I’m a freelance writer. In modern day America, that looks like this: every week, I write as many blogs/articles/content pieces as possible so I get paid. I work for a handful of online sites on a rolling basis, so the more I work, the more I get paid. Pretty sweet, or at least it would be, if I had enough time to really write to my full potential.Unfortunately, I don’t.
It’s great to work this way, because a really productive week means I’ll be earning some extra money. The problem, however, is that I sometimes become so focused on that dollar amount, that my brain starts to eat itself. I’ve discovered, during all the years I've been working from home, that every once in a while I’ve got to unplug.
I know the signs right away, too. I’m in the middle of writing or researching sometime and Boom! I’m surfing mindlessly, checking book sales, refreshing Facebook, scouring Twitter for something meaningful to retweet. I’m wasting time. I don’t really waste that much time when I’m really working. I’ve got my “internet rounds” that I make a few times a day, but then I get right down to business when they’re done. When it’s time for me to take a break, those rounds really do start to go round and round and round.
Eventually, I get dizzy.
Sometimes I can get a LOT of work done in a week before I hit that point. Other weeks, I’m fried by Tuesday. Bad news, right? Not always…
I write about this today, because it took me a little while to learn how to listen to that voice that’s telling me to quit. Once I figured it out, and learned that I needed to stand up and shut the laptop, then go do something else… well, my life got easier. I wasn’t fighting for every word, sentence, and paragraph. I got up and walked away. And when I was ready, I came back.
During those weeks that I burn out by Tuesday, I’m usually ready to hit the keys extra hard on Friday or Saturday. Sure, it’s a bummer to spend my weekend working, but the work is better quality, takes less time, and is often larger in quantity too.
The lesson here, and it is related to yoga, is that you have to listen to yourself. Your body and mind tell you what they can handle. If you’re listening, and you’re totally in tune with the message, the stress goes away. The less I stress, the more work I do. And the happier my mind is.