Working for yourself means freedom, it means the luxury of choosing how to spend your time, it means being your own boss. It also means that you have a commitment to yourself and your ideas.It happened. I snapped. I snapped at someone who really had very little to do with my issue. But she triggered it, touched a sensitive nerve. After I had been waiting in the reception area of my dentist’s office for 50 minutes, I approached her and asked if maybe I should come back another day if they are too busy. I know she tried to squeeze me in to do me a favor, so that I could get someone to look at my tooth.
“When do you need to leave?” she asked me.
When do I need to leave?! Now! 50 minutes ago! I work for myself – I’m always working, and I’m sitting here on Facebook. I have things to do. That’s what I thought in my mind… and what I said out loud.
That’s what happens with me – my on-going project – to keep my filter, even when I boil over. Why? Well, because it’s not her fault that I feel like I’m swimming in a sea of my ideas. No, desperately treading water and trying my best not to drown, is more like it. It’s not her fault that I have a pile of papers that I dare not un-pile and peruse to figure out where the hell to start chipping at this iceberg, that I’m only one person and that ideas are both empowering and overwhelming and that sometimes working for yourself means that there is no “bad guy” – you have to be the “bad guy,” your boss, your manager, your timekeeper. And the clock ticks and the stack sits looking at me, daunting. Thanks, nice lady who’s known me since I was little and who kindly tried to get me in to the office to check on my tooth. Thanks for trying to help me out. Sorry you were the object of my Scorpio stinger. Oh, and thanks for getting me to see myself a little better, too.
I need a schedule. Working for myself means more freedom, but it also means more responsibility and it means that I need to be accountable to myself. If I get myself to my “office” – wherever that space is for you, get one, find one, create one – my favorite café, even if it takes me a little bit to warm up and get into what I’m doing, I always get a lot done. Now I realize why my Grandpa Carl, who was a writer by profession and worked from home all of his life, was so regimented. He set his schedule and stuck to it. Every day, he sat at his desk and put in time.
“Starting Monday, I have a set schedule,” I declared to my Mom, “and everyone will know it.”
“Who’s everyone?” she asked.
“Well,” I thought about it…“me.”
I’m the one who needs to know that I have a commitment to myself, to my business, to my ideas. And the first item on my to-do list is to tackle that pile of papers I keep carrying around with me. Once I can be accountable to myself, my friends and family and anyone who cares about my well-being and my sanity will understand.
I wrote this a couple weeks before leaving Seattle for this US Book & Tango Tour.