09 February 2011
Take a typical day for example - ah, there's the answer - there is no typical day, and that's what makes working on one's own so great. Often, I walk first thing in the morning, a great way to energize the day. Sometimes I walk at the end of day, the sunset walk, to soothe the savage [born most often of difficult clients] or simply to stretch the spine that sat too still at the computer for too long. Sometimes, like today, I manage the email, read the headline news, listen to NPR, and even have time to watch a few fabulous TED talks, before I head to Zumba or Pilates class. Sometimes I stop mid-day for a class. In between, after showers and between meals, I work. I write. I interview. I council or conference with clients. If I feel like it, and sometimes I do, I take an extended lunch with a friend or colleague, or I read, the guiltiest pleasure of this freelancer. Late in the day, when the work that must be done is done, I might take my audio Spanish class or meet a friend for a bit of vino. Make no mistake - I work hard, I make my deadlines, I satisfy clients. The work is always top of mind but not all. I learned long ago that working smart is better than working hard - one has to stay focused, outcome-based, with a working calendar that lays out week by week what needs to be done and when. It's the in-betweens that make life delicious, perhaps there is a true metaphor here. This is the time once taken by superfluous meetings or wasteful chatter, the trappings of the office life. Even commuters can read or listen to a book and that must ease their pain. [Woe to those who listen to talk radio!] Sure, sometimes I miss the collegial environment, but much less so in my advanced age. Solitude and silence have become good companions, and facilitate productivity. I'm blessed with marketable skills and the discipline to work for myself. And savings that cushion my cash flow. I've also vigilantly reduced expenses in recent years, although this largely to pay for the wanderlust that grows more demanding over time. Still, I manage. I don't need much and that's a comfort. I hope I have seen my last "desk job" but one never knows - perhaps some fabulous post will come to my attention and I'll go back inside, it's happened before. But, in truth, I am spoiled and sated by this life, and most grateful for it. And for the clients that sustain me.