As I've been blogging about recently, I have come to embrace the fact that this is my life: a mosaic of all sorts of multitasking and different kinds of vocational tasks rolled into one.
I have to say that while it has been quite a unique transition (i.e. I don't go into the church office for office hours anymore) there is so much about this season that is like the traditional pastoral life and it's rhythms. I was prepared well!
The calendar for any given week is often based on immediate need, not some long-range plan. Lunches or coffee appointments are often about listening well to others. And, each day has a pattern of its own that may not look like any other day.
And in this freelance/ work from home kind of lifestyle these are some things I'm learning:
1. Wake up in the morning, even if you have nowhere to be at the same time.
Some folks might say get up and shower right away even if you are just going to put your yoga pants back on. I say do whatever works for you. But most of all get up. Getting out of bed and moving toward things earlier in the morning (even if you aren't a morning person) really does set the tone of productivity for the rest of the day.
2. Don't have your schedule eaten up by the needs of others, neglecting your own.
It is so easy when you are financially dependent on bits and pieces of projects thrown together to keep saying "yes" to everyone and everything. But, when you do the sacrifices are often too burdensome. Your business, writing or creative projects get put on the back burner until you don't even remember what you most wanted to do in the first place. Schedule in time for those things that bring you joy, even if don't think you have time to do them. (You do).
3. Allow your weeks to have ebbs and flows.
For us work from home types, one day could be all about being out and seeing about people dressed up in nice business clothes, and the next could be spent entirely in sweatpants corresponding or writing alone. Flexibility to what each day and week presents is a key. Just because you had an entire week at home with no person-to-person contact between 9-5 pm, your business/ project is not a failure. You just had a quiet week. Next week will be better.
4. Find other freelance/ work from home friends.
There's nothing better than saying to a pal, could we work in community? I do it all the time. I meet up with fellow writers or fellow self-employed folks at coffee shops or we hang out in one another's homes simply for the reason of being with someone who understands. Though we'd love to chit-chat, we realize that our meeting is for work and simply by being in the same room our presence motivates one another to "getter done." And then when the work is over, we talk and it's a complete kind of lovely afternoon.
5. Keep a log of your accomplishments.
Often times without an annual review coming up or a board to report to, it's easy forget what've you've achieved. Working for yourself can be oh so rewarding if you remember to actually reward yourself. Several months ago, I found myself depressed thinking my life was without meaningful work. A wise friend came along and told me to make a list of everything I was working on at the time. I did and the results shocked me. I had no idea all I was doing and as I shared the results with my friend she helped me to celebrate the fact that no, I was not sitting on the couch all day, I was building a new kind of life with lots of meaning.
What about others of you who work at home or out of your home? What tips keep you motivated?