Many creatives and entrepreneurs, especially in the early part of their careers, are working for themselves, in every sense. They are working without the benefit of anyone else’s expectations; they are working without the benefit of pay; they are working for their future or for love for the craft.
When you’re working for yourself, at some point, you may find that you need to set some deadlines. At another point, you may find you need to break them. But how do you decide when to be the bitchy boss, and when to be the rebellious employee?
I had to face that decision recently myself. I am pretty good at setting myself deadlines and sticking to them, for example this blog. I’ve been posting religiously ever since I started it… until last week.
Choosing vs. Slacking
Sometimes we intend to do something, we want to do it, say we’re going to do it, we probably could have done it, but in the end, we don’t. You know…slacking.
Other times we intend to do something at one point, and then later make a conscious decision that it is our best interest to do something else. From the outside it might look like slacking, but in fact, it’s a choice. Very different, in my opinion.
Not that there’s anything wrong with slacking from time to time. You try to push yourself to finish that project but somehow instead find yourself painted blue and dancing around a bonfire. We’ve all been there. But I find it’s much more empowering to take a stand and own that decision. NO, I am not going to do THAT. I’m going to do this OTHER THING because I WANT TO.
Maniac or Laid Back?
We “self-starter” types who get the bit in our teeth and run like hell can find the hardest part is knowing when to take a break. Other folks need to become contortionists just so they can reach their legs far enough around to kick their own ass. Know thy-self, grasshopper. Whatever you resist doing? Work on that. It’s all about balance.
In my case, this blog and the outdoor adventure business I run with my husband were interfering with my creative work (and my down time), and had been for most of the summer. Luckily, the artist in me is pretty much an ass kicking punk. God love her, she never lets me get too far off track before she starts screaming about chucking it all and living in a van down by the river if I don’t get back to work on ART, damn it.
And the logical, business-y side of me figured I’d gotten myself into a good habit of blogging over the past few months. Enough so that a week off wouldn’t sink the ship. And as it turns out, it didn’t. Here I am back at the helm. I parlayed my decision to take a week off into this article, and most importantly, got a couple of chapters of my novel written. Everybody’s happy (and by everybody, I mean me.)
So there you have it. Learn to set deadlines and keep them… until it’s time to not keep them.