5 things I learned about working Free Range Style

By some fluke, I managed to get three whole, lovely days all to myself last week and so decided to do a mini play project to experience what it would be like if I were self-employed.  What would I do with my day?  Would I have a breakthrough in discovering my true passion or would I just sit around in my pyjamas, eating ice-cream and watching Golden Girls reruns?

In the couple of weeks leading up to it I had been trying to think of what I wanted to achieve with all this free time.  Bloody luxury!  I had to do something productive and useful – obviously – but I wouldn’t waste it doing household chores (other than order a Tesco delivery – we really needed food).  I would treat these days like work.  Only filled with work I really wanted to do.

Day 1 – I attempted to develop some ideas I’ve had for creating an online course to share what I’ve learned about finding your “passion” and the opportunities available to generate some income from it.  But halfway through I got an idea for my last blog post and wrote that instead.  On reflection I think I let myself get distracted because writing a course is, well, hard work.  Later on, I went to the cinema with my hubby to see the Fifth Estate (loved it) and missed the deadline for our Tesco delivery.  No food tomorrow then.

Day 2 – Tesco delivery done first thing and did some more work on the online course but I was distracted by lots of fire engines and police cars whizzing by outside.  Eventually I tore myself away from my computer to see what was going on.  There was a giant fire just up the hill.  So, on went the wellies and jacket and off I went for a neb, which in hindsight is a tad voyeuristic but it was such a devastating sight and one I’d never really witnessed up close before.  My heart went out to the family.  Rest of the day was spent talking, reading and generally musing about the fire.

Day 3 – Back on track and with food – hurrah!  Finished a very sketchy first draft of module 1, did a bit more on a NLP course I’m working on and finally got back into a bit of writing for my kids’ story.  The day was over before I knew it.  I went out with a friend to see Sunshine on Leith (another great film but only if you love musicals/the Proclaimers).

So what did I learn from this experience?

  1. I absolutely loved the freedom to set my own agenda, however I felt overwhelmed by the possibilities and perhaps focussed too much on what I wanted to achieve, rather than allowing myself the space to relax and enjoying the experience.
  2. The tasks I set myself for the three days were far too big and vague.  “Write online course.” Really?!  In three days?! I must think I’m Superwomen.  “Dan Pink’s Drive”, should have been “Finish last chapter”.  Once I did this, I started feeling that I was actually achieving something.
  3. Things take way longer than I ever expected.  The days were over in a flash and I still look back and think “what that all I managed to do?!”
  4. I get distracted way too easily.  Or perhaps side-tracked is a better word.  Again probably because there were so much I wanted to do and I had trouble committing to one or two things.
  5. Finally, I missed the human contact.  I missed the banter and the ideas that spark through conversation.  Left to my own devices, I fear I might become a bit too attached to my computer and turn into a bit of a Gollum…  Without the structure that comes with being around other humans, I probably wouldn’t eat (I remembered to eat lunch at about 3pm each day), shower, exercise or leave the house.

That said, it was a fantastic experience and showed me that I can quite happily fill my time doing semi-productive things. I’m still working on where my passion lies but at least I didn’t watch TV at all.  Not even Golden Girls reruns.

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