I was pondering this in the shower (yes, we work-at-home folks do take showers every now and then.) During twenty five years in the corporate environment, I'm pretty sure no one ever asked me that question.
The reason is that it's easy to see what people do all day in an office - especially when you're spending literally 95% of your time in meetings with other people. My days in the office were consistent: drive to work, grab coffee, go into my glass box of an office, visible to everyone even if I was alone, answer some emails or phone calls (if I was lucky) then head into meetings for about eight hours straight. The only time I was ever alone was when I grabbed a few minutes to go to the bathroom, and even then there were generally other people in there too. Complete transparency and visibility to everyone all day.
Now, I get up at 5:30am, (yes, really) take the dogs out, feed the dogs, get my daughter up for school, make her breakfast, make her packed lunch, drive her to school, which starts at 7:30am, get home, take the dogs for a long walk and by 8:30am I'm back home at my computer. So far, so good. I sit down, and I write. I try to write a lot, on different projects, and that's what I tell people I do all day. It's the truth, right?
But it's not the entire truth, is it? And the question for all work-at-home people is: how much of the truth do you tell when people ask you what you do all day? I'll answer that myself. Am I writing? Yes. Am I writing 100% of the time between 8:30am and 5:30pm? Um, no. So what else am I doing?
If I'm honest, I would say that I make coffee (a lot), go to the fridge to pick at things to nibble, decide I really need to pluck that stray eyebrow hair, do laundry, go to the grocery store, check the mail and UPS, check Facebook three, no, five times, jump on email whenever I hear that ping in my inbox, and do research for my novel, which since it's an homage to Harry Potter and Fifty Shades of Grey involves some steamy scenes with magic wands and goblins and requires me to test out what it really feels like to dribble hot wax on naked body parts. (I made that last bit up. No, really.)
Even after that list, I've missed out probably a dozen other things which aren't actually writing, and I'm going out on a limb to say that every single person who works from home does some of these exact things and probably many more that are unprintable.
So, next time someone asks you what you do all day, shock them and tell them a couple of things you really do, in addition to what you really should be doing. The look on their face will be priceless. If you feel like sharing, leave me a comment. What do you do all day?