Tag Archives: working from home

Staying on track

13 May

3:21 pm

Like (probably) a lot (or at least some) of us, I am starting to feel the pressure of time to myself.  I am grateful for people who are working the front lines of this pandemic; and sometimes, I feel sort of guilty that I have free time that I could, if I wanted, use to do something to improve things.  But, I’ve only been furloughed for five weeks, and I am just trying to enjoy my free time…for now.

Speaking of time, I have a lot of “now that I have time, I should do this”-type of projects that have been on my radar for years; and, partly because these are pulling me in different directions, and partly because I am struggling to stay focused these days, I am starting to feel mentally overwhelmed.  How do I spend my time?  I know this not-working thing is not going to last–and, it’s a good opportunity to start planning for the future, in case I don’t get my job back in July–am I spending my free time well?

Out of necessity, I try to maintain a sense of structure to my days, which is a habit of having worked for myself for almost a decade.  What I’ve been practicing over the past eight years of working remotely–as in, alone all day, just me and my to-do list and my work–is staying on track.  What does that mean?  To me, it means, focusing only on what needs to be done, no matter how “small” it seems.

Getting what needs to be done, done, is easier if I make a to-do list.  It is especially important now, during this very freeform pandemic, where, if you’re not working or you’re working from home and not used to it, it SEEMS like you have no structure and all the time in the world–which can cause you to go crazy with panic, unable to focus on anything; before you know it, the day has passed, you’ve done laundry and snacked way too much, and, you are beating yourself up…giving you more anxiety.  And, if you’re someone like me, who has issues with control and perfectionism and anxiety and depression–well, it can start to feel VERY overwhelming when you want to get 15 things done, have gotten nothing done, and, should probably have expected to get only one or two things done in the first place!

I am here to tell you, staying on track is not a mandate to “get shit done.”  It’s more, for me anyway, stay focused and in the moment by getting only what needs to be done, done.  If you do the most important things today, what more can you ask for?  Honestly, some days, I don’t get anything done…but, I manage to journal and feel grateful (for, well, my sobriety, my “family” here, and then, my health).  On the days when my mind starts to wander to, let’s say, my long-form writing project(s), which take commitment that I may or may not have, EVER; or my passion projects/areas of career focus, which I’ve been neglecting for a long time (due to one, having had to prioritize earning a living and two, just being tired or burnt or lazy or just evolving away from said passions); when my head goes to the edge of the cliff and looks down and sees a huge, gaping hole of canyon needing to be filled with water…?  Well, I stay on track.  I take myself out of my head, stop thinking about all those other things I “should” or “need” to do, and focus on the task at hand.

These days, I don’t have a lot that I have to do–but, I have a lot of pre-projects; like, I am only just sort of thinking about a lot of things, and while I want to put them into project form, I can’t.  I mean, I am struggling with what to write about next, and how much time to further devote to this blog.  I am thinking about what to do next, as in, returning to a few passion areas of my life that I haven’t revisited since 2014–and, at the same time, feeling a sense of guilt, of dread over how much time I’ve been away from these things, that I let them go in the first place.  Why?  Can I catch up?  Do I want to?  What does it all mean?  And, then, of course, I’ll need to log some time looking into them to figure out where they might fit into my future, in a real sense (a job?  a volunteer assignment?  just read books about these things?).

On a different note, our dog took a turn for the worse last Friday.  One of her back legs gave out, and she can barely stand on her own anymore, let alone walk.  She keeps trying, though, and can still get up and down and go for short, stumbling jaunts; she even went on a walk yesterday, which overjoyed me!  Of course, we have to use a sling to help her hold herself up, which is awkward and kind of trips her up more than her lameness.  We wonder if she has “doggie ALS,” since she is part German Shepherd (that’s one of the breeds that is more genetically predisposed to a degenerative muscle disorder in dogs similar to some cases of ALS).  I think it could just be a break, maybe a joint that’s finally given out–she has a very bony protrusion on this leg around her knee area, and a part of me hopes that if we took her to the vet and got it set or whatever…?  Sigh.  Even if they could fix it, the rest of her spine and limbs will just keep getting worse.  So, we are at a new normal again.  We’re just taking it day by day.

And, of course, an update on Facebook:  it’s been a whole 30 days since I’ve been on Facebook!  Woo hoo!  Actually, I logged in for the first time in four weeks on Monday, with the sole intention of deactivating my account…but I just couldn’t do it.  I did end up starting to scroll/troll (is there a difference anymore these days?), and quickly realized that I needed to get off before I got swept back in.  It was a “slip,” let’s say; however, I had to log in to (try to) deactivate my account.  I’ll try again to extricate myself in another month, if I manage to not log in for 30 more days (which I intend to do)…

The Dip

2 Aug

3:32 pm

The Dip. I am experiencing the “dip” as we speak. I think everyone must feel the Dip now and then, but…do they want to drink over it? Welcome to reality, DDG. It’s sort of messed up in here, right?

The Dip. How to describe it? Hmm. Well, it’s not easy working from home, is all I have to say. Most days, I feel a certain sense of fear-loneliness, a combination that stems from a general sense of isolation–I am alone, all the time, and on most days, I don’t do interviews either. It’s not exactly pleasant, but would I necessarily be chatting it up with my cube neighbors if I were writing full-time for a company? Probably not. Sigh. One day, I think, my time in solitary confinement will have paid off, right? I’m not sure if other writers feel this way, but I don’t doubt it.

I used to So Totally Drink in the face of the Dip. Like now, I am feeling a mixture of failure, anxiety, and fear. Loneliness. Self-pity. Sure, it’s minor, and I’m a big girl, and a Diet Coke will make it better and make me feel a bit more focused on…well, tasks, rather than my feelings. But…damn, I “wasted” a lot of time this morning getting started as well as paying bills and other administrative tasks that simply go along with this lifestyle.

In my defense (because, of course, I’m talking to and fighting with my fucking SELF; other people talk to themselves all day long, right?), “work” has to be re-defined the minute you step foot into a home office, I’ve come to believe; and, it’s not for everyone. Actually, I think there are a LOT of folks out there who would find freelance writing to be their worst nightmare! Spending hours upon days upon months, alone? Having to rely on your own self-discipline to earn a paycheck? It’s not easy, and I have to keep the big picture in mind. Remain calm. Count my blessings. Take a few deep breaths. Do something that only takes a few minutes–just so that I can check it off my list. And retain a sense of perspective: I don’t have to hurt for it to be “good enough,” i.e., I only have to earn a certain amount of money, I don’t have to work beyond that amount of money, and some days simply consist of waiting–for others to do their part. I can have fun with this, right? Right.

The Dip can surface, too, around this time of day–late afternoon. By now, I’m used to having gotten ZERO done on some days, and working into the night just to feel OK about things. The worst is when I make up “fake work” for myself, stuff that really doesn’t need to be done and that could very well be exchanged for the more productive tasks of pitching, reporting, and writing. Yet, at least I’ve done SOMETHING, right? Oh, me.

Sometimes, simply staring into this screen drives me crazy. And, again, I can feel that pull–it’s weak, like a cord tied in the very distance, but somehow still tethered to my innards–of a glass or fourteen of wine.

At this point, I am going for a run. Turning it off. Run. Now. See y’all on the flip!

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