Truthfully, I don’t really want to sit at my desk today and work. I would rather be anywhere else, but there’s really no where to go. I am not inclined to sit in a coffee shop even if it were open to customers. There’s no place I would go to shop. So here I am at home – still.
Oh yes, there’s work to be done. I feel ambivalent about doing it right now. I will slog through the tasks because I know I need to. There are deadlines to be met (external and internal). What would I rather be doing? Reading? Listening to music? Working on a non-work-related project? The choices overwhelm me and I end up doing nothing or very little.
So why do I feel so guilty? As an independent contractor, it is my choice what I do with my days. Still, I find it hard to relax into my days because it has been pounded into me that idleness or play is not for adults. We must always be working, doing something constructive, achieving. So I chain myself to my desk in hopes that I will be productive and can earn the ability to goof off.
My mind wanders and I end up going down a rabbit hole of internet fun or staring at my to-do list, trying to figure out what I can skip. I think about all the things I want to do and few of them are income-producing activities, and boom! I’m back on guilt island, worried that I will never earn money again and we’ll lose everything.
Notice how I automatically shift from following my desires and being destitute. It feels like a fine line, but really it’s not. I think it is because not doing all the right things, right now, feels like I’m being a slacker who depends on others and gives nothing in return. As someone who lived in a corporate world with responsibilities and expectations for years, it’s hard to adjust to creating my workday in a different way.
Instead of focussing on all the things I haven’t done, I have decided to celebrate what I do accomplish, like writing this article. I came close to deleting the entire contents of the post thinking it was too personal or not specific enough for an article about training. What does this all have to do with training, anyway? I know that in order to stand in front of a group of people, share knowledge, and help them learn, I need time to learn and grow professionally. I need time to contemplate how current events impact the topics that I teach. I need time to relax and renew my commitment to providing the best professional development courses I can.
I am not alone in my feelings of disruption these days. The pandemic continues to upend the expectations we have for ourselves and our businesses. I have decided to give myself permission to pace myself and not do the next task on my list right away. I am learning to be kind to myself, focus on the process, and not worry so much about the results. It’s o.k. to take time away from my business. I know I will come back to it better equipped to tackle the tasks at hand.