Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Being My Own Boss

I am incapacitated by a preponderance of time. With The Boss off at school for six and a half hours each day and with Number Two still in a two-nap-a-day phase, I have moments where I could never collect them before. I have quiet spaces. I have broken chunks of blank slate.

It's not that I lack things to do; in fact, I have so much to do that I don't know where to start. There are books to read so that I have novels to write. There are freelance writing jobs for a little cash and some immediate gratification. There are volunteer roles I sometimes wonder why I took on. There's a blog I can't bring myself to update more than once a week. There's a house I haven't cleaned in four months. There are leaves starting to fall.

I could be doing something big right now, like starting that novel or increasing my freelancing load so that writing becomes more of a career than a side-job. But I don't know how to structure myself. I see the open expanse of possibilities and I just sit here as if I have no options at all.

When I worked in an office, my day was structured for me. When The Boss was born, the newness of her demands shaped my days. As she grew, she held onto most of my attention. Then her brother arrived and every moment I had was a single bubble bursting into two. I didn't need to schedule my own small projects because it was easier to get to them in fits and starts whenever I had the chance. The amount of effort it would've taken to organize my life was beyond my time and energy level. So my projects remained insignificant and largely undone.

Now I want to do more. But I don't know where or how to start. Instead of sitting here staring at my navel, marveling at the way it keeps my insides from spilling out, I want to try to turn this post into something productive. So I will ask you--all four of you dear, dear readers--how you manage to get anything done. How do you make time for personal and professional fulfillment while continuing to cater to your kids? How do you prioritize all the different things you need to do as a mother, wife, and all-around human being?

This is what happens when The Boss is out. I surf the Internet all day and get nothing done.


Lauren said...

Oooooh I do the same thing, just surf and wallow in internet garbage. I love it. It's one of my favorite hobbies.

Chris said...

I'd make some suggestions, but you've heard them all before and yelled at me for suggesting that you could accomplish things. So, I'll let the other 3 readers come up with better ideas.

Heather said...

Baby steps. I just know that I'm not going to get all of a project done in one block of time so I just do parts here and there.

Also, I spend a lot of time on the internet thinking about all the stuff I should be doing.

So, probably what you do.

Jen said...

I've got no magical solutions but lots of sympathy. My very own 4 year old boss in school 4 days a week this year and her assistant, I mean sister, is on two naps a day. I try to work on my freelance writing during naps but it doesn't always happen.

Kelly said...

Ditto what the other's have said. #1 may be doing a preschool thing soon and it'll be during #2's naptime and what will I do with that time? Blog? Surf? Read? Knit? I have no idea, and hate feeling like there's pressure for me to decide.

Jene said...

you know my answer to this, lol.

miss you!


Jerri Ann said...

I get very little done. I've been doing laundry for 2 days. Given I have mono and every chance I get I take a nap. But, I"m writing 7 blogs and doing my best to keep up, but I sure feel behind. I'm watching DVR stuff now that the boys are in bed and surfing, reading blogs, when I could be sleeping or at least doing the laundry...oh well....who cares in the grand scheme of things anyway.

Sarah said...

I don't know how to do it - I am motivated to keep a clean house because the disorganization drives me crazy, plus with three infants and a limited supply of bibs and bottles I don't really have a choice but to get the dishes laundry done.....but when it comes to actual "work" I find myself totally unmotivated to look for a new job. So here I sit - the PhD in chemistry and now a stay at home mom. Sometimes I feel lazy for not looking more and stupid for not caring, but then when I check on my three sleeping babies before I go to bed I know that I couldn't leave them yet anyway.

Mrs. Chicken said...

It is hard to partition your time. I find that the ONLY way I focus on my writing as a "job" is if I leave the house.

I swear by the babysitter, even for four hours a week. Makes a HUGE difference for me.

Anonymous said...

For me timers in ten or 15 minute increments work. And loud music.

duff said...

When I feel motivated, I don't let myself sit down at naptime until I've finished at least one constructive thing.

That one thing rarely is cleaning the bathroom.

And one blog, 2 or 3 times a week, keeps me busy enough to keep me from writing anything else.

But for now, it's a victory that I'm writing something

zellmer said...

I'm kinda like Mrs. Chicken. I work from home, but I often go work at a coffee shop so it feels more like work, and there are no procrastinating distractions like laundry and dirty windows.

And I totally know what you mean about the quiet. It's nice, but also debilitating. And often times, depressing.

Anonymous said...

I'm just starting off on this "being my own boss" thing - am only a week into it and can see that it's all a big juggling test! I try to talk myself down by reminding myself I can only do one thing at a time and so I might as well just pick one and finish it! If someone posts THE ANSWER, please share it!

Good luck to you with your juggling - take time to smell the roses...or surf the internet!!