Perhaps the one thing I’m not loving about being self-employed is, surprisingly,
the lack of free time.
I know what you’re thinking. Some people are out there, commuting an hour each way to their office jobs, putting in 10-12 hour days, and still trying to squeeze in time to work out, be with their families, and maybe have just one hobby (oh, and that sleeping and eating thing is important too).
And here I am, working from home of my own accord (and earning zilch doing it), and I’M complaining about no free time? The nerve.
So before I get burned at the stake, let me clarify.
My lack of free time is a problem that is completely of my own doing.
And it’s mostly mental. My entrepreneurial ventures have a hold on me, 24/7. It’s what I’m always thinking about. Always.
Even when I’m doing something else, my brain is on the biz. It’s trying to figure out how in the bloody hell you crack the whole chicken/egg problem of “getting followers so you become proven in your field, but not being able to get followers because you’re not yet proven in your field”.
It’s thinking about my sad first attempt at a Facebook ad, and what I should be doing differently.
It’s thinking about my upcoming book launch, and wondering if I’m going to get it right, or whether it will launch to crickets.
It’s thinking about how badly I wanted this life, and how disappointing the slow growth feels.
It’s perpetually wondering who the hell I think I am suddenly declaring myself, a biologist by training, a writer now.
It’s feeling like I’m working my ass off, but always thinking I should be doing more.
It’s waking up on a Saturday morning, and no longer feeling excited about what fun things I could get into with my husband that day, but rather secretly hoping he doesn’t want to do anything, so I can get more work done.
It’s being chained to my laptop like it’s an appendage.
And none of it feels particularly good. None of it is serving me.
I wanted this freelancer’s life so that I could have one thing in spades:
Yet here I am, imprisoning myself. And it’s 100% my fault.
Sometimes I tell myself that I don’t actually deserve to have any leisure yet.
I don’t deserve to get to take a vacation (even if it’s for a business retreat). I don’t deserve to spend one day lounging by the pool with a novel, or pulling out my watercolors and painting while blasting music and sipping a glass of wine.
I don’t even deserve weekends. Weekends are for people who work 40+ hours a week and actually MAKE MONEY doing it.
Convincing myself otherwise is extremely hard to do.
And heck, some people in my life might actually agree that I haven’t earned the right to splurge or indulge, or even spend just one day AFK (“away from keyboard”, for those of you that never knew the joy that was AOL Instant Messenger).
But I know better. I know what it feels like to REALLY have no free time. I know what it feels like to be the commuter. I know what it feels like to work a long day, and get home with just enough hours in the evening to cook dinner, wash dishes, shower, and get to bed at a decent time.
And it’s entirely WHY I quit my job to pursue what I am now. I wanted to live life, not live to work.
So, what am I doing? Am I a glutton for punishment? Have I swapped one prison (the government work one), for another of my own making?
I have some work to do. I need to learn to compartmentalize my life. To let work be work, and personal life be personal life. And just because my work is now based on me, as a person – marketing my services as a writer and selling my books – doesn’t mean the two are one-and-the-same.
So since it’s Independence Day, I’m setting a few freeing goals for myself:
Weekends and holidays are off-limits for work.
Start getting up early – even if the neighbor has kept me up half the night.
Stop working at 5pm. As soon as the pet food hits the bowls, I am done for the day.
The exception to all this is work related to my books, because that’s not just work, it’s a hobby as well (and if these puppies don’t end up selling, then that’s all it will be!).
It’s going to be quite hard to do this. Especially the getting up early part.
But what is all this work for if it’s not making me a better person? And whether you think it’s selfish or not, independence and personal happiness is absolutely crucial to being a better person.
That goes for you as much as me.
Here’s to showing my business some boundaries.
P.S. Does this post remind you of anyone? Please share it with them! Love you, mean it.