Wednesday, April 06, 2011

How I attempt to balance working, unemployment, volunteering, ADD, and a creative personality

Why this picture? I'll tell you why this picture. A) I am far more creative by moving water (completely true and verifiable fact), and B) I'm ADD and it just made sense to me at the time.

This new little life I lead of unemployment/self-employment is completely contradictory to everything that comes naturally to me. This life requires an insane amount of self-discipline that I am not naturally prone to. Not to mention, attention to details, follow up, and other things I've already managed to forget since the idea to write this post hit me.
To clear up the confusion about my working status. I am still technically unemployed. I am still actively looking for a job. I am also still an actively waiting impatiently Peace Corps nominee. I am also attempting to earn money in a side job that is sometimes more effective than others. Not to mention, I am bound and determined to finish writing a book before I do get a job/leave for the Peace Corps/make another crazy change in my life.
To balance the multiple priorities in my life (looking for a job, attempting self-employment, be creative, volunteer work), I have divided my week up accordingly. Two days a week I focus on the self-employment part. Two days a week I focus solely on job hunting. One day- Wednesday- I attempt to allow myself to just be creative all day. (More on that later.) Saturdays are for volunteering and fun, and I am bound and determined that Sundays will be a day of rest.
When absolutely everything relies on you solely to happen a little self-discipline becomes a good thing. But guess what? I only possess a little self-discipline. This can be a problem. I'm easily distracted by everything little thing. I do try to keep my household running in such a way that I'm not distracted by it. (For better or worse, I am not distracted by messes or unclean things like dishes. If you do ever hear me complaining about such things, you know I am beyond stressed and begging for a distraction.) However, I do have dedicated cleaning times to help me survive my own shortcomings (Saturdays and Monday nights when I have nothing to watch on TV anyway.) Also, allowing routines to form in my day are absolutely essential to faking self-discipline until it actually happens. For instance, I run all errands first thing in the morning. (Most of the "work" I do is in the Pacific or Mountain time zones, so this makes more sense.) This serves two purposes- getting a distraction out of the way, and forces me to get up and get dressed. Even if the errand is running to my favorite gas station to get my daily Diet Dr P, this tiny little effort at a routine is helpful. I find that forcing a routine forces things to become habits, and that most of those habits are very good things.
The only downside to my attempts at scheduling and self-discipline so far are that first and foremost wheels I put into motion on a Monday may finally have results for me on Wednesday (my dedicated creative day). And so I lose my much needed creative day and find myself working instead. This isn't a bad thing, but eventually that creative side of me feels punished and lashes out at me in the form of ridiculous ADD and then nothing gets done on a day it needed to be done.
The past few years of first working full-time from home, and now just attempting to find work from home have been very enlightening. I think they have set me up well for what service in the Peace Corps will be like. But at the same time, I am terrified of the day I have to return to an office, and work in a confined setting. Will I like it? Or will I crawl under my cubicle and cry in the fetal position?
I have learned it is very hard to serve multiple masters like this and ever feel successful. But at the same time, this opportunity has been good for me, and has allowed me to explore new reaches of my self-discipline, dedication, and ability to overcome my own known short-comings.

This blog post is brought to you by Wednesday- the creative day. The one day a week I'm allowed to sit here and write and just be creative as needed. Otherwise, I never would have allowed myself to write such a long, rambling post in the morning. But now I must stop myself and go check my professional email account. Because "the wheels of commerce never stop turning." Not even for the day where I'd rather watch a movie and knit something. 

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