Written by Marisol Dahl
It’s been a couple months since I officially stopped the traditional job search and moved into freelancing full-time. And I love it. My clients are great, and I am engaged in the work that I do. I feel truly, truly grateful to start my post-college life in this way.
But! The work-life balance—it’s tricky, and we all know this. It’s especially tough when you work from home and dictate your own hours.
I often find myself fighting the guilt whenever I’m not doing client work. Rationally, I know I put in an appropriate number of hours each day, and I keep to work deadlines. But I end up feeling uneasy about stopping work and moving on to other things, like personal projects, hobbies, light reading, and even time with family and friends.
It’s the same tension I felt in college: why would I start reading Gone Girl when I have mountains of sociology reading to do? Why would I work on my own writing when I could get ahead in client work?
The guilt is real. Raise your hand if you’ve been there.
It’s even more confusing, because this guilt is not totally in line with my values. While I value dedication and full-engagement with work, I am also a fierce believer in taking time for oneself.
We can’t do our best work when we aren’t healthy and whole.
We can’t be the best people we can be when we’re not creatively inspired.
We cannot truly serve others when we don’t even prioritize our own well-being.
It’s time to stop seeing personal time as the enemy of our work and careers. It’s time to dedicate sacred time and energy to the passion projects that truly excite us—even if it means stepping away from more immediate distractions and responsibilities for a short time.
Join Me in NaNoBlogMo 2015: Project Edition
All over the world tens of thousands of people are gearing up to take part in National Novel Writing Month, a challenge to write a 50,000-word novel throughout the month of November. If you know anyone who is participating, then you know this time of year is brimming in productive energy.
The excitement is contagious, so let’s capitalize on it! While I personally won’t be writing a novel, I’m looking forward to devoting time every day in November to working on a personal project that always seems to be put on the backburner: creating a new website for my business and revamping my old blog.
Want to join me? These challenges are always more fun with friends, and if Jenny’s NaNoBlogMo challenge last year is any indication, they’re more successful.
Here’s How to Join:
1. Pick a personal project you’re excited about and truly want to make time for.
This can be anything! Do you want to train for a marathon? Start an Etsy shop? Study for the MCAT? Write a book? Think about a project or goal that would make a big impact, that’s personally fulfilling, and that would make you super proud to complete.
2. Declare your project or goal in our handy dandy Google spreadsheet.
Add your name to a blank row of the spreadsheet, and each day we’ll track the number of hours we spent on our projects. The spreadsheet is a great tool for accountability, and we’ll get to see what others are up to as well!
3. Dive in! Your project awaits.
Since this year’s challenge is open to a diversity of projects and not just writing, we’ll track time spent instead of words written. À la Robin Sharma, I set the goal of 90 minutes each day, with more time devoted during the weekends. That’s a grand total of 50 project hours!
Are you ready? Sign up today.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments: What big project or goal are you excited to take on in November?
About Marisol Dahl
Marisol recently graduated Yale as a Sociology and Education Studies major. A longtime New Yorker, her interests include business, communications, and marketing. She can be reached on Twitter at @marisoldahl.