I’m absolutely shattered! I think back in the days of embarking in this new world of ‘portfolio working’ I had a very different idea of flexible working i.e. that I’d have some spare time and if I didn’t want to work on a day I wouldn’t but in fact I don’t seem to have much spare time at all and I seem to be much busier than I ever was in my corporate life.
Of course I can’t complain about this! It’s good to be busy and it’s much more preferable to five days in ‘the office’ and I get to work – as I wanted – with lots of different people. However, I don’t think I’ve had one day in recent weeks where I’ve had the whole day off in the way I used to when I had ‘weekends’ and I’m missing a bit of downtime. I feel like I’m achieving many (not all) of all my goals and definitely not the ‘spiritual’ one, which is the one that suggests I should set some time aside for just catching up on Vogue (I’m about four issues behind) or spending a night in front of the tele (I’ve got so much recorded). And because I don’t have much spare time I’m not getting round to doing things like the garden either (my physical environment goal) – a shame as today was so sunny it would have been perfect timing. Although I have to say my couch to 10k running plan is helping immensely in clearing my head, getting fit and getting some good quality time with Rex.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still getting out and about, I had a super evening this week catching up with my old RSA colleagues and yesterday I attended the People’s March in London but I still seem to be doing some kind of work every day.
One of the things about working for yourself is that you don’t have weekends as such – everything you do is spread across one whole week, that’s the point of being flexible. I have three fixed days a week working for a client and during those three days I’m kept as busy as everyone is in their day jobs.
Over the other four days I seem to do some kind of work every day – including with my other client. We’ve just got some technology to help with our social media messaging and I’ve spent a lot of time getting used to that over the past couple of days (will actually make me become more efficient!).
Sometimes, like last Thursday, I get a bit of a treat, I had a client meeting at The Ned in London followed by a good debrief over a glass of good wine in Vinoteca. I’ve also been introduced to a great work community… the premise being that it’s a group of like minded professionals who go in and trouble shoot at other companies, you have to be introduced to get onto the books and the opportunities sound amazing – there’s a terrific retail project coming up and I’m speaking to them about it next week, I’m very grateful for the introduction made. I need to send them some written info on me and tonight as I was trying to switch the Word version of my bio onto my branded version (a job that’s been on my to-do list for weeks) the technology failed me and I wasted about an hour trying to work out why a solitary letter kept dropping onto the next line… and the ‘contact us’ form is not working!
There appears to be never ending admin working for yourself; I’ve got to keep on top of all my financial accounts, respond to emails, write proposals, make sure I’m keeping active on social media, maintain contact with all my contacts, keep up with the blogs, keep going with the other career goals (the book for example) – it sometimes feels a bit never ending. I haven’t sat in my lounge since Friday and today I’ve been in my home office since around 9am and as at 9pm I still haven’t done everything I needed to do this week.
Now, I have to take a step back here as I’m sure people reading this will just be like ‘hellooooooooo – normal world!’ That’s true, I don’t have kids so I don’t have to be constantly ‘on’ as you need to with a child – I imagine that must feel like a full time job and there’s not much time for you to have your own time. I’m single and not a carer of anyone (apart from Rexy boy!) so I don’t have those time demands. But at the same time – for me – being self-employed is taking some adjustment and I need to think about how I get more structured in my approach to give me that downtime.
As I say of all of this, I am actually heading off to New York on Thursday for a few days with my good friend Michelle who is celebrating her 40th birthday. I’m really looking forward to it albeit I’ve not packed, my ironing basket has more clothes in it than I have clothes hanging in my wardrobe, I haven’t cleaned the flat or done any shopping for my friend who is coming in to look after Rex.
When Michelle and I saw each other earlier this week we both said that right now what we’re most looking forward to is the flight! Eight hours of uninterrupted downtime – no emails, no calls, just sit back and watch movies, read a book or listen to some music. Albeit I also have a rather exciting business proposal to pull together which could transform my ‘2020’ and it seems that the downtime on the flight may be taken up with doing that!