Sometimes the Best Schedule is a Loose One
I’m struggling to stay 4 weeks ahead right now, which is the goal I set months ago, and finally achieved recently. But it’s different these days. If I get a few days behind, I don’t get crazy or start beating myself up. I take it in stride.
I’m learning I don’t work in a linear fashion any more than I think that way. Instead, I’ll have chunks of time; days even, when I’m off doing errands, indulging in self-care, or catching up on my reading. Then I become a veritable writing machine and edit 2 or 3 chapters of “Sasha”, write a blog post or two, and get all my Medium posts scheduled for another month. I literally have an on/off switch but in my case, it is more of a gear changing switch in which I move from one mode to another.
I spent too many years fighting with myself about what I wasn’t accomplishing before I recognized a pattern in myself. This is how I work best, fueled by coffee, gallons of water, and inspiration when it’s good and ready.
There are days and even weeks when it’s all I can do to sit down in front of the computer long enough to share what I’ve already written and pre-scheduled. I’m learning to not look too closely at my Trello board on those days because I know when the lull is over, I’ll catch up and often exceed my target dates.
Cutting Yourself Some Slack
Learning to work within your own cycles instead of accomplishing what is expected of you is a hard habit to break. It took me about 6 years to finally figure it out, and to allow myself to be who I am, and work how I work best. Above all, I don’t need to take weekends off from what I love to do. I may take a day off here or there, or a few days off when I’m so inclined, but writing is something I do perpetually now, and more and more often now that I’ve freed myself of the shackles of unrelenting schedules.
Yes, I do need my schedules and due dates, but they serve as a guideline to keep me focused on producing what I want to in accordance with a loose timeline. Looking at my schedules these days serves more as a reminder that I need to have a day of furious writing after a couple of days of nothing, but it also gives me a sense of accomplishment when I’ve met or beaten my due dates. More often than not, I see the latter nowadays.
Whether it’s work for my own blogs and other sites where I share my work, or client work, the rules are the same. I do not have to push myself to write on a day that’s filled with errands and other tasks. I also don’t have to get up in the morning and force myself to sit at the computer right away. If I have a compelling book to read (and right now, I have about 4), or grocery shopping to do, or an Artist’s Date to squeeze in after avoiding it for months, I do it guilt-free knowing I’ll likely have a late night or two when I’m pounding away at the keyboard oblivious to the passage of time.
Finding Your Own Rhythm
It took me almost 60 years to figure out I work best when I can manage my own schedule and work the hours that are most productive for me. I’m not a 9 to 5’er, nor do I work well when stuck in a stagnant work week. I may work 4 days or 7, but feeling and honoring my own body’s rhythm is essential to maximum productivity.
I can get up by 7-ish on rare occasions, but don’t expect it of me on a regular basis. I get bored, but I also feel somewhat resentful. I can and do get up by 8 on a regular basis, but need days when the alarm stays silent and I get up when I’m good and ready. Once I began to honor that, I stopped sleeping until 10 or 11, and am usually up by 9 even on my laziest days.
On the other side of the coin, some nights, I need to stay up until 3AM, while others find me falling asleep at my desk or on the sofa by 10 or 11. Without a set schedule or meaningless expectations, I’m free to honor them all. The sense of freedom I get and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with honoring my cycles, whatever they might be is unbelievable!
What Really Motivates You?
I realize now, more than 6 years after leaving the Corporate Jungle that my resentment and lack of motivation wasn’t entirely the environment I was working under. It was also a lack of respect for my own cycles. Learning to honor my cycles gives me the motivation I lacked and then some.
Granted, I’ll never be able to work under someone else’s guidelines. If I tried, the same resentment and lack of motivation will ultimately set in. But the people I work with now don’t have expectations from me other than a due date we agreed on. How I get there, or when I do the work is irrelevant to them. They want results and are uninterested in micromanaging those who give them those results.
The Truth About AB5 and Your Right to Work
At the moment California’s AB5 and the Federal PRO bill are putting what I and millions of others do at risk, but as I write, many are working on repealing or fixing one, and stopping the other in its tracks. On my own list is a slew of letter-writing and phone calls to help the cause. The writers and supporters in their Tinker Toy castles are currently oblivious to the the negative financial impact their well-meaning bills have on the economy and a lot of marginalized groups like seniors, disabled people, minorities, single moms, and women in general.
Why does this translate into negative financial implications State- and Nation-wide? Because many of us are unable or unwilling to go on someone’s payroll. It would mean a lot less income for us, and for some, more dependence on State or Federal aid. It also means less money paid in taxes, and less ability to contribute to the overall economy.
How You Can Help
Groups like Freelancers Against AB5 are compiling actual cases of financial hardship and lack of ability to enter into new, or renew existing contracts. They have created files of resources to educate people as to the actual issues with bills which supporters (read “Unions and the politicians they feed”) insist will better things for everyone. In truth, most freelancers make far more than they ever could as employees, and truly do function independently. By narrowing the requirements to operate as freelancers, they don’t create more jobs. Instead, they take jobs out of the states like California who are enacting these laws, and give them to people in states without the risk of exorbitant fines.
The joke is on the AFL-CIO if you ask me. The 35% of dues they contribute to political campaigns will continue to shrink. They won’t see more dues-paying members joining their ranks to comply with a poorly written law or two. People like me might earn less for a few months, or even a year. Many will apply for public assistance to help bridge the gap until someone…anyone comes to their senses. Budgets will have to be revised to allow for a drastic reduction in tax revenues.
Sadly, the people who deserve to suffer for the lack of foresight will continue to draw exorbitant paychecks unless or until they’re voted out in favor of someone who might actually read what they wrote, and like many of us, shake their heads at the idiocy of it all.
Raising Voices Against Inequities
If you’d like to help return us to a more rational world where earning a living isn’t unnecessarily restricted, please check out the Facebook group above, where you’ll find resources to:
- Contact your legislators
- Download files to add support to your letters
- Get help understanding how you or the services for which you contract are impacted
- Wade through the political double-talk
- Call Governor Newsome (if you’re in California) at (916)445-2841 and say you’d like to add your name to the list of constituents demanding a repeal of AB5
Other groups have also formed based on profession.
California Freelance Writers United supports writers, bloggers, ghostwriters, and journalists. There are groups for performing artists including musicians, actors, and all supporting professions, as well as one for court reporters, and most of the other industries and professions affected. Type in “AB5” in the Facebook search bar for a list of groups and who they represent.
I cannot stress this enough. We are rapidly losing our right to free enterprise to people who don’t even understand what they’re doing, and are simply dancing on the string of their political contributors. There are more than enough of us to make our voices louder, and to highlight the negative implications of bowing to someone else’s agenda.
OK, stepping off my soapbox now.
Showing Gratitude No Matter What
My gratitudes today are:
- I am grateful for the people who are putting their time and energy into helping all voices be heard.
- I am grateful for more dance nights since BL Dancehall and Saloon has opened.
- I’m grateful for inspiration.
- I’m grateful I’ve learned to recognize and honor my cycles.
- I’m grateful for abundance; love, dancing, friendship, inspiration, motivation, productivity, self-care, progress, goal meeting, writing, reading, exercising, health, peace, harmony, balance, philanthropy and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward