I was forwarded a great article today which seems to sum up where I currently am with work. If you want to read it you can find it HERE or here is the opening paragraph by way of explanation.
I cringe everytime I read a story about a person who starts their day at 4am, after surviving on only 5 hours sleep, to get up and start yet another highly productive day. They’ve written their first client brief before their ‘all greens’ smoothie and done a mini-triathlon by 7am.
After a quick shower, they ride 10kms to their work and ‘start’ their day by reading all their newspapers in an allocated 30 minute slot. Then it’s the team meet up before a full one day of meetings, workshops, team time outs and a session at the gym topped off with a protein shake. It goes on. You get the drift.
By the time I also learn they have their two, five and ten year plan mapped out, I am weeping.
We have been led to assume that the only way to be “successful” is to approach life as if it is a cross between a military campaign and an endurance race, but I have recently found a much more content way to get by that I never realised you were allowed to follow. I got out of the 9 to 5 a year ago…although in my case it was an 8 to 5 with the often enforced option of doing a couple of extra hours if required. I liked my job, most of the time, but by the time came that fate had played a hand that enabled mer to rethink the structure of my life, I had had enough of that sort of work structure in general. I instead sunk my efforts into tying together all the small sideline incomes or at least potential incomes that I had been playing with alongside the main job, music promotion, journalism and setting up a record label.
Okay, my overheads are a lot lower than they were but with a bit of careful budgeting and maybe the occasional part time job to top up the reserves, it might just work. I put the hours in, don’t get me wrong, just because you are not running at life like a psychotic speed freak, doesn’t mean that you are lazy. The difference is, now if I want to be lazy, I don’t feel guilty about fitting that into the schedule. My main desk is in a back bedroom office over looking a small courtyard back garden and I can be home for lunch in 14.8 seconds. My business meetings take place in music venues with a beer and a laptop, or a coffee bar with a frappe-latte-caffe-mocca-choca-chino…or what ever.
Work starts after a leisurely breakfast around 9.00 though this varies according to a whole set of circumstances and if inspiration is missing I can always relocate to a tapas bar or caffe. On the up side is the working day can drift on until midnight but to be honest the evening shift probably has as many breaks for things such as Only Connect or a chapter of whatever I’m reading, a late supper or total abandonment in favour of a film.
So the money isn’t great, but it doesn’t have to be. I have security, freedom, total control and more importantly I’m doing something I love.
I think what it comes down to is trying to design a life that suits you, not just one that ticks the most boxes. I think you can get so used to trying to tick as many boxes as possible you lose sight of the fact that maybe it isn’t the amount you draw a line through, it is making sure that you cross off the ones that matter to you.
Right, off for a “environment re-alignment motivational session” or to put it another way, I’m bored with the office now so I will relocate to a coffee shop for a change of scenery and a decent coffee. It’s amazing what effect a change of environment can have on the creative juices, but mainly because I’m out of coffee.