Last week I had no freelance work to do at all. I had a few shifts at my job, but a lot of time to myself besides that.
I sometimes struggle to make the most of my time. And I am not talking about being productive all the time. I see no sense in that and it would make my life miserable if I were to measure it in terms of productivity.
But when I find myself idle, not feeling like reading, mindlessly browsing through YouTube and getting the same five videos recommended over and over again, not watching anything in particular on TV, and just going through the motions, I do wonder how to better use my time.
I have tried to keep a schedule and appoint time slots for the things I want to do. Thus far, it hasn’t stuck. I might have to try to use an actual paper calendar, though that didn’t stick in the past either. But I really don’t want to keep checking my phone for what I had planned to do next. If anything, I want to reduce my screen time.
Whilst the schedule-keeping is not really my cup of tea, it did give me a better feeling of how much time I have every day and that I am able to use it better than just idling about and doing things when I feel like doing them.
For the longest time as a freelancer, I have kept a rough schedule, at least, and that has never faltered. Not when I have a shift in the afternoon, not during the long months of lockdown, not on my days off (unless I have a proper day off from everything).
Now, as I am also giving this blog more focus, I have to make time for it.
Today, I have written an article for my client. Now I’m doing this. In about an hour, I will head out to work, returning only after midnight.
This will be my schedule until Thursday. On Friday I will take a day off from everything. On Saturday I will at least return to this blog. On Sunday I will have a very long day at work.
In other words, I do have a busy week ahead, which I prefer to too much time to myself. Or rather, idle time.
Don’t get me wrong, I am an introvert, I need me-time. Enough to balance the time I spend at my job. And then some if possible.
But I also like to have something to do during that time. If that is freelance work, great. I need to make a living and have some savings available. If I get to use that time to fall into a book, awesome. And now that I work much more on this blog, I can always sit down and do that.
Yet sometimes I don’t want to do any of these things. I might grab my phone for the umpteenth time and put it away again with a sigh as there is nothing new to discover. Sitting and not doing anything is not something that comes to me easily.
Sometimes, when I truly need it. Like those times when I sit in the window, enjoying some peace and quiet time. But when I have had my fill, I need more than that.
So, I keep busy. Not always the kind of busy I would prefer if I were financially stable or (eventually) independent. But mostly a good kind of busy.
There is the stressful kind as well, where you always rush to keep up with a schedule set by someone else. I choose the busyness on my own terms. Not on someone else’s. That’s a huge difference and something we should all strive for. It is an important step towards that work/life balance that is so often talked about.