Balancing the Scales of Life

Balancing the Scales of Life

When looking at the “to do order” of day to day tasks, balancing the scales of life rank in the top 5 for me. It is too easy to get sidetracked with petty tasks that can be done when things aren’t quite so hectic.

Sometimes people think that working from home is a cinch…

doesn’t everyone want to work from home nowadays? I don’t blame them; I wanted that myself since 1997 when I started my part-time business.  I thought I wanted to quit my job and have the luxury of working from home, little did I know that would soon come to pass.

I got the opportunity to work 100% “full-time” from home…

but there was an adjustment period. I’m not sure where we get these grandiose ideas that working from home is so different from working in an office downtown, but we do. Let me be the first one to tell you that it is nice, there are perks…but, it is still WORK!

Starting my transport brokerage business more than 5 years… ago

has taught me how I need to work my  part-time home business… My typical day starts at 6:00 AM and goes until 5:00 PM. The company serves the whole nation, so to be competitive I need to be up and working when the east coast gets up and is on the move. There is a 3 hour time difference, and if you don’t grab that business (the bread and butter hours) you can lose a lot of revenue. Starting at 6 AM and stopping at 5 PM are not my whole working day, these hours are what I call “phone hours”.

I remember thinking, this is my business and I don’t want to get up that early…

they’ll just have to wait and I’ll take care of them when I get in. I learned from day one, that when you are depending on YOU to put the food on the table…and you depend on other people to pay YOU for your services…YOU had better cater to your CLIENT and get rid of that me, me, and me attitude. I adjusted my attitude real quick when the phones started ringing off the hook day one at 5 AM.

Now I didn’t allow the business to run me… well, sort of…I had set office hours and I answered the phones during those hours. But, the work didn’t stop with the phone calls and frankly I was afraid the influx of business would go away tomorrow. My mindset was I had better get it while the getting was good, for tomorrow it may all go away. There was paperwork to be completed, files to be built, posting, dispatching, paying the drivers, balancing the checkbook, and the list went on.

Six days a week I worked… from dawn to midnight building my transport brokerage home business. I really wondered what I had done, I’d created a monster. That whole first year was a year of learning, growing and building relationships. I learned that I needed to find something about ME that was different. I needed to find something that would set me apart from the thousands of brokers out there, so the clients would choose my service over someone else’s.

It was a very successful year…

we ended that year building from the ground up to over six figures. Successful? Yes! Worth it? Yes! But…I was married to my office chair. I had NO life. I couldn’t even go to the bank, eat a good lunch without knowing that I’d have twenty calls to return if I did. My life revolved around this office, the phones and my clients…all within 15 steps from my bedroom.

There were days I couldn’t even grab the time for a shower… yep, I worked all day long in my pj’s. I know sounds good right? Well, it got old. I would have given anything to get up at 6:00 AM, have a hot shower, eat a hot breakfast, get in my car and go to the office. Because when I came home, I left the office at the office.

I was a prisoner in my own home… no longer was it my safe place, my place of refuge. Now, I cringed when the phone rang. All I got to see of the world was outside my office window, thank goodness for the hummingbirds, my peace and serenity.

Today, that rat race has slowed to a near crawl. With the new economy the way it is, people aren’t moving like they were 5 years ago. Money is tighter and people are more frugal with their hard earned dollars. To keep the business going and me at home, I learned how to look at the market and find ways to diversify. In that diversification process I found a new confidence in my business sense. If I could learn this business and build it into a six figure business from nothing, why couldn’t I do the same thing with my little part-time home business? When the phone wasn’t ringing and I wasn’t busy loading trucks, I started learning the art of marketing online. At the same time I began paying attention to my spirituality, attending church meetings, studying and remember, I am married, so the family needed to fit in there somewhere.

It seemed everything was clicking right along when all of a sudden… I came crashing down. The stress I had unknowingly put myself under really got to me. I was hypertensive all the time, my sleep started suffering. And we all know what happens when you don’t get a good nights rest. I was taking good vitamins, so I thought I could push the pedal to the metal and be fine. Your body can only handle so much and then it will release that stress somewhere, somehow. I was moody, cried a lot, gained weight, my back hurt all the time. I was short with people on the phone, raising my voice when I shouldn’t have.

A good friend and I were talking…

I was crying pouring my heart out to her for help. She reminded me that there needs to be a balance in everything we do and in our life for it to work properly. She wouldn’t tell me how to do it, she only shared with me that there is a way to balance every area of our lives, but I had to figure it out for ME.

Today I am on the right track.

I make a list of things that need doing the next day and I prioritize them. I leave my desk with that list on top for the next morning. It takes will power to stick to the list; it means not answering personal calls until the list is complete. It means making sure the list is prioritized correctly with deadline tasks first.

After the “to do” list, I started scheduling tasks for certain days on my planner and in my Outlook. Set days of the week I write articles, post and interact on different social media platforms, like Twitter, Face Book and other groups I belong to. I plan a set amount of time to work on each and then get off of there. I found in the beginning that I could waste a whole day on Face Book interacting with people and didn’t get another task even started!
I still work my transport brokerage business full time
but now it is easier to incorporate my part-time business, too. By not allowing either business to consume my life, I can work them both, be effective for all of my clients and business partners, while living my life to the full. I enjoy working, but the point of working is to enjoy life, your family and have some fun once in awhile. Working from home can provide all of that, but you must balance the scales of life in order to enjoy it all!
Helping Turn Back the Clock,
Carla J Gardiner