One of the toughest messages to get through to my customers, and also to myself at times, is that I really must have some downtime every week at some point. The best time to take this is on a Sunday. Not because of religion, of course (that would be silly), but for the simple reason that most people also conclude that this is is a definite day of rest, and therefore are either doing their own thing, or respect others that want to do their own thing.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work out that way. In the last year, Sundays have been my day of “catch up”. The million and one jobs that don’t get done during the week, through lack of time, get worked through – gradually – on Sunday instead. Mostly these are real, paying jobs. For example, today I have transferred three VHS tapes to DVD, built a new machine and set it all up, as well as made some purchases for upcoming jobs.
But what I don’t do, thankfully, is answer the phone. Sometimes I turn my phone off completely.
Today hasn’t been one of those days, alas, because, due to thoughtless, inconsiderate and over-demanding customers, I’ve had little option but to await their calls, when they were ready to call me.
Some people don’t seem to grasp that, maybe, just maybe, I might actually not want to deal with people on one day of the week. It’s not much to ask, is it?
I think part of the reason is that I work from home, and my business is me, and I am my business. There is no division between the two. People seem to think that I am just here, waiting for them, all day, every day.
When you have a place of work, that changes. It is a physical location, where nobody lives, which has to be opened up and closed every day it is in operation. Consequently, phrases like “Sorry we’re closed” at 5:30pm, or on Sundays, are understood. Yes, they’re finished for the day. Yes, they’re closed for the weekend. That’s fair enough. That’s because the business is not a person. The business, instead, becomes a trade that takes place at a certain location, a trade that is not run round the clock for obvious reasons of staff and cost.
But a phone number is always on. A home is always lived-in. A “Sorry, I’m closed” sign on the door makes no sense. Could it be someone’s idea of a subtle joke? Yes, you are closed. You are a door. You usually are closed…
The division between my work and business life has been an utter disaster. I let intrusions on my personal life, such as a work text earlier today starting, “Sorry to bother you on a Sunday but…” – really grind me down. I rant and rave. You aren’t sorry at all, I shout. Could it not have waited?
It could. Of course it could. None of this is life-threateningly urgent. No one will die by waiting until a normal day. No one will die by letting me get a bit of a break.
A break. Wow. I could sure do with one of those. Here’s to my rather optimistic hope of two whole weeks’ break at Christmas and into the New Year.