Working outside the lines

You know the properties of solids, liquids, and gases? The molecules in solids stay all neat and tidy like a little marching band lineup.  They’re efficient, strong, but inflexible and limited in movement. This is how I’ve imagined my old 9-5/M-F work schedule.  I’d fit together various commitments like school or other jobs or hobbies like little Tetris blocks.  If they didn’t fit in, then it didn’t work and I declined invitations or gave up on other interests.

Right now I’m turning into a gas.  Everything feels chaotic and unlimited.  My initial liquidy 2-dimensional sprall since I left my job is now becoming 3-dimensional as I go airborn.  I at first tried scheduling myself with each day being dedicated to different facets of my work life (Mondays & Tuesdays are for Deconstruction Crafts, Wednesdays are for Pottery Studio time, Thursdays & Fridays are for Get That You Matter support, Weekends are catching up on household needs etc…) I’ve slowly been needing to do lots of things all at once. I’m cooking stock for the week while setting paint on my jar bottoms while tweeting up at @getthatumatter while spending time with my sweetie.  I’m folding laundry while I’m on a telemeeting while waiting for my etched jars to set.

Suddenly I’m completely in charge of my schedule, and self discipline and boundaries setting are my biggest challenges. Boundaries help me to keep my sanity as well as my own integrity on actually completing things that I commit to.  Unexpectedly, I’ve found the lack of institutional structure to be confronting to me.  I’m learning a lot about myself in terms of my relationship with authority and structures.  I’m hearing from other crafty business owners that it’s “nose to the grindstone” time to create create, sell sell sell for the season… and I’m slow to join the fast lane without the illusion of “you have to” from some higher up.

The illusion is that I didn’t have control or choice before, and now I have the choice to slack off. When I was in school I’d complain about HAVING to go to class, HAVING to write a paper, HAVING to take a test. When I was in my full time job I complained about HAVING to complete projects, or HAVING to go to the work on Mondays.  It’s always a choice.  Not only is it a choice in the moment (I could have ditched or slacked off), but it is also always a choice in that I CHOSE that job, that I CHOSE to go to school. I even chose for years that a full time job was what I needed to survive. Our powerlessness is an illusion.

At the time, while working I was under the impression that I didn’t have choice,  but all along I’ve had this freedom. Now, while I’m really obviously out in the open, obviously free in my scheduling and project creation/follow through… I’m uneasy.  Everything is off of autopilot and I’m learning how to fly on my own. It’s a strange transition, and I’m learning to create and respect my own boundaries for time and commitments, while also self motivating and reaching out to others for support. Tools like the Etsy bootcamp and signing up for a class at the pottery studio somehow gives me a little structure while I learn how to manage my time in general.

Top image credit to Evanescent Light, see source here.

3 thoughts on “Working outside the lines

    1. Hiya! Thank you for your connection here!
      I believe that it’s quite common that entrepreneurs (and dare I say women, who have been trained for generations that the home is their domain and their responsibility) to balance a unruly schedule (or non schedule). I’m bounced between working all hours of the night, and then slopping around without inspiration. It’s a yoyo for me between the extremes.

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