A s a rookie reporter fresh out of school, I couldn’t imagine working from home. The technology of the day just wouldn’t allow it.
But here I sit, 40 years later and 300 miles from SUCCESS HQ, at my laptop in an office/guest room that overlooks swaying palm trees near the Gulf of Mexico. This is our retirement home near the water, in a location my husband and I long dreamed about.
I considered hanging it up in 2015, when the magazine moved to a ’burb that would’ve meant an intolerable commute. With a high-tech Wi-Fi hookup to company servers and management’s blessing, I stayed on. That’s a huge personal plus because I thrive on goals and deadlines—and I didn’t have much of a Plan B. Continuing to work actually fans my drive and zest for life more than I can imagine my hobbies ever doing. And I still can fit other pursuits I enjoy around the tasks that bring home the bacon: decorating my home, shopping for and refurbishing antiques, sewing and pleasure reading.
Telecommuting from home poses one major challenge, though: workaholism. It’s far too easy to send out just one more email or edit one more column. I’ve learned to be disciplined about closing my office door at quittin’ time.
Balance has been an almost constant battle for me during my career. As a 20-something news junkie, I worked extra hours off the clock to pay my dues as a reporter and editor. Then as the mother to three small children, I went part time—dialing back work hours while maintaining skills and contacts—and later landed a daytime reporting position that suited my family’s schedule.
Over the course of my winding career, pivots have helped me avoid burnout while making quality time for family, always a huge priority, and my hobbies, which allow me to de-stress. My life isn’t about work, but it’s still something I want to do. Being flexible in how I live and work has led to a richer personal and professional life. I encourage you to be your best Gumby self, too.
Related: 6 Tips to Create a Balanced Life
This article appears in the April 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.