Juggling multiple, and mostly unrelated, forms of employment is a constant balancing act, but its primary perk is that I run my own daily routine. Sure, I attend meetings and speak at events here and there, I meet competing deadlines, and I massage people in person (I've finished my internship, and am taking the state licensing exam in a few short weeks... One step away, baby, then this sh*t is for real); all of this requires a high level of scheduling. But when it comes to my morning coffee, I'm not carrying it on any kind of commuter train. In fact, I've recently begun to embrace my internal work rhythms in a way I haven't before; working at night blows, and while it's sometimes necessary, it's also not a very productive practice for me (the work gets done, but through blood, sweat and proverbial tears), so I've lately been shutting it down. Trusting I'll get the work done on time without making myself miserable has been liberating in this respect, quite literally. 

I noticed, too, that I'd been procrastinating before digging into my daily task lists in the mornings; we'd get Kaspar off to school and then I'd sit at my computer, coffee in hand, ostensibly 'starting my day', but in fact catching my breath and switching gears via some down-time on Facebook (or the NYTimes, or your blogs, or whatever). But I'd be feeling like I should be working, and thus end up stewing in low-level internal conflict before finally jumping in. When I realized, however, that I was consistently getting productive (and when I'm productive, I'm a powerhouse), in earnest, around 10:30 or 11 a.m., I began giving myself the chunk of time leading up to that point for doing non-work things I also value and enjoy: Buddhist practice, yoga, the gym, making stuff with my hands. On one morning I cleaned both of our bathrooms. This may seem like a blatant example of work avoidance, but it wasn't; I was at it right on schedule, 11 a.m. And instead of having little or nothing to show for having merely behaved as if I was working up until then, we had really clean bathrooms, and I felt focused when I finally sat down at my desk. 

I've worked in enough office settings to know how much time is wasted by employees staring into cyberspace (or, running their mouths in pointless, endless meetings...) under a pretense of getting stuff done; I think this down-time is necessary to the productive time, though. It's the other side of the getting-stuff-done coin. Ultimately, everyone's self-scheduling, whether in a cubicle or in their own homes. I just decided to let myself have what I set out to have in setting my life up in the way it is, though; I wanted a high quality of life (instead of a cubicle) in that work-life equation. For me, this means letting the two (work, and life) flow alongside each other as they do, and jumping back and forth between them without bringing any baggage along. Freelancers frequently lament that their enjoyment of their freedom is inhibited by an ever-nagging sense that they should be getting something work-related done whenever they're not; it's harder to leave your work behind when you don't leave its physical proximity, and when your paycheck depends on your product, point-blank. But truly enjoying the freedom is what makes this deal so very sweet, and it's well worth the mental leap. (Today, I did my work outside, a breeze blowing through my hair, the wildflowers, and the trees). 

This week, in my morning hours, I kissed Kaspar off (Aaron brings him to school; I pick him up at three and am then in Mama mode 'til after bedtime, unless I'm particularly swamped, in which case Aaron will pinch-hit on afternoon watch), went for quick runs around the neighborhood, and then sipped my coffee while sewing a picnic/play quilt for the little man. It was meditative, boring at times, but mostly really fun. It's a work of imperfection, as with the last one, and it isn't quite finished (I plan to stitch across the entire thing in several places; is this the proper 'quilting' part? I'm still a novice...), but -- as you can see (above) -- it's already in use. Hooray for making stuff, instead of excuses.

Kaspar made something this week, too. Today was his final day of school for the year ("summer camp" begins in a week: same place, same time... Thank god), and his teacher, knowing how much Kaspar loves his juice, asked if we'd like to make popsicles for him to share with the class to mark the occasion. Now, his classroom's had a snack-rotation going all year, for which one kid brings snack for the class each day for a week at a time. Kaspar, of course, brings his own separate snacks due to his food allergies, and while everyone's made an awesome effort to ensure he never feels either excluded or unhappy about his allergy sitch, his teacher and I both thought this would be a fun opportunity for him participate in eating a treat alongside his peers. Plus, he'd get a sense of satisfaction and stardom for having made and brought the treat himself. 

Kaspar totally rocked it. We made his favorite juice (apple, strawberry, carrot, beet) last night and poured it, together, into ice-pop molds. They did their thing in the freezer over night, and Aaron dropped them off (in a cooler) with Kaspar this morning. This afternoon, before everyone dispersed for the break, his teacher busted the popsicles out of the school's freezer. (She was smart to strip the kids down in advance of doing so... beet juice stains). She reported back later that Kaspar was as proud as could be, and his popsicles were a full-on, messy success. I'm so happy for Kaspar and his project, and I'm looking forward to making real-juice popsicles with him all summer long.

What are you making lately? Where do you find the time?

Ellen R.
05/28/2012 15:37

I love the blanket you made! And got a little teared up reading about Kaspar's juice popsicle project. Happy for him! I'm inspired to find time to make something now. I'm looking for a creative hobby. Keep up the great work!


Leave a Reply.