Looking back at the frequency of my previous blogs there’s one thing that’s obvious – life’s busy. This is great as I’m someone who hates sitting around doing nothing…if I ever find myself in that situation I start wondering what I should be doing.
The idea for this blog came to me one day in the Autumn when I was lucky enough to have a particularly high workload that my ability to focus on the job in hand was really put to the test. I’d taken on a freelance job in October which was very much working against the clock. From briefing meetings to absorbing vast amounts of background information and then, the need to produce coherent copy in a very short space of time, it was a bit of a sink or swim situation. Between childcare arrangements, the only way I could deliver the work was by starting as soon as I’d returned from the meeting and continuing during the two evenings following. I completed the job on time and my client was very happy with the result I’m pleased to say.
Whilst working at that pace all the time should come with some kind of health warning, two of the things I’ve discovered as a freelancer, is the necessity to make your brain work when it doesn’t want to, and the enormity of the challenge to switch from work, to agreeing what colour beaker your four-year-old wants to drink out of. This is where the need to focus comes in.
I don’t work full time, although I’ve realised that on occasion I can create some additional days by working in the evenings – three hours one night, three hours the next, that’s nearly a whole extra day in the office. When I worked in agency I would regularly write pitches and tender documents in the evening, but then my mind was allowed to completely focus on it – or at least if I had put my pen down for the day, a glass of wine and conversation with my husband followed. Back then, I didn’t have two small children forcing my head into a whole different universe, or leaving me at the point of utter exhaustion at the end of day running around after them.
I’ve heard it said a number of times that those who work part time can be incredibly efficient at what they do (‘part timer’ jokes made about full time workers excluded). But I wonder if there’s something in the reason why a person might be working part time, that their focus on a particular job needs to be efficient to ensure all objectives are met?
I seem to find myself saying more and more now, ‘if I don’t get the job done in the next two hours, it’s not going to get done for two days’. This discipline to focus seems to work for me. My business hours and my family hours are both precious, but for completely different reasons. I’m pleased to have found a way of focussing on each, which is why I chose to work for myself in the first place.