It’s been nearly a year now since I started working from home. Just a few weeks short of a year since I have been in charge of my own schedule.
When I started this process I was excited. I thought that if I just listened to myself, and worked out my circadian rhythm, that I could find a schedule that suited me perfectly and I would be able to work well each day, get the jobs done, and still be energetic and energised at the end of each day, and ready to go each new morning.
I thought that when I was no longer a permanently exhausted pigeon, I could figure out if I was an early bird or a night owl and run my day accordingly.
I thought that if I wasn’t squeezing myself into someone else’s schedule, that I could make it all work and be relaxed and happy about it. That I could find the perfect way to structure each day. That life would become easier to juggle.
And don’t get me wrong. I love my life. I really do. Even when I’m feeling totally challenged and busy I love my life right now. It’s great.
But I’m learning a few things about schedules.
I like schedules, I’ve written about them before. I like to have a plan, laid out, set out for me so that I know where I’m heading, what I’m doing. But if I’m not careful, that structure, that framework can become a cage. A prison with solid stone walls. And when things change – I get more work or I take up a new opportunity – then I can find myself squeezed against the bars of the schedule.
Life changes. There is a rhythm to the day, for sure. But there is also a rhythm to the week, to the month, and to the year. And I don’t know what all those are yet.
Right now it looks like winter is likely to be a busy time for my editing business. A time when I get a few extra jobs. Where there’s more to squeeze in.
In the summer I didn’t have much editing work at all. But I did a lot of writing work – producing books, marketing and rewriting, and even playing with book covers.
In the summer I worried that I would never get any editing work and that I wouldn’t make the business pay. In the winter I worry that I’ll never get my books to market, that they’ll be stuck in the editing, interior formatting, and cover design stage forever.
I think there’s a better way of living.
In the summer: to be grateful for all the writing I can do. To be busy creating. To enjoy the creative growth.
In the winter: to be grateful for the money coming in through editing, and to keep the writing just ticking slowly along, without feeling guilty for not reaching unrealistic goals.
I need to learn to live in these rhythms, not put burdens on myself that I can’t carry. I can’t keep up the amount of writing and book preparation and marketing that I did in the summer right now, because I have editing to do instead. I need to let it go a bit, allow myself to slow down. Not stop completely, but slow a bit.
I need to be more flexible, to keep the framework for sure, but to use it like a vine, weaving myself in and around it in order to grow.
I thought I could find the perfect schedule that fit everything into my life in perfect harmony, day by day, week by week. But I’m finding that is just not possible.
Instead I need to find the rhythm of my own life. Not just the daily rhythm, but weekly, monthly, and annual rhythm. Small adjustments each day depending on my energy levels, and larger adjustments as the seasons change and the workload changes with it.
The world is made with seasons – spring, summer, autumn, winter. Sowing and harvest, times to work hard and times to rest. As we have sheltered ourselves from these changes using electricity to give light and heat, and big-name supermarkets to give strawberries all year round, have we lost the rhythm we need to feel for ourselves?
Do you see these rhythms in your life? How does the change in season from summer to winter affect you? (Or from winter to summer if you’re in the north.)
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