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Ep. 39 Work Life Balance + Working at the Kitchen Table + Work from Home Mojo

by | Productivity, Smart AF Show, Success + Mindset | 0 comments

work from home

Work-Life Balance + Working at the Kitchen Table + Work from Home Mojo

Should you work from the kitchen table? Is this small act the catalyst to a great disaster to your work-life balance? Maybe. Maybe not. Torie Mathis and her cohost Sean call bullshit on the entire idea of work-life balance and explain why they strive for the exact opposite of balance – especially with their kids – and why they see opportunity in imbalance from the kitchen table. If you work from home don’t miss this one.

Mentioned in the show:
Atomic Habits:

Recommended Tools:
Constant Contact

If you want to know if the work-life balance is a myth, listen to this episode with Torie and Sean Mathis, who have worked from home for over a decade. Their work from home tips and work-life balance advice may surprise you. Can you run a successful 6-figure business from the kitchen table? Listen to find out.

Get SMART AF resources and tools to grow your business at besmartaf.com

Listen or watch the full episode below:



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(transcription is auto-generated)


[00:00:00] Torie: If I didn’t do everything in front of them if I just went off to my office and shut the door and like leave mommy alone. Cause she’s working. Like they wouldn’t see that and have that opportunity.

Hey, welcome to Smart AF on your host Torie Mathis. We have got a great show for you today, so let’s get started. So a topic that is brought up a lot with entrepreneurs is this balance of home and work life. It’s always, always kind of a hot topic. I have been working from my laptop for the last 13, 14 years.

And so I definitely have a lot of experience in that. Sean has done quite a bit of the laptop working as well. I mean, I was reading Atomic Habits. You just got finished with it as well. And something that struck me in there is that he said, you should, you should never work from the kitchen.

[00:01:13] Sean: Which only applies to people that should never worked from the kitchen table. 

[00:01:17] Torie: Yeah. That’s a good point. So his whole thing, right, was that you need to separate. And almost like compartmentalizing different parts of your life. So going to sleep, you need to sleep in your bed and not check emails in bed and not eat in bed or watch TV in bed.

So it needs to be just for sleeping. Then working, you would have just a small space, whatever that is if you don’t have a home office, but that is your place to work. So that when you get to that, you like go into that mode almost is what it seemed that he was saying. So that, that is what you do. 

[00:01:57] Sean: I know, I know I’ve talked to a bunch of people that are like, oh, you work from home. I couldn’t do it. Those are probably the people that would need that kind of structure because it might be very difficult. But you’ve embraced it super easy. I don’t know how much experience you have before, but like I had, when I was in corporate, I was out there by myself doing anything, everything that I needed to do anyways. So although I wasn’t self-employed and working from home, 

[00:02:25] Torie: You wasn’t stuck in an office. 

[00:02:27] Sean: I had to be self motivated to get stuff done, snow. So it was almost a seamless transition for me to just start working from home. 

[00:02:37] Torie: The place that I worked at before I became self-employed was a magazine publishing house. And I actually had to commute like an hour to get there. So I was definitely out of the office. I didn’t do any of that at home, but the last six to eight months of doing that job, I think it was about that much time. We actually had to downsize because of the real estate collapse. We did real estate magazines and I ended up working from home and then I laid off my one employee, my one other employee from home.

And, and then it was just me there for a while as that company kind of. Disappeared. So that was kind of my introduction to it. But even when I commuted and did that, I was still, like you said, very self-motivated and I mean, I was the one in charge. It wasn’t like I was an employee. I was, you know, definitely upper management in that kind of sense.

So I think that kind of probably helped me slide into it. And in the setup of working at home, we had house before we had kids. We had, I did have a home office and that was where I worked. Like when we lived in California, I always worked from the office. I don’t remember ever really working from my lap.

You know, I might not have even worked from a laptop. I may have worked from a desktop, even for a while. 

[00:03:52] Sean: We did have a desk. 

[00:03:53] Torie: We did have a desktop, so I was kind of station. I was stuck in a separate station, you know, so I was a stationary worker at that time. And then once I got my laptop, I think we’ve moved a lot. So I have to like mentally go through everywhere we’ve lived, but I had, I kind of stuck with an office for quite a while. And then once the kids started being out and about more, I think I moved more to be out and about, like, I don’t want to be stuck back. I like being where I can see the front door and the dogs can move in and out.

