Free Cards Friday ~ Back to Solo-Working ~ Maintaining Healthy Habits

Posted by katie berggren on

It has been 9 years since I started my “official” business (graphic design and illustration) in my home office. And it has been just over 7 years since I’ve worked alone in the home office. Our oldest son is 7 years old.

For the first 2-ish years of my business, I was a total workaholic. My husband would leave before 730am and I’d hit the computer ~ where I’d stay for 9-10 hours. I was building a graphic design and illustration business from absolutely nothing and enjoyed every minute of it. I was a working machine: a cold-calling, researching, note-taking, client-seeking, book-scouring machine (at least until my hubby got home and I had to rip myself away to prepare dinner). And in the eves, I’d work some more.

We lived a beautiful one-half-mile walk to the post office and library ~ but refused myself the opportunity to go. We had a lovely deck out front where lunch could be comfortably taken and enjoyed ~ but didn’t do that. I was lucky to grab a quick something for lunch, then take it to my office.

One year on my birthday, I told myself I’d take the day off. Then adjusted it to taking ½ the day off. Then found myself with outrageous self-assigned goals to complete before going to lunch with my mom: 15 cold calls, etc, etc. Boy.

I was a total workaholic. But I’m not complaining. I loved it. I felt that if I strayed from my office, I may get sidetracked, or I may not get enough accomplished to suite my shocking expectations. My guess is that my current feeling (though annoying and wrong) that if you are sitting at the computer you are working (when truthfully you could be totally wasting time) blossomed around this time.

Well, later, our little boys came along and I had some serious adjusting to do ~ but I did adjust, and I loved my years spent wrapped up in baby boys ~ and the rest of the story is… well, too long to explain right now.

Looking back, one of the things that I don’t love about how I treated myself in my past solo-working days was the fact that I didn’t take proper meal breaks. I suppose I would slap together a pbj and eat it at the computer. But today, a pbj absolutely doesn’t constitute a meal in my mind. As a matter of fact, anything pressed between bread slices doesn’t work for me now.

I still can’t believe that I didn’t take the time to have a nice relaxing lunch break on one of my three beautiful decks…



My purpose here, though, is that TODAY is the first day in 7 years that I get to work in my office/studio alone all day. My littlest boy started Kindergarten today.

It is bittersweet but we are all doing well ~ he is happy (they are both happy) and that is ALL that matters to me. I am basing my emotions on the emotions of my two sons. If they are happy and excited ~ life is good.

And if they are doing well at school then I am even more fueled to rock and roll in the office and studio while they are away. Everything I accomplish during the day (in home and business) makes the afternoons with them that much sweeter.

The crazy thing about accomplishment though, is that even though I didn’t chain myself to my computer from the get-go today, I made amazing progress. In this, my FIRST day back to solo-working…

(It’s not about staying in the office or parking your butt at the computer “working” all day, is it?)



Within 1.5 hours of gently handing my son over to his Kindergarten teacher this morning, I had gotten a short-fast walk in (while shipping 3 orders) and a bit of grocery shopping done. I had cleaned two bathrooms, transferred and folded 1 load of laundry, dusted the living room and cleaned the breakfast dishes and the kitchen.

Then I got some work accomplished in the studio, at the computer. And when my body said it was time to eat, I didn’t ignore it. I fixed myself a big salad.

It was a gorgeous one too: with spinach and romaine, roasted almonds, hard-boiled egg, dried organic cranberries, kalamata tapenade, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and avocado. Lots of avocado.

And I actually photographed my lunch. Boy

(Don’t get me wrong, I love food photography and the inspiration it provides, but I had just never done it before)



TODAY is the start of something new. And while I have burgeoning expectations for how much I will accomplish for the business (which is now over 90% art-related, vs. design) I have every intention of keeping true to my current healthy habits. That means exercise, fresh air and proper meals.

And I suppose at some point, if/when I decide I’d like to eat bread again, I will be happy with a big hearty salad pressed between bread slices. Hold the almonds.

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It’s Free Cards Friday ~ Add your note or insight to this blog post (here at the blog or on the Facebook page) throughout the weekend and be in the running to win some cards ~ I’ll choose the winner on Monday. Come back on Tuesday to see if the winner is YOU!

Have a great day,

Love & Sincerely, Katie

Related Images:

[See image gallery at www.paintingmotherhood.com]

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