Posted by: draknor | August 18, 2011

On time, projects & priorities

It’s amazing how time seems to just slip away — even without the time commitment required by a corporate job!  When I was working full-time, I would often imagine having my days free to do whatever I want & believing that I would just have this fountain of free time and energy.

The reality, at least for me right now, is a bit different.

I’m still in this “transition phase” between the structure & demands of a corporate day, and the structure of a freelance day.  I’ve replaced my 9-5 corporate tasks with tasks of my choosing (biking, weight-lifting, blogging, reading, photography), and readjusted my sleep schedule (stay up a bit later, sleep in a bit later), but otherwise my days aren’t that much different than they were before.  The pacing is definitely different — I don’t feel as stressed, I don’t feel as pressured now.  But I still have a long project list, and (as the lack of updates on this blog shows!) I still have trouble making time for everything.

When I was senior in high school, we had to do an assignment to write a poem about ourselves in a particular format (maybe it was a sonnet — I don’t quite recall).  Someone in the class complained that the format was too strict, too restrictive.  My teacher revealed that no, actually — having those rules is what gives you the chance to really be creative & free.  It frees from you needing to develop the structure — the how you are going to say it — and really focus on the message, what you are going to say.  That was a very interesting insight.

It amazes me that August is already more than half-over!  Time does not stop, nor does it seem to slow down very much, just because you aren’t reporting in to the office every day. The key principle with freedom, just as it is with a desk job, is how you fill your time.  I know that I want to develop a structure for my days/weeks, because then instead of wasting time & energy every day deciding how I’m going to spend my time & energy, that work is already done and instead I can focus on the things I actually want to do.

I’ve already started practicing this principle in my weight-lifting.  As I’ve noted, I worked with a personal trainer to learn proper technique for the different lifts, and then come up with a template for a 4-week cycle.  Each week, while I’m sitting at home, I write down what weights I’m going to start with & what conditioning exercises I’m going to do for each workout.  Then when I’m at the gym, I simply go through my warm-up and follow my prescribed sets!  The last couple of sets I won’t have a weight written down — I’ll decide at the time if I should add pounds or just keep my last weight.  And then I go on to my conditioning exercises — sometimes I’m not feeling up to it and shorten or skip those, but the point is, I don’t have to think about it.

That’s the model that I will build out for my days & weeks, as well — so I don’t have to “find the time” to write a blog post, review my photos, clean the kitchen, do my laundry. Because the reality at home is the same as it is in the office — you never just “find time”.  You have to figure out how to make it all work.

So that’s my goal for the end of August — to come up with a structure wherein I make time to do the things that are important to me, both personally and professionally. Stay tuned!