with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
Spring is here! Or—to be a bit more specific (for me, anyway)—here in Georgia we have passed through the brief hell known as three-straight-weeks-of-deadly-pollen-levels and are now catapulting directly into what already feels like, and soon will actually be, summer.
I am approaching having lived in Georgia for three years, and embarking on my fourth summer here. The same thing happens to me every single year and yet it still causes me to panic, because I am apparently a slow learner. Oh, the first summer we’d just moved, and we were getting settled and everything was new, so, sure, I felt like work couldn’t be the top item on my priority list. And then the next summer, well, I figured I was just worried about the new summer schedule for the kids and such. Last summer, I just had a lot going on, you know, so there was that. And this year? Well, I think I may have finally cracked the code.
The thing is, I’m pretty sure I have senioritis. Just, you know, every May.
And what’s more, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think that—given what I do, and the way I work—it’s actually a really good thing, once I stop panicking about it.
Because the thing about feeling unfocused is that everything gets examined more closely as you struggle to get life prioritized again.
School here ends the third week in May. So by the time April makes its exit, my kids are pretty much wired for sound. They’re done. Some of that is related to the state testing they go through at the end of April (and do not get me started on that, because that’s a whole ‘nother rant about Every Child Left Behind), and some of it is just the squirmy impatience that crops up whenever “wrap-up” assignments are given in conjunction with beautiful weather. So the kids are antsy, and frankly, every morning as I pack lunches in the month of May, I pretty much daydream about a world where I don’t have to 1) get up at 5:30 and 2) make sandwiches while I drink my coffee.
So there’s that.
There’s also the matter of summer travel. We don’t travel a lot, really, but what vacationing we do as a family happens in the summer. It often requires some planning—both physical and mental—and as I can’t just hang a “gone fishin’” sign on my computer, this can have added stress for me as I also have to plan how to work while supposedly vacationing. I find myself starting the yearly obsession about that in May, as well.
With the weather turning gorgeous and the local pick-your-own strawberry farm opening up and my garden needing tending, the simple fact of the matter is that I am not interested in sitting inside at my computer these days. Do I sound childish and petulant? I feel a little childish and petulant. I mean, I do it, because that’s my job. But I also sneak outside every chance I get. I spend more time cooking—hey, all sorts of yummy produce is coming back into season—as well. I spend a lot more time doing non-work things than I do in the winter, when sitting at my computer is pretty much my best option.
See? Senioritis. Totally.
So that may all seem like bad news, but here’s the good news: I think this sort of I-would-rather-be-doing-anything-else mindset is a healthy and necessary reboot for any freelancer to have on a regular basis. Because the fact of the matter is that no matter how much my brain whispers that maybe I could just chuck it all and go for a hike for, say, the entire day, that’s not what happens. I still get my work done, because it’s my livelihood and I’m not that irresponsible. So what does happen?
1) I work more efficiently, to make up for the time I’m now spending in the garden, out walking the dog, and trying new recipes.
2) I think more about what’s working and what’s not. The assignment that I dread that always gets pushed to the bottom of my to-do pile? May is when I’m most likely to reevaluate my work load and jettison something that’s making me crazy.
3) I put myself out there in new ways. I don’t know if it’s some great cosmic woo-woo thing or just coincidence, but for several years running, now, a new opportunity has plunked down into my lap in this April/May time frame, one that I suspect I would’ve rejected had it come at any other time. But when it comes around while I’m weighing and evaluating my business strategy, I’m much more likely to say yes. And some fabulous things have come out of those yeses.
On the one hand, I feel a little unmoored at this time of year. On the other, I feel pretty confident that in another month or so I’ll be back on track, ready for what’s next.
Do you go through this in the spring (or some other time), or is it just me?
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