work/life balance

This time of year is a little frustrating for me. I have all this creative energy bursting at the seams but it is my busy season for work and so I have such little time to dedicate to anything else. I must have at least a dozen sewing projects in progress piled up or folded away in boxes that I think about constantly, and all sorts of ideas for new things to start. There is a huge stack of lovely books next to my bed that I would love to read, and the stack keeps getting taller and I keep renewing the same book on the top that I borrowed from the library ages ago. I have been skipping days with my photography, just as the flowers are blooming and my tree project is starting to get interesting – I missed a day and that was when all the new leaves sprouted! Then I missed another day! There are a ton of posts in my head I’d like to write, but everything – except the boys – gets swept under the tidal wave of translation requests.

It is frustrating, but it is also incredibly satisfying. After last year, which was sort of disastrous since everything – except the boys – got swept under the tidal wave of a near-nervous breakdown and I couldn’t focus on much of anything at all, I was afraid I’d lose my clients (or their faith in me). Instead, this year has been unexpectedly rewarding. As much as my job takes away from all the fun things I wish I could fill my days with, I really do like my work, and I have great clients. Since I started working freelance a little over six years ago, I have grown increasingly picky about who I’ll take on, but it has paid off. The main group I have now is wonderful and I don’t want to let them down. Especially considering how they stuck by me all last year when I was kind of crazy!

Finding balance between my personal and professional life is something I struggle with tremendously, and having my office at home does not help. Some people say that working from home is difficult because you need discipline. For me, living where I work is the difficult part. I would work around the clock if I didn’t have two roommates who need their meals cooked and cut up for them and their laundry washed at an alarming frequency. They even expect me to accompany them to school! But it is a good thing, because it gets me out of the house and means I have to wash my hair occasionally.

Otherwise I might end up a total recluse from March through June, crouched in front of a computer screen, pounding out translations of annual reports until the half year reports start pouring in.

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About Jennifer

I'm a freelance translator and American expat. I live in Northern Italy with my two young sons.
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2 Responses to work/life balance

  1. k_sam says:

    I hear you on the working from home bit – the hardest part for me is that I oftentimes can’t stop. I can start my day with a 5am emergency call from a customer yet still be on the phone for a meeting with the home office at 10pm at night. Or sending emails from my blackberry while in bed. Luckily C never complains, but I am constantly worried about how to strike that home/work balance. I am the only one abroad and my (male-dominated) company isn’t that great about communicating info, so if I miss those late-night meetings, I miss out on a lot of vital information. But yet by doing that, I am missing out on quality time with C, of which we don’t have a lot of because I travel so much . And I think towards to future, of how it will be if we have kids one day and wonder how I will juggle it all. Argh. Maybe I should have just married rich, and then this wouldn’t be a problem. 😉

  2. Simplyjen says:

    It’s great to love the work that you do! It makes a world of differences to your entire being. Cheers to that!

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