For the past week I have been in a place in relation to my time that is kind of a limbo. For the past few months I had owned my time fully. That changed four weeks ago when I started looking for a job. Doing it meant giving rights to others to come into my space, my time. I chose this because I want to share my time with others. This is all part of the need to feel purposeful, the need of belonging to a group that is doing something I want to be doing, too.
But for the past ten days or so I have been in an uncomfortable place between free and restricted. I needed to understand why, so I did a few things to change this.
I decided to (re)learn
Although I consider myself a big planner, listening to that material had me re-learning a few things. Normally, I make weekly, monthly, yearly plans. But I realized I was not fully mindful of what I was planning lately. The rhythm of life while free allowed me to be more generous in dedicating big chunks of time to a handful of things. However, when getting busier, plan goes into smaller chunks of time dedicated to a lot of different things. The coulds, the wants, and the havetos.
So I made a daily list of the things I was planning to do each day, and what I actually did with each. Through this exercise, I discovered that I was aiming at an unrealistic 30h of activities per day. The main reason being that I continued with topics that I started with when I was in 100% break mode and then I ADDED to these activities the new ones: learning, researching and applying to jobs. I should have eliminated something before adding new things. So came the negotiation with myself. I grouped things per topic and were there were too many things of the same topic (e.g. play, relax, learn, work) I cut down from those.
I mixed time and space
I realized that there were things I wanted to do during my break that I forgot about once I started learning and job searching. For example, I had wanted to visit the new temporary location of the national library. But somehow, as I started associating my learning and research with my workspace at home, I started finding myself attached to my desk and feeling, on one hand, satisfied with the things I had learned, and on the other frustrated at the end of the day for not having explored other areas, for not having played, for not relaxing a bit… (beyond the daily walks with Lumi 🐾 which were keeping me sane). So I decided to mix both. I spent a day at the library researching, and a morning reading at the cafeteria, then I decided to change the routes of walks with Lumi to places I wanted to visit. This made a huge difference in the last couple of days. No frustration in the end.
I rebalanced feedback with intuition
Another thing that was adding to my anxiety in feeling little time to do everything I wanted was that I started gathering feedback from friends on the process of job searching I was going through. Everyone had something different to say, which is exactly what I wanted, to identify my blind spots. But I was too quick to act on all of the feedback. I later decided to process the feedback more broadly and decide what I wanted to improve or change thanks to that input, and what I was going to discard. Again, that made a huge difference. There is a lot to learn and do, but I am sticking to one step at a time. One small but significant step is that I also started wearing again a bracelet I bought a few years ago to remind myself to “do one thing at a time, and do it well”. A phrase that I see as a version of “less is more”.
I took ownership of my future
Lastly, I made decisions about my future. I realized that I was so poised to start a new job that I was pushing other plans I had been considering for a while for later. Until I realized that one thing did not have to get in the way of the other. This made me noticed that while I am well versed in using different channels of communication to work effectively, I tend to tether my body to a location once I am in “doing mode”. Whether that is my home office, a wood workshop or a favorite cafeteria, I struggle with moving myself physically to another location once I am onto something. Perhaps because I learn to do this by way of force with the pandemic. So I went ahead and bought tickets to two places I was going to go to anyway. And whatever happens in the job realm, can be well adapted to my given latitudes and longitudes in the future.
Overall, I feel like I pushed a reset button to readjust my relationship with time and my brain is at ease again.
P.S. And remember go start the weekend thinking of it as a mini vacation 😉