When was the last time you listened to yourself and paid attention to the words that were coming out of your mouth? Have you ever noticed a pattern? Is there one thing you talk about (or complain about) most days of the week? Maybe it’s a concern about money, or trouble in a relationship, or an annoyance at work. I can look back and think of examples for all of these things, at various points in my life.
A few days ago, I finally noticed I was saying the same few words over and over: tired, exhausted, blur. I was managing the tired/exhausted feelings for a few weeks. It didn’t feel good, but I knew it was temporary. However, “blur” was a new one—and that is the opposite of why I live a slower lifestyle. I prefer to act with intention, so I can create (and actually remember) the life I want. This lifestyle is also a preventative measure for me, because I know what happens when I am tired/exhausted/feel the blur for too long (increased anxiety + panic attacks).
My anxiety hasn’t crept in too much lately, but I do feel like I’ve been operating in a way that is not sustainable for me personally, so I know it’s time to change what I’m doing. And that’s something I have learned many times now, after paying attention to what I’m saying and how I’m feeling: if it’s within your control, you should absolutely make a change and move yourself in the direction you want to be going.
Personally, I know I want to get back to work—slow, intentional work—the work I love doing, and the work I want to remember doing. After listening to this episode of Hurry Slowly, I wrote down my list of work priorities, then matched it up to my existing calendar and realized I wasn’t doing any of them. I wasn’t writing or creating anything. I also had no time to do either. Instead, my calendar was full of things that were draining my energy, and taking up more time than I could afford to spare (think: 3 hours out of the house for a 4-minute interview).
I will never regret taking a step back from work and doing all of those interviews. If anything, I’m starting to see that it was short-term work for long-term success of the book. So, I won’t regret it, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunities. But I genuinely want to do some real work. I want to write and sketch and create! Not so surprisingly, I’ve decided to setup a challenge (with some intentions/rules) to make this happen.
I’m calling it the Season of Work Challenge!
It starts today and ends on April 17th. For the next 30 days, I’m going to:
- write every day (this is my top priority)
- work Monday-Friday and attempt to take weekends off
- track how many hours I work (and how many per project)
- try to work 40 hours/week or less, including:
- 20 hours of writing/creating (4 hours/day)
- no more than 5 hours of interviews
- and complete at least one new project!
I wish I could say that I thought this was going to be a walk in the park. Every part of this challenge feels like . . . well, like it’s going to be a challenge. I have journaled a little this year, and wrote 750 words/day for about two weeks. But I don’t have a schedule, and I don’t know how many hours I’ve been working. I also haven’t created—much less completed—a new project in months. So yes, this is going to be a huge shift.
Even though it won’t be easy, I haven’t felt this excited about work in a long time. I’m excited to write! I’m excited to have a schedule and structure! I’m excited to attempt to take weekends off! My intention for the weekends is to have 1 adventure day + 1 full day off. This feels sooo exciting! (Are you excited yet or sick of the word? Sorry! Too excited to care!) Spring is here, and I am ready for a change.
Aside from committing to writing one blog post each week, I don’t know what the new project I start/complete will be yet. All I know is that I’m done with the words tired, exhausted and blur—and I’m ready to take back control of my calendar and my work life. I want to finish this challenge and find myself saying three new words over and over: creative, energized and accomplished.
Is anyone else itching for a season of work?
PS – I’m going to stay accountable to this challenge by sharing updates via Instagram Stories! Every day, I will show you a behind the scenes look at whatever I’m working on. I will also tally up the number of hours I have worked each day, share the final number on Fridays, and let you know how my weekends off are going. ;)