Last week I decided to try a different work schedule. I came to this decision because I was feeling like I was working all the time and never finding a split between work life and home life (which is already tricky when you work from home); but I was feeling moody, finding more and more days where I wasn’t liking what I was working on, feeling stressed out and not finding time for the things I really wanted to do.
David could see that something was up with me and he too was feeling a bit left out of my schedule. So we brainstormed. And together we got to the root of it all. I was pretty much unfocused and all over the place for so many months. And I’m a girl who loves routine (but routine is really hard to create when you don’t have any other external forces pushing you to do so, like school, outside work, kid’s schedules). So I forced myself to come up with radical schedule, enlisted David’s assistance and have been sticking to it for the past 2 weeks and what a difference it has made in that short time!
Before, my schedule was something like this: wake around 8, check email, answers questions from customers, get on the Etsy forums to see what were the latest issues facing sellers, facebook, my blog, other blogs etc. until 10ish, many times later. Then I’d do orders in the order received, have lunch, and spend the afternoon scrambling to finish orders to get to the post office before the 5pm closing. I’d return home to figure out what to do for dinner (often convenience foods since making a meal from scratch was the last thing I wanted to do), then land on the couch to work on new listings, photo editing and making new product until 10pm or so. It’s easy to see how I felt like I never left work.
Now with my new schedule I get up at 5am, make a cup of coffee and go directly to my studio and start working on orders one shop at a time (in an assembly line fashion – all my supplies first, then my art shop, then my goodies shop). I’m finding that because I’m so focused, I’m very efficient and there’s no distraction in the early morning, my orders are often made and packed up by 9am. I then take a quick break for breakfast with David, feed the dogs and then spend the next 3 hours conversing with customers, working on new listings, working on my shops and making new items, etc. I close shop around 12:30 and make my run to the post office (when it’s also empty and customers aren’t rolling eyes at me and my 10 packages). The rest of the day is mine!
It has been heavenly, especially with this nice weather. Now I have time to do the things I really want to do…more time for painting, reading, sketching, spending time outdoors, going for walks, talking with David, etc.
I’ve been spending a lot less time online, less time watching TV and more time interacting with David. Most nights we’re grilling dinner, eating on the deck and sitting in our adirondack chairs until the sun sets just talking, laughing, playing with the dogs…
I feel better, lighter, happier and more connected with my spouse. And it’s been there all along. It’s the old adage that you’ll make time for the things that are important to you.
Now I recognize that not everyone can change their schedules if you have a set work time, but I think we can all find ways to be more efficient and focused at work and at home, deflect the distractions and set boundaries between work life and home life.
Do I miss my sleep? Sure…when the alarm goes off at 5, I always wish I could sleep some more instead of going right into work. But David is helping me with getting up (he works nights and sends me a wake-up text) and each day gets easier knowing how much time I have to my day and how balanced it is now between work and play. I actually go to bed each night excited for the next day to start! Can’t remember the last time I felt like that.
So spend a moment to create a list of what you wish you had more time for. Now brainstorm ways to be more efficient and determine what you can give up in order to make time for what’s important to you!