And I don’t know, I kind of liked that better to have like that openness of being able to be, see everything that’s going on rather than being shut away, you know, with one window. 

[00:04:33] Sean: Or I know for years we had an office like it was set up for your office and. 

[00:04:40] Torie: And I would try, but I have to because I have to be creative at work. Like I have to be, it has to be right. No, no, no. If you remember, like, there’d be a lot of times where, like, I can’t work here anymore and I would rearrange everything and fix everything and I’m like, okay. 

[00:04:54] Sean: And now more than ever, like, we don’t have that. Cliche office filing cabinets and all that kind of stuff that when you first started like that, that wasn’t like you had to have all the clients and folders and all that right now, the business is the laptop.

[00:05:14] Torie: True. Everything is digital now. And that was that you write that is a big change because we did have these big filing cabinets and a fax machine and let go of this stuff, you know? And we had like, we do have a printer now, but I think like the kids use it for printing stuff out. We really don’t use it very often. So it’s actually kind of tucked away and things. So there really is no necessity. And I think the fact that the kids are now and have been for many years now, full time in school, that I can be. For many hours without any type of interruption, because they’re not there to interrupt me. 

[00:05:49] Sean: Our daughter went to first grade finally, it wasn’t doing just half the day. Yeah, that was really huge. 

[00:05:58] Torie: Yeah. I mean, even having the kids so close together, it still, there was like so many years that, because I was at home, I wanted to be at home. Like once I went home and started working from home as I will never go back to an office. I really can’t see myself doing that. I like the flexibility of it. I liked that we can travel and the fact that everything is on the laptop, I can go anywhere. And nobody knows you too. We’ve been to poop to Canada. We’ve been to Australia. We’ve been to California. Like we’ve been everywhere. We went to Chicago for the weekend and we don’t tell clients that we’re going anywhere.

Absolutely. So we just keep working. And so I personally, I like the less structured. ’cause, I don’t have a problem with motivation or keeping going, or getting done what I need to, like, there’s never a day that I’m going to go be like, you know, I’m just going to Netflix and chill all day. It doesn’t happen. Like I need to do this, I’ll get it done now. And then I’ll go do whatever. 

[00:06:57] Sean: We never, we were never did the whole, I got to take my vacation week and all that kind of stuff either. Like when you, when you worked corporate, like it was, you almost said to force. Or forced us to take that kind of stuff. So again, it’s not like, well, we worked for X amount of time. We deserve some time off. Like, it just, it’s just where we, where we need to work and don’t work when it’s not necessary. There’s no reason for it really does other than just convenience. And I think it’s because you actually enjoy what you do. So although it pays the bills, it’s not necessarily work. 

[00:07:36] Torie: I was going to say that too because it’s not like it’s something I feel I need to escape though. I do need breaks. And I think that’s what, you know, going to the gym as a break, we go to lunch. That’s a break. Like there are times that I do take those breaks during time. I don’t need to get away from it because I don’t hate it. I don’t hate Mondays. I don’t hate you know, projects that I have. I try not to take on projects that I don’t want or like I tried to do things that we want to do. Well, no. 

[00:08:04] Sean: A lot of it’s like creation. Like, it’s really like, you almost can’t wait to get started because there’s nothing or it’s terrible. And then you touch it and it becomes fantastic or finished. 

[00:08:17] Torie: There is that thing too when you’re working on your own stuff like you would the museum, I mean, that’s a different feeling when you’re working on stuff, that’s growing your business.

[00:08:28] Sean: It has to be because a one hour commute one way is fricking brutal. I get it’s terrible. But I turned it into a positive of being able to listen to the audiobooks and all that kind of stuff on my way there and back. And then once I’m there, I’m like, no, it’s not a job. It’s, it’s 100% passion. And the people that come in and enjoy that thing that we created is what makes it all worth it. And then I get to go home an hour later and listen to more audiobooks. So, I mean, it works out. 

[00:09:00] Torie: Well, and then you get to do most of your work though, again, from the kitchen table or from your laptop. Like you don’t have to be there. 

