There are some things that come with age that might not be so exciting. I definitely feel sore after a day out in the garden, and worrying about taxes, mortgages, and retirement accounts isn’t fun at all. But there are quite a few things that only get better with age, and I’m not talking about wine. It’s my ability to say no.

As person who works from home, it is highly important to know how and when to say no. Here are a few times I’ve had to put my foot down:

  • Volunteering. I love to do things to help others, and I’m very active in my church, my kids’ schools, and community organizations including the library and the garden club. When I first started freelancing, I found myself saying yes to all sorts of volunteer opportunities. After all, I had a flexible schedule and was around town during the day. Over time I learned to be more picky about the things I actually committed to. I still stay involved, but I limit the amount of time I put into each club or organization. I have also found ways to help that I can do at odd hours, so it doesn’t take away from my “work” time, like writing grants for Carter’s school rather than volunteering in the classroom.
  • Running errands. Another place where being at home makes things somewhat more convenient. But if I’m the one who is always getting the oil changed in cars, running to the post office, and taking the dogs to the vet, the errands take over my time. I’ve learned to make a plan for the week and discuss it with my husband, so we can work together on what needs to be done and when, to make it work for both of our schedules.
  • Video calls. When I first started freelancing 12 years ago, video calls were something I had only seen in science fiction movies set in the future. If I scheduled a phone call with someone I was safe to conduct it in a business-type fashion, even while wearing yoga pants and no makeup. But in today’s world, more people are using Google Hangouts and Facetime on a regular basis. While it’s great to be able to communicate face to face, it’s pretty off-putting if you’ve just come to the office from a work out to make a phone call, and the client asks if you can do a video call. I confidently say, “I would prefer not to at this time, but in the future we can set up a time when we’re both prepared.”

The no’s are an important facet of work-at-home life, because they help allow for the many yes’s that are the great benefits of this career choice. Because I work from home and make my own schedule, I can say yes to going on field trips with the kids, doing some of the volunteer work I love, getting some laundry done during the day, starting a crock pot dinner for busy soccer nights, or even working outside.

And what makes my job so exciting is my ability to say yes to projects that expand my mind and push my capabilities. Whether it’s editing books, writing web content, or researching for the latest article, I have fun doing what I do and love that I learn something new every day.