This post was originally posted on WFA.Life. The Freedom Road series documents my transition to a more freelance, less corporate working life.
The last time I posted, I was having all kinds of trouble moving to a WFA.Life. It started with my work situation, which has kind of sorted itself out—well, as much as it can in the circumstances. I’ve moved from being incredibly disenfranchised and unmotivated—knowing, of course that I couldn’t just up and quit—to being much more settled and motivated. Tied to that, was the amount of overwhelm I’ve been feeling and experiencing. There is just so much to actually do in my journey towards freedom.
I thought a schedule was the answer because it worked so well when I was in Bali in the New Year.
To cut a long story short, I returned to Bali in January 2016—after my first trip in November 2015 to attend a writer’s retreat at Sharing Bali—because I’d met an Indonesian man and I wanted to see if it was something more than a holiday fling. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t. However, I also had a secondary objective for returning and that was to work on my novel. After it was clear from day three that I would be spending the next three weeks alone—not quite what I anticipated—I devised a schedule to put some routine and structure and productivity into my days. It went something like this:
- Wake up and read (7.30am-9.30am)
- Get dressed, shower and have breakfast (9.30am-10.00am)
- Write (10am-1.00pm)
- Walk into the village to use the pool and have lunch and a swim (1.00pm-4.00pm)
- Write (4.00pm-6.00pm)
- Walk into the village for dinner (6.00pm-7.30pm)
- Watch a movie on my laptop with a couple of Bintangs (7.30pm-9.30pm)
Of course, there were deviations from this routine. Some mornings I went into Ubud to do a money run i.e. go to the ATM, or I would meet my friend Karen (Willis – from Sharing Bali and WFA.Life) for an afternoon Bintang if she was working at a co-working hub, or I’d go to a co-working hub and work there myself. Occasionally, I’d do something touristy. Some afternoons, I’d work on the business side of things. The point is that my routine allowed me to be very productive with my writing. I wrote everyday, and during the three weeks I was in Bali, I wrote 25,000 words.
I thought that I could work in a similar way when I came home, that is, schedule everything I needed to do to move to a WFA.Life on the days I didn’t go to my job (Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays). It included writing and blogging and learning and maintaining my websites and publishing and marketing. It hasn’t been sustainable, which surprised me… I’m a Virgo and I love a schedule and a deadline. But what I didn’t factor in was that in Bali, I really only focused on thing: my novel. Back home, I was focusing on a gazillion other things and I was being pulled in a million different directions.
While I was in Bali, I promised to work on an ebook for Karen, and I set a delivery date for the end of February. That date came and went, and while I tried to work at it, I was also working on a whole lot of other things too. There was so much to do that I ended up doing nothing. And then it hit me: bugger the schedule. I would work her book until I had it finished. Once I decided that, it took only a couple of sittings to get it done. Done and delivered. Yippee!
And that’s what I mean by the power of one. Work out what your priority is—that’s the hard bit!—and focus on that. Focus on that one thing until you finish it. Focus on that one thing until it’s sorted. Focus on that one thing until it’s done and delivered.
From where I sit, it’s entirely overrated and it delivers nothing but overwhelm.
Photo via Visualhunt.com. Used with permission.
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