Working From Home—Is It a Real Job?

Mary Kay

Mesu with Mary Kay Ash in 1986
(Gotta love the mullet hairdo)

A few weeks ago, I received a contact form off my website–the best one ever! It said:

Did you used to sell Mary Kay Cosmetics? I had some Mary Kay products for a long time that had gold labels on them with the name Mesu Andrews on them. I came to your house one time with my daughter-in-law…to pick up some Mary Kay. The picture on this [web]page looks like the Mesu I met that day! When I saw the book, Love Amid the Ashes, I had to get it!

FYI, I did indeed sell Mary Kay Cosmetics–28 years ago–so several emotions bubbled up as I read this email:

  • Thrilled she recognized my photo after 28 years.
  • Amazed she still had the Mary Kay products I sold her! (I thought I was the only one that kept MK stuff that long!)
  • Thankful that my mother named me Mesu, a name that no one forgets.
  • Excited that my long-ago Mary Kay career helped sell a book!

Years Pass, Jobs Change

My Mary Kay passion fizzled in the mid-80’s, and I soon began working part-time in a convenience store, then an optometrist’s office, and years later as an assistant to a Christian speaker. In 2002 chronic illness changed my life forever, making any regular work outside the home impossible.

I was faced with the conundrum of how to make at-home hours productive.

Wage or No Wage

Physically, I could barely function, but when I woke with a whole day of SAMENESS stretched before me, I needed some hope for productivity.

God created humankind with a need to feel accomplishment.

The reality is: The same need for accomplishment exists in a top-level executive or a stay-at-home individual (mommy, retired, disabled, or whatever). Whether our goal is earning a wage or simply tending to life, even those of us who are stay-at-home whatevers must accomplish something each day.

Even in the perfect Garden—before sin entered the world—God knew man needed to work because He created us in His image:

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15

Scheduling Tips and Tricks

A few scheduling tips can make a big difference in productivity and keeping priorities aligned.

  • Divide the calendar into weekly chunks, plan a certain number of quadrants for specific interests: worship, family, work, fun. (I used to color-code my Mary Kay Daytimer. 😉 )
  • Divide each day into three parts: morning, afternoon, and evening. Try to schedule an appointment(s) in only two of those parts, leaving one part flexible.
  • Decide with your husband/family/or health limitations how many nights per week you can realistically commit to outside interests. Guard your at-home evenings jealously.
  • Decide with your husband/family/or health limitations how many weekends per month you can realistically commit to outside interests. Guard your at-home weekends jealously. (Or amend this to individual Saturdays and Sundays rather than whole weekends.)

Invariably, life happens. All our best-laid plans get blown to smithereens. The dog chews our computer cord. The baby gets sick. The car battery dies.

So, expect the adversity, take a deep breath, and try a few other time-management tips from experts. (Click on the highlighted phrase for more details.)

  1. Make a “Top 10 Most Important Things To Do Today” list and stick to it for 90 days. (Or adjust your list to the Top 5 or Top 3.)
  2. Use the Pomodoro Technique for a creativity boost in your time management. Select a task. Set a timer for 25 minutes, and begin the task. When the timer dings, take a 3-5 minute break, and then reset the timer for 25 minutes and return to the task. After every fourth pomodori (25-minute task intervals), take a longer break—15-30 minutes. Repeat this process through your work day.
  3. Having trouble saying “NO!” to Facebook, Twitter, and the constant “bing” of your email notifications? Try the internet-blocking software, Freedom, that effectively locks you out of surfing the net for up to eight hours. It could be the best $10 you ever spend.

Is Working at Home a Real Job?

I get up in the morning without an alarm, walk on my treadmill, and call my mom. I don’t drive to an office, report to a boss, or punch a time-clock. But I work—hard.

When I sell a book, I make a little money. When I write a blog post or newsletter, I earn nothing. Truth be told, I don’t think I ever really expected to get a book published, but I don’t write for the money (as most writers will attest).

I write because I sense God’s pleasure. His partnership and participation as I form the thoughts and type the words. And at the end of my day, I’ve accomplished something.

It’s not a real job. But. I. Am. Satisfied.

Sabbath Satisfaction

Beth Moore’s study on the Tabernacle taught me another profound lesson a few weeks ago. She explained the Sabbath very differently from a very familiar passage:

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.”            Genesis 1:31-2:1

God didn’t rest on the seventh day because He was tired. We all know that. But I had always assumed He rested to provide humankind with a proper example. He wanted us to rest, so He rested. The message I took away from Beth’s lesson was this:

God rested because He was satisfied with what He had made. Sabbath is all about being satisfied.

So, if you work at home—by choice or by necessity—focus on ordering your six days. Declare them “very good”—as God did about His Creation—and you will find Sabbath rest for your soul.

Tweet-A-Licious!

Today’s Question:

  • Is there one thing that resonated with you in this post today?

About Mesu Andrews

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Comments

  1. I really, really needed this post. Really.

    I agree with Marsha, those scheduling tips are great. I’ve heard of the Pomodoro technique before but hadn’t tried it. I think I will. 🙂

    Whether you’re paid with money or not, you always touch someone’s heart with your work. Thank you so much for all you do.

    • I’m so glad the post met you where you’re at, dear one. I haven’t personally tried the Pomodoro either, but I’ve heard other writers swear by it…especially when they’re working on a tight deadline. So little of what we do as writers actually MAKES money, we’ve got to do it out of calling, servanthood, and obedience. Ambition would simply get too depressing! ha!

  2. I can’t work a regular job because of my physical limitations but I do some other jobs. I work in a church library once a week and I play piano for a church on Sunday. I take care of my house, cleaning,cooking,laundry etc. as well as spend way too much time on the computer. I usually try to not do any of that on Sunday because I was taught that the Lord rested on the 7th day and meant for us to rest too. The thing that stood out most to me then is that the Lord was satisfied and He rested. I had never thought about that. I will need to cogitate on that one for a little while.Great post. Hope you are feeling better.

    • Thanks, Connie. I am feeling better. Glad you got something out of the post. Sounds like maybe the “satisfied” thing hit you between the eyes like it did me. Happy “cogitating”! 😉

  3. Mesu,
    I did the Pomodoro technique with my barely 2 year old and didn’t know it. I needed to sew a pair of pants for a trip the next day. I would set the timer for 25 minutes, then set it again for 10 minutes and play with him. Finished the pants in time!

    As for feeing God’s pleasure–the best definition of joy, a word I struggled with, was “to feel the reflected pleasure of God when you do His will.” I finally understood.
    Annette

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