Deb Ng and I had a twitter exchange yesterday based on her post On Being Accessible…but Drawing the Line. It’s a meditation on how to set your own hours and how to think about when/if to contact others, and she makes points worth reading.
I was startled when she said “Fifteen or twenty years ago we’d never consider contacting a business on the weekends are during evening hours.” Although I suspect it was more like twenty or thirty years ago, she’s absolutely right. When I was a kid down towns were mostly closed on weekends. The only businesses open were bars and churches!
In fact, there were even what’s known as ‘blue laws‘ that made it illegal to open a business on Sunday in many communities, mostly designed to keep that day ‘holy.’ Fortunately those laws began to disappear in the 60s and 70s and are, for the most part, gone.
While I don’t believe in creating laws to try to enforce a day to practice religion or even to force me to rest, I have learned that it’s up to me to set my own hours and to make sure I have time to recreate or re-create myself.
In a way, Deb sounds a bit tentative, as if she’s not quite sure it’s okay to set her own hours. She’s normally not a tentative person and I expect she truly is exploring the boundaries just as she says she is.
But darn it! Each one of us has only 24 hours in a day – those hours won’t come back, and taken together those hours make up my life, and yours. They are truly the length of my days. How I spend them is, once I reached more or less adulthood is up to me. I am responsible for how I live my life. I get to choose – after all, no one else can.
Oh I can mutter that this client or this job or this work is sooooooo demanding I have no time, but that’s a lie. I’m the one who is making the decision to work the extra hours it that’s what I’m doing.
Sure, some situations, some work, some clients are more demanding than others, but ultimately I can choose to walk away. As long as I stay I need to own the fact of my choice. And yes, there are obligations to family, friends, and the bill collectors – but you know what? I could walk away from all of that too. It’s been done and will be again.
No, I’m certainly not suggesting you walk out on your work, your family and your bills. Just notice that it’s possible. Notice so you can begin to make more conscious choices about how you spend your time. There’s real freedom in realizing you are making choices. Once you realize your making choices you can decide, if you want, to change your decision, a little bit or a whole lot.
Set real hours for your writing business and time you spend on social media. Let your clients know when you’re available and when you’re not. Make sure you do get some time for yourself. You and your writing business will be better off because of it.
What hours is your writing business open?
Image from http://www.sxc.hu