Wednesday, January 07, 2009

It's a good life so far

I'm three days into the new year work week and am quite pleased with myself, I must say. I have kept to a good schedule, kept the guilt away when I'm taking down time, and have continued purging stuff. So far, I've been starting the day at 8 by working on a writing project. I'm mostly outlining and planning right now and not really writing yet, but I've been doing that for an hour and a half every morning. My goal had been an hour, so this is good. After that I check email and think about what I want to do in the morning and then in the afternoon. I'm keeping it simple. Monday, I kept working past 3 because I hadn't finished what I was working on. Geeky Girl even pitched in to help me. Yesterday and today, I've pretty much finished by 3 and focused on the kids.

I've discovered (quite belatedly) that I do have a tendency to get anxious about big projects, not overly so, but enough to add to my stress level in ways that are unpleasant. So my strategy has been just to plug away at things and not to worry if I get bogged down a bit. So far, I'm working pretty far in advance and need not get too worked up about things taking longer than I thought. Planning to work on something all morning or all afternoon also helps me feel focused and in control and like I'm making progress. If I need to stop somewhat in the middle, I've been putting the next tasks on a list to remind me what to begin with or focus on the next time I work on the project. So far, so good.

stillAnother area that I've become quite aware of is the guilt I have in *not* working. I think I've blogged this before, but for some reason, I'm always worrying about whether I've worked enough or if I'm doing enough or whatever. I actually found myself asking around lunch time the other day, "If I work for just 2 hours after lunch, is that enough?" Crazy, I know. I was clocking myself in. I am trying not to care anymore. I don't have to clock in. What counts as "work" for me is very arbitrary. For example, is it work if I read a book in my field while I'm in the bathtub? By doing something in a pleasant location, do I make it not work? If I enjoy it, is it not work? Yes, I have things to do that others are depending on, but most of what I'm doing now is for me. If I decide the effort isn't worth it or find myself gravitating toward something else, then fine. What I'm finding really is that if I just let myself do what I'm naturally inclined to do, I'm more productive. I'm actually "working" close to a 7-hour day right now, but it doesn't feel like it. I'm not exhausted at the end of the day. I still have energy to read with my kids, to deal with a little housework, to goof around with the cat.

In two weeks, the class begins, and I think it's going to be quite simple to fit it in. I'm already prepping this week and the workshop I'm prepping for will be over by then. I'll just have to get into a new groove. But so far, I'm feeling truly groovy.