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Pause to Balance Freelance Writing & Your Life

You know the feeling – you wake up after what was a good night’s sleep and you still feel tired. Maybe that first cup of coffee or tea helps clear your head and you realize it’s not fatigue you’re feeling, but you know you’re stale and uninspired. Today I had the same feeling.

I was tempted to go back to bed, but I’ve got appointments, so I just stopped a moment and reviewed what I’ve already done this week. The truth is I worked through the weekend so even though it’s only Thursday morning, I’m slightly trashed. And I deserve to be. I’ve launched the class, prepared a proposal for a client, then met with them at length (yes, I got the gig), kept up with the blogging and even gotten my house tidy for guests.  Oh, and then there’s the garden…

I don’t know about you, but I often behave as if I really believe time will expand along with the work. It doesn’t, in spite of my acting as if it does.

It might be time management

Some might say that my problem is time management, and it certainly has an element of that. I way underestimated how much time the tech side of the class would take – and it was the kind of time is that fussy, nit picking, detailed time that isn’t very inspiring. It’s also the kind of job that’s terribly difficult to predict.

The new client is a delight and through her I even reconnected with an old friend. But listening to her story, creating the proposal, and another long meeting not only took time, it required the kind of attention that I love experiencing and often feel a bit drained afterward.

The combination of the class and the new client meant I spent much more working time than usual and it was the kind of working that takes it out of me often.

It’s really about balance and self-care

But more than time management, it’s really about balance – the balance of work and the rest of life.  Or maybe blance isn’t the right word. I don’t think I know what a balanced life would like like. What I do know is that it’s what I’ve come to call self-care that helps ground me and keep my creative and happy.

As freelancers we have wonderful options with our time, including the option to totally over do it. Some people, of course, are real workaholics – that’s not what I’m talking about, at least not exactly. Rather I’m suggesting that overworking is easy to do. While in theory we can work a 20 hour week it’s awfully easy to let that 20 hours expand to 40, or 50 or… It’s also easy to skip taking weekends and vacations to re-create our selves.

Feeling rushed? Pause!

I’ve been rereading Catherine Ponder’s classic, The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity. This morning, under a subhead called “Avoid Hurry” I found this:

Whenever you find yourself hurrying along trying to force a result, call a halt… A saleslady I know says that when she gets the feeling that she has “so much to do,” she does nothing. Instead, she goes off for a little while to relax, have a cup of coffee and regain her equilibrium, after which she can usually accomplish twice as much in half the time.

Okay, the language is a bit old fashioned and today most retail sales people don’t have the option to take breaks at will, but the sense of what she’s saying is spot on.

I meditate and that practice has taught me even stopping to take two or three conscious breaths can bring me back to the present moment, and the energy in the present moment somehow feels awfully close to infinite. When conscious breathing won’t do it, it’s time for a real break, and maybe a second cup of coffee or tea.

Take care of yourself – you deserve it!

How do you take care of yourself?



{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Saturdays off. Every single one. All day long. No computers. The secret of my success.

    They call it the Sabbath, people — try it, you’ll like it! Remember, you’re called a human being, not a human doing…

    Great post Anne!
    Carol Tice recently posted..Why I Joined a Monthly-Subscription Bloggers’ Learning CommunityMy Profile

  • Walking does it for me, Anne. I am training for the SD 3-Day, 60 mile walk for breast cancer-although not as much as I should. The weather has finally gotten cooler. Besides the exercise, it is just so good to be outside.

    Another is music – some soothing, classical music. When I was in Corporate America, I had a boss who said my office was like walking into a spa. I assumed she meant the music & not the massage therapist. 🙂

    Enjoy your weekend, Anne.

    • One of the few times I was working inside, this time writing for a now-defunct high tech company, I provided two lamps with incandescent bulbs and turned off the overhead fluorescents (which give me a migraine!). People would hang out there wondering why it seemed so peaceful.

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