Today is the tenth day of Kat McNally’s August Moon. I have participated in her Reverb projects in December as well as her April Moon offerings, so it was a no brainer for me sign up for August Moon again this year. it comes at just the right time for me, I believe. There is a lot swirling around in my head and heart these days, and I’m looking forward to using the opportunity that August Moon gives me to work through those things that are rattling around inside of me.
Today Kat gives us the following:
How will you make time work for you?
Yesterday, we considered how we might honour our multiple selves whilst still ensuring we were clothed and fed.
This is where I need to make a confession. There’s no way known I could have done the things that have made my heart sing over the past five years had I been working full time.
Well, of course, that’s not completely true: had I wanted to, I would have found a way.
Maybe it can be as simple as ensuring you have your own needs met before you give of yourself to others. Changing work hours, negotiating part time hours – even if only for a limited time – could be a good start.
But I ask this because I genuinely don’t know: how do you go to work and give as much as is adequate but ensure that you have enough left for you?
Therein lies the rub, yes? I wish I had an easy answer for this because I am not at all sure how to make it happen.
This time last year…almost exactly this time last year, in fact…I was struggling with the fact that I knew the axe was about to fall at my job. I didn’t particularly mind so much because for a year, I had known that it wasn’t the place for me. I made some wonderful friends there, but I couldn’t get the support I needed to do what I felt like really needed to be done, and I didn’t know how to ask for the help I wanted without seeming like I was whining. It really felt like a no-win situation, and after a particularly awful corporate meeting which resulted in a Performance Improvement Plan which was designed for my ultimate failure because my boss made the decision to keep me out of the loop, I kept hearing Danielle LaPorte in my head:
Stop giving 100% to what you don’t really want….when you decide to go after a new dream, you need to give less to your current reality and more to your desired reality.
It was really, really, really hard to do that. It was hard to let go and know that I was really sabotaging myself in that position…and then I realized that I couldn’t sabotage myself because I wasn’t meant to succeed. That realization made it easier to take my foot off the gas and step back – do some things that I would have never done in the past. At the same time, though, it still didn’t feel good. I was raised to do the best job you can do.
Before I had gotten to that point with that job, I had to come to some other hard realizations – that 12-14 hour days weren’t worth it, and that in order to protect my health, my marriage, and my sanity, I had to create healthier boundaries for myself and my work. I did that by asking for and receiving a later start time. Going into work between 9:00 – 10:00 allowed me the freedom to still get up at 5:00 in the morning but go for an hour walk along the beach and then spend an hour writing and get ready for work leisurely. I also promised myself that I wasn’t staying past 8:00 at night. A 10 hour work day was long enough. Plus I didn’t get paid to do more than that. (Harsh but true. My position in the company paid significantly less than industry standards, and I literally couldn’t work any harder)
Boundaries. Once I started setting boundaries for the job, things shifted. Both for me professionally and personally. I quit taking responsibility for things that weren’t mine, and I started focusing on what I could control.
I think that remains a good position to take. As I create boundaries for my work, time frees up so I can do the things that speak to my soul. I’ve done this job for awhile now. I’m familiar with how it needs to be done and how long it takes. I’m not interested in giving more than that. Which is not to say that I occasionally I don’t. I’m that kind of girl. But I protect myself and my time from the work creep (I’m not so good at the fun creep) I’ve learned to say, “I don’t think I can” even if I still feel the need to make an excuse (maybe even a little white lie) for why I can’t.
Like I said, I’m good at keeping my work from impacting the rest of my life. For the most part. But a lot of the time I’m more than happy to let my life impact my soul. Which is not a bad thing. I do not for a moment regret that time. Those moments are precious, and time spent behind a screen or by myself on the porch with a pen and journal, cannot replace them. I’m not quite sure how to go about solving that problem.