helping people realize their dreams. Here are my thoughts so far on my own dream job. I just ate a whole bag of cheese popcorn and other complications of working from home.

Just the Cheese Corn

Just the Cheese Corn

Yes, I ate the better part of the bag. It was really good popcorn. I kept munching away.  There was no one around to make me feel self conscious or to ask for a share. I work at home. I am alone for the better part of the day. Unless, like the past month, when the people that I live with weren’t at their various schools or jobs.

The housemates add an entirely different complication to this working at home business. For instance, due to inclement weather, the kids have been home quite a bit. They are about the house, watching movies that always have some loud battle scene or space traveling sound effects. When that finishes, they are ‘playing’ with the dog, which involves getting her wound up, running around the house and some yelling and barking- not always coming from the dog- if you get the picture. It is unpleasant outdoors. So, they are trapped in here, in my office singing a chorus of questions, ‘What is there to eat?’, ‘What are you doing?’, ‘What should I do?’,  ‘What can I eat?’, ‘When will Dad be home?’, ‘What’s for dinner?’ This is usually, where I snap and insist they go outside to shovel some snow or something. Suggesting a chore can usually buy me some time. At the mention of any type of work, they will slink off and remain quiet for a bit, in hopes that I will forget they are home, doing nothing.

June The Distractor

But, most days, I am home by myself, with a whole other set of distractions. Like the G.H. Cretors Just the Cheese Corn deliciousness, which according to their website is only helping me celebrate The National Snacking Month of February. Great. Other distractions including but not limited to: my pull toward domestic chores and my lack of defined office space and my yoga mat, which you already know is my napping spot and the dog has done something cute, naughty, gross, that I need to photograph. How could you not? The cute factor gets me every time.

So, How with all of this going on do I stay focused and get things done? Aside from the Cheese Corn for which I have no excuse or remedy, these are some methods that are working for me and some resources on the topic of staying focused and organized while working from home.

  • Establish work schedule and stick to it (Time Management): I have decided that my work day starts at 10:00 much to the annoyance of my housemates. They think this is a little late. Whatever, your schedule, set one and stick to it. This start time gives me the opportunity to shift from house chores like laundry and tidying the breakfast dishes into work mode. At which point…
  • I GET Dressed: including shoes, which indicates I am going to work now. Linda Cole wrote an article on this topic, posted on Linkedin suggesting ‘Never, ever  wear slippers.’ I think she is on to something there. Being dressed signals to me that I am serious and in a professional state of mind, ready to work.
  • I meet with collaborators outside of the house. We get together at a cafe to work on projects together. It is productive and breaks up the routine.
  • The tricky part is when to stop working. I have yet to master the discipline of not check my emails, or just one quick edit on that proposal and three hours later… The office is always there and tempts me. Just like the dog and the housemates and cheese corn tempt me from work. I imagine the balance will come.

I spent a long time locked into a 9-5 job working in an office and manufacturing setting. It is absolutely amazing and thrilling to me to be freed from one single workplace. I love the flexibility of working from home. I love the technology that allows me to take my office anywhere. I love the fact that the things that distract me from my work are the things that I love most and if the dog gets too cute, I can always go to the nearby coffee shop.