Making Space. Making Time.
Ah, the old "what to do with my time?" conundrum.
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.
As always, I love to hear your thoughts below.