Back in my employed days, there was no need for this subject to even be on my mind. I was working long hours in a sales job in the City, with a commute to go with. At weekends, I was exhausted.
I could mostly* switch off and feel good, because I had a work/life boundary all my life up until that point; there was a clearer distinction between 'school' and 'home', and 'work' and 'home'. In general, weekdays were for working, weekends were for playing.
*there was some mental carry-over to a small extent, as always, and especially when it's a case of working with people and the energy that brings.
As I was so exhausted from the working week, my weekends were for sleeping in, going to the gym, and otherwise taking it easy to restore my energy levels (no wonder I wasn't in any mood to see anyone, and could barely put up with being around my family).
There's a big shift that happens when you move away from employment, though. And one of the things to contend with is managing your time. Your time is completely and utterly yours.
To my free-spirited self, that sounded like bliss in theory... but I soon learned that this is both and beautiful and a terrifying thing. There is nothing to stop you procrastinating all day, and also nothing to stop you over-working yourself each day. It is completely up to you.
You are your own boss, accountable to yourself and at the mercy of your whims (oh, the whims).
Like many others who choose to 'go their own way', I consider myself to be reasonably ambitious, wanting to both make an impact and to get to a place of sustaining myself financially through my ventures.
And therein lies the slippery slope. I am trying to get somewhere. I am trying to attain a place of financial stability - and the freedom that comes with this (freedom is one of my highest values).
If I'm being honest with myself, that's what I have been seeking for the last 5 years since I left my job. I knew in my heart that I wanted to do my own thing, control my own destiny and, most of all, be free.
But it's that same desire, this reaching to get somewhere, this yearning, which has tripped me up in the past, in 2 major ways:
- Tunnel vision / neglecting intuition
I've tried so hard to get from A (starting out) -> B (self-sustaining), that I have suppressed and ignored my intuition - insted being 'tunnel-vision' focused on getting to that point B.
- Burnout / imbalance
I have put work before anything else - burning myself out and not living a life of balance - and freedom, which is actually available to us in every moment, and neglecting what I call my 'spirit' (= wellness of mind/body/soul).
I have certainly gotten better at maintaining this balance (and my energy levels + sanity), but I have noticed that it can still be a challenge for me to completely switch off each day, and at the end of the week.
For me, it feels healthy to have this 'switch off' at both the end of each day, and have some time off at the weekend. Sunday is non-negotiable, and I've also gotten better at doing less on a Saturday, too. I usually tutor on the weekend*, but I'm talking about my other 'work' / creative projects, for example INF club.
*any weekend tutoring is kept to the morning, to give me the rest of my day free.
I passionately believe that we all need at least one day in the week to completely switch off, if not two. I also feel like there are other examples emerging which make a lot of sense. For example:
- The growing conversation around the four-day work week
- Taking a sabbatical every seventh week, or even a whole sabbatical year
I'm writing this on a Saturday, and I had a lie-in, did a 2-hour walk and workout, did some vaccuuming, enjoyed lunch and watching Spiderman 3 (Tobey Maguire version, one of my faves), and am now sitting our light-filled conservatory putting pen to paper.
Like much of what I write, this post is as much for me as it is for others.
Just like in my employed days, my weekends are for relaxation, replenishment and restoring balance.
For re-connecting with myself, and making time for the meaningful relationships in my life. (I'm looking forward to a 3-way call with a couple of my close friends over video, tomorrow... update: by happy coincidence, at time of hitting 'publish' the 3 of us are getting together for the first time since the pandemic and in a long time, this very weekend).
This is absolutely necessary and, for me, is my way of accessing that freedom that is so dear to me and helps me to affirm that - rather than being something I'm striving for and 'working towards' in the future - freedom is something that's accessible to me right now in this very moment, and on a daily - and weekly - basis.
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