I Love My Freedom, but How Much Freedom is Too Much Freedom?
January 31, 2013 9:08 AM Subscribe
How do you make yourself go to sleep/do errands/be a grown-up when you have no responsibilities or schedule you need to keep? When I hear people say they loved a show and watched 3 episodes before bed because they had to work the next morning I laugh because if I love a show I might watch 10 episodes because I can.
posted by Bunglegirl to Work & Money (10 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Backstory: I've been feeling very scattered for the past year, and I'm sure it has to do with a job I started two years ago. I have my own business where I work from home for my own clients (job A). This job requires keeping up relationships with clients, and often projects drag on for months and are always weighing on my mind. Over the past two years I've also picked up a new career (job B) that uses my skill set as well as gets me out of the house, working with different, interesting co-workers each time in different locations around the U.S., for different industries. Job B fulfills a lot of what I missed with job A. When I leave job B I have no further contact with the end client or project and I can essentially wash my hands of it. I'm booked on job B on an as-needed basis, usually for 3-6 days at a time and requires I fly to another location 70% of the time. I've already spent 15 days on business trips this January but will only have one in February (as of today, but that could change). Sometimes I get booked by job B a month in advance, but it's more often 2 weeks, and sometimes as little as one day in advance. I might work 3 weeks in a row in 3 different cities (exhausting!) but then might have a month with nothing from job B. I never know in advance that I'll have a good chunk of "free time" because there could always be another job around the corner. Job B pays great, and I don't turn down work because I never know when the next job will come in.
Obviously, this means that I have no consistent schedule at all and taking classes, going to the gym, doctor's appointments or anything is difficult. Often job A falls to the wayside while I'm working job B because my clients are so laid back about deadlines. My friends have been great, and we schedule things when I'm around. Trying to date is much more complicated, but I'm trying. Because I live alone and am single I have no accountability if I don't do the dishes or spend an entire day watching DVDs when I'm not working job B.
Job B is fun, challenging at times, and allows me to interact with people whereas working form home is very isolating. Don't get me wrong, both jobs allow me immense freedom—to take vacations whenever I want, go for a bike ride in the middle of the day, not work if I don't want to. I haven't worked full-time in an office since 2004 and can't imagine going back to that lifestyle. It seems perfect—but all that freedom is a bit overwhelming. Job B leaves me totally exhausted (being "on" for days on end and working 12-16 hour days) and I end up spending 3 days to a week after a job recharging. I know that I should work on job A, do my laundry, go to the gym, grocery shop, go out and be social, schedule dates, get those projects I've been meaning to do forever started, but I always stay up late, sleep until 9 and lose myself in a TV show or book series. I might put off a project for job A and watch an entire TV series when I know that if I just got that one thing done for job A I would feel so much better and be able to enjoy my free time. I have so many lists of personal projects I want to do that that the idea of doing even one of them is overwhelming so I do none of them. In the past I've had to go cold turkey when trying to quit things. I can't just watch one TV episode or read just one chapter of a book. Canceling cable years ago means at least I don't channel flip and watch mindless TV I don't even like anymore.
Question: If you have a non-traditional lifestyle or job like mine how do you manage it? How do you make yourself stay on a schedule? I've thought about trying to schedule my life... make a calendar on Google (although I'd like the ability to check things off a list on a calendar) with everything planned out (e.g., 8am wake up, breakfast, dishes... gym... 2 hour block of work... 2 hour block of creative/project time... with some weekly chores like laundry scheduled) and after all of those things are done I allow myself to watch TV, read etc. Are there any good apps/websites for this level of planning? The downside to this is it would only work on days when I'm in town and not working job B. My life feels like a mess—what can I do to make myself stay on target?