[00:09:08] Sean: Well, and this, this year, like one of our older videos I talked about. I only got to work with you for so long. And then this whole museum thing happened and you know, I still worked with you, but it pulled me away a lot, four or five days a week. And, and you know, when it was new, I still had a whole lot of time on my hands to work from the computer, just there. But as the museum started to get more popular and busier, I had less and less time to do stuff there.

And which makes more challenging all around. Whereas this year with the museum being in a new location that I don’t have to be there on a daily basis. Like this has been the first time for this long that I’ve like, I work just like you as much as possible, even though I still take one or two days a week away. But that one day is a Saturday, but again, it’s not like Monday through Friday for us. Any day of the week we could be working or any of the days of the week, we can take the day off. 

[00:10:10] Torie: I kind of like this morning, I got up, I had a couple of client work, things that I had to do in a couple of my own things I had to do. And I was able to knock that out with coffee and hang out. Bella was next to me, you know, doing some video stuff as well. And I think that’s a really good point too. And we’ve talked about this before, is that our parents have skills like, but didn’t share them with us. And so I like working in front of the kids.

I liked that the kids see that I work really hard and all these things, I, I know how to do Riley comes home and he’s like, what’d you work on today? What’d you do? And I’ll show him some things. And so they can see what I’m doing. They can see what I can do. I’ve taught them how to use Photoshop. Like they both can go in and do all these different things.

I’ve taught them video editing. They both have a YouTube channel. They can edit their own videos, upload their videos, write descriptions, putting key. Like if I didn’t do everything in front of them if I just went off to my office and shut the door and like leave mommy alone cause she’s working. Like they wouldn’t see that and have that opportunity. And where, you know, my mom didn’t share her painting skills and your dad didn’t share all of his building skills. Like all these skills I have, like, I want the kids to have them. I want them to be interested in them. And if they don’t see me doing this, how would I ever have that interest? Like, how would I give them that interest? 

[00:11:35] Sean: Yeah. Our kids have a better understanding what you do than probably all of our families are like, eh, we know Torie does stuff. Yeah. I mean, they don’t, they don’t get to see it and then have no record they don’t understand just how much you do and how many different things you can do. Especially when they’re like, oh, she does. Yeah, the rest of the family doesn’t really understand everything, right? 

[00:12:12] Torie: Yeah. Well, and I think if you’re not a business owner and I, you know, I work pretty exclusively with business owners that if you’re not a business owner like you really wouldn’t have any interest in any of this stuff that I do.

It’s, it’s pretty along that whole say more out of marketing and you know, where marketing probably is very interesting to marketers and most business owners, it probably just for, you know, regular employee type people. They’re probably not interested so I can understand it just rolled their paycheck right. So I liked that the kids, you know, they get to learn a little bit about marketing and I can explain these types of things to them. And, and hopefully one day they want to work. That would be awesome. 

[00:12:52] Sean: And I mean, it’s more than just the actual, I mean, they could go off and start whatever business completely away from what it is that we do, but they would have still that understanding of what it takes to operate that business. I had a, it was Thanksgiving and I had I was working in the morning on Thanksgiving and I had somebody else that was working on a, on a project that was doing stuff for. And these, like, you know, don’t, don’t worry about getting back to me, you know, it’s fine. Cause it’s Thanksgiving and he’s just getting it off of on his side.

And, you know, I always say, you know, I’d like to get the ball back. Like he was doing that to me. And so I was just given it back to him. I’m like, no worries. You know, this is one of the, the glamorous parts of being an entrepreneur is that, Hey, I work constantly. If you focus on the constantly working, because I could also say that I almost never worked. It just depends on the context. I mean, I clean the house today and yet I still made various changes for a few different clients and did stuff that now I don’t have to wake up Monday morning and go, well, I got to get that done. And it wasn’t that big of a deal. I had a window of opportunity. It was still able to do it. It didn’t, it didn’t feel like work. 

