This is the end of year 1 for me. The year of “freedom”. The first year after I left the corporate environment that I entered in my early twenties.
How many times did I think “one day I’ll leave and just be my own boss.”? How often did I wish for more flexibility, less constraints of going to an office, of attending scheduled meetings?
To be honest, I was probably more constrained by my own ambitions to deliver things according to my standard, to be available for my team, my colleagues and my bosses than by the schedule that was imposed on me by the fact that I was employed.
So this year, how did I do with my freedom? What did I make of it?
There were definitely many days when I was grateful to work with my clients outside, to write my papers or blogposts under the trees rather than in a square office. It feels like every day, I have endless possibilities to do what I always wanted to do.
And? Well, I realize that in total I spent a lot of time going back and forth between the different things that I want to get done in a day, in a week. When I’m working at home, I can always do some laundry between two client sessions, fix something around the house or prepare for the children.
Working at home can be heaven – no distractions from people walking into the office, no coordination meetings to align an organization. I’m lucky that I can focus pretty well when I work at home and I appreciate the peace. And there’s also the other side of not being distracted: one task can follow another. No break at the coffee machine, no chat with a colleague. So in a way, I ended up being more efficient and also more in need of breaks.
I realize that it takes discipline to get rest – and to not fill the break from the computer with getting some family task done. I love reading and so my breaks can be reading. Funnily enough, most books I read these days are about coaching or some topics related to it… so, maybe that’s not a real break either?
My practice for next year: A list of 6 books that I want to read just for fun. One every 2 months. I love crime stories and that’s what I will read. a few pages every day. Promise to me.
How about you? What are things that truly relax you and that you could fit into (almost) every busy day? Also: watch out for those activities that you re-label to make them count as a break like “I enjoy pimping powerpoint presentations” or “I really like ironing”. Check if they indeed relax you or if they are merely a little change of rhythm.
Have a good and real break over these holidays and then, have those real micro-breaks all though the year!