Most people get up in the morning, get into a car or hop onto public transportation, and travel to a building far from home where they do their work. I get up in the morning, follow the same routines of showering, shaving, grabbing some breakfast, and packing a lunch before heading into the office. The key difference between me and most people is that my office is in another room in the house. While that is pretty sweet and has some perks, it doesn’t mean that I have unlimited flexibility. I can’t just take off whenever I want, because just like everyone else I don’t get paid if I’m not working. This is probably more true for me than some other people, because I don’t get paid vacations or sick time.
Most people going to school travel to a campus for classes, have lectures and labs and tests that they must attend at set times, and have deadlines for turning in projects and term papers. Just because I go to school online, and log in from my computer rather than going to a physical classroom, doesn’t mean I don’t have the same time restrictions. I can’t blow things off and do them later at my convenience any more than a traditional student — at least, no traditional student that cares about grades and getting the most out of his education.
My normal office hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. When my wife Katie comes home from work we have dinner together, talk about our days, and do things together in the evening the same as most other families. If I have to do something during the middle of the day — a doctor’s appointment, a personal errand, dealing with some home repair — I have to make that time up. Again, when I’m not working, I’m not getting paid. That means that I have to work in the evenings, or on the weekends, when I could be spending time with my wife. Does anyone like working until 8 p.m. at night, or later? Does anyone like going in to work on Saturday, when they’ve already worked Monday through Friday? Not really.
So the rules are the same for me as everyone else. I don’t deal with personal things while at work, unless it’s an emergency or can’t be avoided. I don’t deal with work outside of office hours unless it’s a pressing issue with a tight deadline. The fact that my workplace and my classroom are located inside my home changes nothing other than the length of my commute.