It sounds fantastic! No more workdays and no more weekdays: the goal of those who retire, win the lottery, or are on permanent vacation. Mission accomplished, break out the champagne, time to kick my feet up!
Well, maybe not quite yet. . .
In reality, the disappearance of my established work schedule and absence of the much welcome “weekends off” is only an indicator that things are changing and things are actually starting to work. But now what? Studio m Architecture + Design has been very fortunate to have landed a few jobs and is actually starting to see some money come back (rather than just flow out in an effort to start the company). So, you would figure that sitting down at 8 in the morning and working until 4 or 5 would be happening 5 days a week until “TGIF” comes along. . . you would figure. However, that’s not one of my goals. In fact, one of the reasons I left the firm I was working for was because I wanted to be able to introduce more flexibility into my life. Little Guy is almost 15 months old and is into absolutely everything and I LOVE it – especially since I get to be here for most of it. He joins those of us who are awake from 7AM to 7PM (and that does not work well with a typical workday). How could any work ever get done then?
I work all of the time – and never. Could that possibly make sense? I’ve managed to get rid of “workdays” and “weekends” and any other classification of time that indicates when I should be getting work done. In some respects, I’ve also managed to blur the lines between night and day and have learned to start thinking of things a little bit differently. There’s just time. . . that’s it. . . and I get to decide what to do with it. Some of that time needs to be used to eat, to sleep, and to exercise. Some of it is allotted to taking care of Little Guy and connecting with my family. There’s a portion of it that needs to be dedicated to my practice and the jobs I have – and just managing the things that need to be taken care of with the business. I have some consulting “on the side”. I have to market the firm and go to events and make sure that I’m always looking to the future or else I’ll run out of work. Sounds like enough to overwhelm and overtake any thought of finding free time to just relax.
So how can all of that get finished at the same time? It can’t. That’s impossible. And, although I am a firm believer in multi-tasking, the truth is that you can really only do one thing at a time. So, that’s what I do: one thing at a time. When I worked from 8 to 6 every day, there was always a pile of things to finish and I assigned priority based on deadline, client needs, or the magnitude of the task. My new strategy is no different except it’s 24 hours a day and the task list is much broader than before. Getting frustrated and overwhelmed (although it will still happen from time to time) only amounts to wasting valuable time and essentially adding another task to the list that doesn’t need to be there. At any given point in time, I’m working on whatever I have decided the priority is. Sometimes it’s getting some drawings finished or making some calls. Other times it’s playtime or bathtime. Every day is a continuous mix of everything that has to be attended to.
It works – for now anyway. I don’t have any employees at the firm, and that helps tremendously. I don’t need to show up and be present for anyone to make sure they have what they need to work. This may greatly influence the way the firm grows. There may be a time where “office hours” exist and schedule and structure come back, but as long as the flexibility remains, I think that the overall strategy can work. Hopefully I have enough time to figure it all out. . .