By the numbers

Many of us who work at home feel we must constantly prove our worth, especially to our spouses who have real jobs.

On a rational level, we know our spouses appreciate the work we do around the house and the daily struggle of our home-based careers and the importance of having a parent home with the kids. But there's a deeper emotional need to make them believe we're working really, really hard here at home and not goofing off all day, as some might suspect.

A simple question in the evening -- "How was your day?" -- stirs a regular corporate report from us work-at-home types. We reel off the numbers: clients served, phone calls made, miles driven, hours spent on chores, etc.

Surely, this isn't what the spouse wants to hear, but we feel compelled to recite these dry business statistics, just to prove we didn't spend the day watching reruns of "The Newlywed Game."

Wouldn't it be easier if we had a standard Daily Progress Report? We could fill in a few blanks, then just hand it over when the spouse arrives home. That would get all the numbers out of the way, clearing the evening for in-depth discussions of other matters, such as what to watch on TV.

Here's a sample of such a report. Feel free to make copies for your own use.


It's been yet another productive day here at corporate headquarters. For the benefit of spouses and other shareholders, we've compiled the following executive summary to show where this household's been and where it's going.

Earnings: Actual earnings from the home-based business were ___ today. However, future earnings look good because ___ clients promised "the check is in the mail."

Debts: New debts accrued today were ___. We had a one-time writeoff against income of ___ because of (circle one or more) medical/dental/plumbing/automotive emergencies. Also, we had the regular business expense of ___ for groceries to feed these damn kids.

Productivity/Corporate: In a very busy day, we here at headquarters made ___ important business calls, signed ___ new contracts, spent ___ hours on developing new projects and ___ hours on ongoing projects. On the down side, ___ hours were wasted playing computer games.

Productivity/Household: The following chores were completed: ___ loads of laundry, ___ meals prepared, ___ rooms cleaned, ___ toilets scrubbed, ___ hours of lawn care, and ___ miles driven. More would've been accomplished in this sector, but the children demanded ___ hours of attention.

Performance of future assets: Today, ___ of our children were expelled or suspended from school, ___ misbehaved and ___ refused to help around the house. It may be time for the shareholders to face down this challenge with a united front, before the children launch a hostile takeover bid. On the plus side, ___ children achieved Honor Roll or similar accomplishment. See addendum.

Growth potential: It's difficult to see into the future, but we believe there's room for growth, both on the corporate and household fronts. For the home-based business, there's nowhere to go but up! As for the household balance sheet, please remember: It is only ___ years until the children move away, taking with them a large drain on our resources. By then, we will have ___ years until age 65, so we'll need to save ___ per year to compile enough assets for a retirement that doesn't center on cat food. Which means we'd better see some growth. In a hurry.

Immediate projections: We here at headquarters feel confident that tomorrow will be a better day, with an increase in earnings and an overall rise in productivity.

And we'll have the numbers to prove it.


tc said...

Steve, you are a master at show ourselves to ourselves. That's why I read you every day now. Just this morning I had made a list called "What I Did While My Hubby Was Out of the Country This Week Fishing". Not for him, but for me. He won't care that much, but he'll be polite while I read it to him. I had a blast wasting every day, did only hobbies, met some amazing people, fed and walked the dog. That's it and I'm glad. I still feel guilty at being retired, but working very hard on getting over it.


Thanks for the kind words, TC. Your retirement schedule sounds ideal to me.