[00:14:07] Torie: To me, it like, almost like breaks up the day that if you can, even on weekends and stuff like that, which if we go out and do something, then I might not work at all. But I like those, like being able to be like super productive in like this little teeny pocket that if I didn’t work from, you know, if my stuff wasn’t on the kitchen table, I wouldn’t be like, oh, you know, I could do this, this, that, and like, get these little things like, and some of those things are like, these. Big jumps up big jumps forward and things that we’re doing. 

[00:14:32] Sean: Sorry. I like, I, you know, clean the house. And then when I’m done with that, I could just sit on the couch and turn Netflix on, or I could leave the TV off and do the couple other things that I am more than capable of doing. And then, you know, that gives us more time to do whatever tomorrow brings it. I know a few things that we’re doing, but who knows. And if we have more time to do something else, create something else for us, or, you know, emails from other clients that I don’t know that I have right now, but because I’ve taken care of stuff I’ve already gotten. If somebody sends me something fresh tomorrow, they’re not put on the back-burner. Because they’re for the line. So I just get it done real quick. And then that makes it every everybody’s happy at that point. 

[00:15:18] Torie: That’s why I like being able to hand you stuff. That’s that like, get stuff done. Like, I don’t want to sit there and get that little stuff done and you are just awesome doing that. 

[00:15:26] Sean: Part of check the box and get that done. Get that done. Get that done. How on a project that lasts for two weeks, and I can’t tell what I’ve done in that one. It’s too big for me. That’s your wheelhouse. That’s like this Tesla world record, like it’s, it’s, it’s a huge undertaking. I’m the idea guy. Like, that’s my idea. And now, now you get all these people doing things and then every check box that I can check off it. That’s done. That’s done. But they’re there. It’s, it’s a, it’s a monster of a project. So I’m glad I got you. And a few other people that are helping out with that.

[00:16:15] Torie: You know, what’s funny about the kids though. And, you know, even with the Tesla record, they are not impressed. I’m like, we’re on TV. You’re like, yeah, whatever, like we’re doing a world record. They’re like, yeah, like it’s like, it’s their life. Like they don’t care. We were on the cover of this magazine, looking at this thing. Cool. They don’t care. Like they’re not impressed with all of our stuff. It’s like, it’s just normal life for them. I’m like, look, I wrote a book, look at the best seller. Yeah. They don’t care about that either, but I don’t know if I told you this. Last weekend. I took Bella to the circus. Like one of those fancy circuses came to town and Bella is taking these aerial circus lessons where she’s learning like trapeze and all this kind of stuff. So I took her to the circus and she goes in there and I said, so like, is this cool?

Is I know, what do you think? Cause she hadn’t been to one of those where she has seen that all the Ariel circus people and I’m like, so do you want to do something like this? She’s like, yeah. I’m like, well, would you want to be the person to do. She’s like yeah, I wouldn’t be the person in it, but I would also be the one that owned the circus. She’s gonna own the circuits too. So that’s cool. Like, you know, they see us doing it and hopefully, it’ll rub off on them. 

[00:17:35] Sean: And that’s that mentality shift? There’s no, there’s no reason that they think that they have to go and just go work for somebody to, and if they want to, but that’s not the fallback. You know, you didn’t go try and start all kinds of different things and fail a bunch of times, but it’s all about trying and having that right mentality. 

[00:17:57] Torie: I’m glad that we have this opportunity for them and they can see us the entrepreneurs and do all of these. So I think that wraps it up for this show. I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, please subscribe, share this with somebody that you know, could use it, or would be entertained and give us a like, and follow, and we’ll see you on the next episode, you want to get smart tools to build your business go to getsmartaf.com.

About Digital Marketing Expert Torie Mathis

Torie Mathis helps entrepreneurs, like you, use digital marketing to grow your business without wasting time, money, or your sanity.  She is a best-selling author, Army veteran, speaker + trainer, and your digital marketing coach. You don't need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. In fact, you don't even need a lot of time. What you need is to be SMART.

Torie hosts SMART AF, a show for non-techy entrepreneurs looking to grow their business, with her husband Sean and is the creator of SMART AF Magazine. Learn from Torie at the Smart Arsenal and on her channel.

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Hi! I'm Torie!

Torie Mathis HeadshotI help entrepreneurs (like you) use digital marketing to get more clients + to make more money. And I make it easy! 

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

What you need is to be SMART.


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