As of 5 p.m. today, I’ve officially been “unemployed” for two weeks, and I only have one question to ask… Where the heck did all the time go?!
It’s weird – Look backing at the past fortnight of me being a free agent, and then looking at all the half-finished or barely-started projects I’ve go going on, I can’t help wonder why I haven’t accomplished more? – I mean, like WAY more? What’s going on?! It’s not like I have a job to burden me down, right? So what’s the deal?
As mentioned, it’s only two weeks in and my image of what “retirement” looks like is taking a bit of a beating. I guess I had this idea that once the twain should meet – the “twain” being an abundance of freed-up time, and my various projects – that just like in Cinderella, everything would just magically come together, and all my projects would get finished up lickety-split. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen any singing bluebirds, talking rodents or even a Fairy Godmother kicking around, which probably should have been my first clue that I’m all alone in this. I guess this also means the big pumpkin on my deck will remain, well, a big pumpkin… right? So much for holding out for the magical carriage!
So is everything I thought “retirement” would be just a big, fat lie? Is it all nothing more than an elaborate scam, or worse; an complete and utter delusion? Was I mislead of how things would be by the scandalous video below?
Big surprise! Apparently, real life (sans employment) ISN’T like a Disney cartoon – not even close! It turns out there’s not even ONE mouse scurrying around helping me get my chores done, let alone a mischief of them! What was I thinking?!
I really need to get my head examined if I figure – just because I’m not “traditionally” employed anymore – the tasks that I have to take care of will magically get done, simply because I have extra time on my hands! But here’s the thing: Since I don’t have a job to go to each day, all of a sudden there seems to be a ton MORE “stuff” that needs to get done, and getting it all done takes time! Yep, it’s a dreaded vacuum; and the last time I checked (other than next Monday) there’s still only 24 hours in a day! So the question becomes: “What the heck am I supposed to do now?”
As I’m sitting here at my desk in the wee hours (3:42.a.m.) of the morning, I’ve come to realize a few things about my new lifestyle: First, as long as I have projects to work on, I won’t actually have any real “free time”, per se. And despite them not currently gleaning me a paycheque, my projects are still “work”, and will take up a lot of my time, depending upon the size and scope of the individual project. (and apparently without the help of any singing and dancing wildlife)
Staying Home = New Role… Hello, “House Husband”!
And if my projects weren’t enough to keep me busy, now there’s my new “official” role of “House Husband”. Yep, despite having been a “home-office” based worker (meaning I’ve always worked from home, so did a lot of the chores anyway) for years, it seems these days I’m feeling more (self-applied) pressure on adhering to the “home” part rather than the “office” part of that title; in other words, with Paula going off to work each morning, I feel pretty obligated to make sure all the household chores (laundry, clean house, cooking awesome meals, library runs, shopping, etc.) get done, and so they are taking priority, as they should. To be fair, I like a clean tidy house and a fully stocked fridge, and therefore these things have become the priority # 1 on my list; not to mention cooking crazy good dinners every night! But as mentioned before, (a) these things all take time, and (b) I’ve got other things I need to do as well.
Let’s be honest: The primary reason I quit my job was to write, and work on building a speaking and training career; on it’s own, my weekly writing include updating my blog (written twice weekly) takes me at least 8 hours per post, and usually includes up to 50 (+) revisions before I’m happy enough to hit “publish”. This also doesn’t take into account the posts I write, and then – for personal reasons – don’t publish. These puppies chew up a bunch of time as well; but on the upside, they save me a ton on therapy, so there is definitely a place for them in my busy schedule. Oh, and let’s not forget the 2 or 3 days per week I update the blog’s Facebook page, which is another time-suck of an hour each time. But wait – I’m not done yet!
After the blog (and FB page update) are done, there’s my other, and substantially larger projects I’m working on; the first being the task of finishing up my “Success Blueprint”. This is a 60 + page self-guided personal development program I’ve been developing for over a year (which I’m “almost done”, for the 10th time) to be used as a free giveaway for this blog. Next are my various keynote speeches – four in total – all which need to be written and rewritten until they work; then I need to create an overall business plan in the shape of a “Mind Map”, which is no small feat; after that, I need to create and put together a 3-Day “Weekend-To-Fulfilment” Workshop (Get it? W.T.F.!) complete with a participant workbook. And finally, the big one: Develop “Project 360” – a pilot project I want to create, with the goal of using it to launch the whole “Speaking and Training” thing as a business. (Please note there’s no internet surfing listed here, but who am I kidding? It costs me about a half hour each day!)
Oh, did I forget to mention? I’m also spending time with my family, going to the gym and trying to learn to meditate. And if time permits, I can be found in the kitchen whipping up the occasional quesadilla or grilled cheese sandwich for sustenance. And with all that, I can finally exhale…
Time To Re-Group, and Make a Plan
Sitting here at my desk, typing all of this out has taught me something valuable. Looking at this ambitious (and somewhat overwhelming) list I now realize that – job or no job – if I want to accomplish all of these things, the first step is to get organized, and get organized NOW! I have to prioritize things in the order of their importance, and make a plan to tackle them all, one at a time; which is exactly what I’m going to do once I’m finished writing this post.
Because the fact of the matter is this: Paula and I have worked and planned for the past few years to create a lifestyle where I could work on my key project – creating a speaking and training business – but now that the time is here, I have to admit I’m not as well prepared as I thought I was. It’s all uncharted territory for me, and juggling all of the projects I’ve mentioned, whilst maintaining a household is that I need to “learn” how to do, and quickly.
I must find balance in it all, and not beat myself up too much when I don’t get everything done by day’s end. Seeing it all written out here has made me realize that I’ve bitten off quite a bit; and maybe I need to step back, and re-think my approach to how I’m going to tackle it all so that I can achieve all that I want to… and that’s exactly what I’m going to do next. The good news is that we don’t have too much financial pressure on us at this time, so I have a couple of months to figure it all out.
But the plan is going to have to wait until later on today – for now, I’ve got to go make the beds, take out the recycling and drop off some stuff at the thrift shop, on my way to the gym. So with that, I will sign off with this: Dammit! Where are those dancing mice when you need them?