Challenges Working on my Own Terms

I quit my job back at the end of April. For the first few months of unemployment I focused a lot of my energy toward downsizing our belongings, finding tenants for our house, and preparing for and buying our new RV home. Most of my time in July was spent going with the flow, moving around frequently, and seeing the sights. I didn’t give myself a lot of time to focus on the fact that I am now self-employed; I fit some work in on the fringes, but it felt like a distraction. August was really the first month where work could become a primary focus for me, and in some ways it’s going well, while in other ways I am failing.

I saved a large cash buffer that removes some of the urgency – I don’t *need* to work hard to be able to survive for the next ~12 months. While I don’t want to spend down my cash unnecessarily, I have found that I am really enjoying giving myself a break to decompress. I worked full time in my career for “the man” for 10 years, and now that I’m “out” I am definitely experiencing an unwinding period where it’s hard to get any real work done.

Last week my SO started her first contract position, so she is now at work all day during the week. Her first contract will have us staying put in Maryland until January, and it feels like the time is finally here where I can sit down every day and try to be productive. My goal is to bill clients for 10-20 hours of work per week, and to spend some quality time on new personal projects. I haven’t quite reached a good balance at this point, but it seems every day new opportunities come up. Unfortunately, I am really struggling with procrastination. I think part of me isn’t done decompressing yet, because I am finding it difficult to work on passion projects as well. I try to plan a few simple tasks to get done every day at a nice leisurely pace, but some days I am finding I don’t have the right mindset or the energy to do the work. At my last job, I was very good at setting priorities and getting started on tasks every day – I guess in time I will see if I’m able to bring that same dedication to my own business.

Despite this procrastination issue, I am not entirely useless – external deadlines are very motivating, and I have been keeping up with client work. For August I am able to invoice about 50% of my goal, which means I am earning decent cash. I believe September will be somewhere around 75%, and if I can shake off some anxiety and obtain the focus I am striving for, I will soon be supporting myself without using savings at 100%. I would like to be more productive in my creative pursuits, including writing more, by for now “work” is taking most of the focus I can muster. Some days I am a bit overwhelmed by the amount of potential work inquires I receive –  as I said on Twitter recently:

Next week we move to a new RV park, where we will be renting monthly, most likely all the way through to January. Hopefully removing the uncertainty of where we will be, and the anxiety that comes with moving around so often, will help.

Do you have any tips or ideas for me on how to bring out a more productive mindset everyday? Let me know in the comments!

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Posted in Gap Year Experiment