As a freelancer, entrepreneur, and artist, my time is my livelihood, my well-being, my socializing experience, and the structure in which I can accomplish the goals that I've set for myself.
But what about when these factors conflict?
For me, my socializing time seems to conflict a lot with my work/creative goals.
I find it incredibly tricky and delicate when I have to say no to friends who want to meet for coffee or lunch during my work day. You see, working from home sets a different expectations for people and for a long time, I held that belief as well.
When I went from my full-time 9-5 job to the life of a freelancer, I was the mother Teresa of time. Giving it away left, right, and centre. Work would come up and I'd take that too because meh, why not? You get my time, and you get my time, and you get my time.
I thought with my new "free" schedule, I'd have oodles of excess availability but it turns out that without the boundaries of a set work schedule, I was actually busier than when I worked at 40 + hour work-week at one location.
It got to the point where I felt burnt out and resentful of the time I was giving away. I didn't know what to do or why I was feeling this way.
It came down to this truth. I was not respecting my own time. I was not respecting my own goals. My relationship with myself and how I gave away my time had less to do with what I wanted and more to do with pleasing other people.
Ah-hah! There it is.
As someone who has now made her living freelancing for the last 3 plus years, I won't lie and say it's always been easy. But like anything, the more you do it, the better you get at planning, organizing, and hustling. As I've built connections, I've also educated myself on financial matters, on networking to get new jobs, on working my butt off to continue getting work from previous clients and generating new ones. On literally showing up and doing the best job I can that day so that i'll get hired again.
A big factor in the transition to me enjoying my time was to start scheduling out my work day. If friends wanted to hang-out, I would happily do so after 5. By setting up the expectation that I had a set schedule, I was accountable to myself. I was also working on the stuff I needed to move my life forward and therefore allowing myself to be present (and pleasant) when I was with my friends/loved ones instead of worrying about when I was going to fit in that last bit of work.
Like any relationship, we teach people how to treat us. How very beautiful indeed.
For instance, I am now extremely protective of my time. As an introverted artist (there are many of us I'm told) I need my alone time to function. Not just function, but to day-dream, to work-out, to write, and to mull about. This is necessary to how I work. This is also necessary to how I live well.
I'm not alone in this. Boundary setting and valuing our time is something I chatted with several other people and it all comes down to this. Start. Start saying no. Start setting yourself committed time to do what you need to do to feel good and then build the rest of your life around your priorities.
This is your life. And you are the person that needs to take care of it. So prioritize your time to start prioritizing yourself.
Well here we are. The last day of 2017. While your bubbly chills (or, in some cases, your sparkling water), I invite you sit and reflect on your year.
After all, you could treat this like any other day. You could let it pass and forget about your reflection.
But I think you deserve more than that! Start the new year with a clear sense of yourself and all that you've done.
For me, I like to treat the last day of the year as a time to reflect on all the ways I've grown, changed, and the beautiful parts of my life that have flourished.
How about you?
Well if you're keen, I invite you to think about the following questions that switch the focus from goal-setting to gratitude.
Here we go:
1) What was one thing you did this year that you never thought possible? How did you feel once you did it?
2) What was a really rough moment you went through that made you realize how strong you were?
3) What was one book you read that made you think about life, yourself, or made you enjoy your day?
4) What was the highlight meal of your year?
5) What was your favourite t.v show? Why?
6) Did you have a moment of jealousy or sadness that sparked you to change something in your life?
7) Who did you get close to this year?
8) What was the best surprise of 2017?
9) Who are you most grateful for?
10) What would you like more of in 2018?
11) What would you like to let go of?
12) What is one new thing that you are committing to trying in 2018?
There she is. Short and sweet. You don't need more on your to-do list today. If you're anything like me, you need some time for a pat on the back. A warm and cozy blanket. And some time to thank yourself for doing your best. You really are magnificent.