Quitting the Man: 63 Days Since Freedom

Time for another at-irregular-intervals update on what’s been happening since I quit my job.

On this last day of 2009, this post is mostly an update since last time, with a smidge of reflection and looking ahead thrown in.

Also, holy crap! I’ve gone and surpassed two months as a full-time entrepreneur.

Body stuff

There is more of it happening.

Lots of fatigue. It could be holiday-related, and it could be the fact that it’s winter.

I’m working on it, but it’s not easy to do the things my body needs (like exercise) when I’m so tired.

Update on the Fun situation

I did manage to get my knitting out – that scarf that I started *cough* five years ago. And it only took me about 20 minutes to relearn the knit stitch.

I’ve knitted a few times since then, but there’s also been quite a few evenings where I intended to knit but then didn’t. Here’s how it usually goes:

Oh! I have two hours to knit, so I’ll just hang out on Twitter a while longer.

[90 minutes later…]

Poo! I only have 30 minutes for knitting. That’s not enough time to really get into it, so I may as well keep hanging out on Twitter.

Yes, I know that’s silly. And yes, sometimes I do use “poo” as an expletive.

Still looking for other avenues for having fun, but haven’t made progress.

Time management stuff

Thanks to the amazing Lisa, aka ZenAtPlay, I tried the Pomodoro technique, but found myself resisting sticking to the system.

The idea of the technique is to work for 25 minutes (a pomodoro) and then stop and take a short break. And after every fourth pomodoro, take a longer break. If I managed to start a pomodoro (a feat in itself), I wouldn’t stop when the time was up to take my prescribed break. Plus, I’m not 100% sure the “inventory” list and the “today” list of tasks works for me. I was okay at adding tasks to the inventory, but not so good at copying them over to the list of stuff to work on that day.

If you get rid of the pomodoros and use only the inventory list of tasks, it actually starts to look similar to the Autofocus system, but I haven’t followed through with properly trying that one, either.

I’m just letting it be, for now, because I’m starting to understand (finally!) that the nature of the work I do now is different from what I used to do. So no wonder I’m having some trouble getting my bearings.

Hard stuff, in general

I’ve been having waves of stuckness and overwhelm and self-doubt come up. Not that that’s really anything new, but it’s more noticeable when it means no work gets done.

And it triggers a little pattern I have that I call the Waiting.

Waiting for something to happen when there are things I could be doing. Approaching everything passively or reactively. Obsessively checking email and Twitter and my site stats.

Intellectually, I know I’m helping people. And inspiring them, even, just by sharing my own process. Yet I’ve spent much of the last few weeks convinced I’m not doing anything worthwhile.

And getting downright mopey about it, and wishing someone would fix it for me.

It will pass. Writing about it here has already helped. Again, it could be residual holiday ick, or winter ick. And ick associated with year-end wrap-ups is most certainly a contributing factor.

On the bright side…

Okay, so this update seems a little negative. It’s been a challenging couple of weeks, but I mostly feel good about it.

I definitely would put the interview I did and my guest post in the “success” column. I had loads of fun and met some great people in the process.

So what’s on tap for 2010?

I already did most of my 2009 reflecting in my blog-iversary post, so there’s not much to add to that. But this whole planning, resolving, theme-ing for the coming year pushes my buttons. As I indicated last year.

Maybe it’s a commitment thing. But I think some of it comes down to feeling like I can’t possibly decide it so far in advance. And for me, not deciding in advance would mean choosing my theme in June. Or October.

Hmmm…so maybe it’s kind of a perfectionism thing – not wanting to get it wrong? Clearly, I’ll need to ponder that some more.

Here’s what I do know about 2010:

A theme or word, if I had to choose one, would be self-trust. Really learning to trust my own judgment and intuition as I navigate growing my business.

I’m also working toward creating some group classes and I’ve started work on an ebook. All of that takes time – a lot more time than I anticipated, so I’m also working on scheduling time to do that work. Which, as you’ve probably guessed by now, will be a bit of a challenge for me.

Has the reality of this change set in, yet?

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being “fully aware of this new reality,” I’d have to give the last couple weeks a 4.5 (no real change from last time).

The whole job thing feels more distant to me, but I’m very aware that a lot of what I do for “work” doesn’t directly result in income.

Before, I would show up to the job, put in my eight hours and at the end of two weeks I’d get paid. I miss the concreteness of “If I do x, I will absolutely, positively get y.”

I could do with a bit more visible progress, and some income, but I wouldn’t un-make my choice for the world.

10 thoughts on “Quitting the Man: 63 Days Since Freedom

  1. Amna (@Germinational)

    Victoria, I am SO with you. I’m on end-of-year vacation from the day job, and I have many of these same doubts and fears and wailings, and I also do my version of The Waiting. Is it needing to detox from work, or uncertainty/anxiety about the business-y stuff to be done, or or or? It is hard. I would love to just hit a switch and be in productive-business-owner mode, to have established habits and take maximum advantage of my time off. But for me, too, it doesn’t seem to happen this way.

    I want to acknowledge you for making the leap. It’s a Really Big Deal, and there is only growth from here. Wishing both of us patience and progress in 2010, in whichever ways work best!

  2. Lydia, Clueless Crafter

    I call Twitter “twitty” because the immediacy (or excruciating non-immediacy) of it puts people in twits!

    It’s troubling because it leads us outward for gratification. I try to be cognizant of that.

    Happy New Year, Victoria!
    .-= Lydia, Clueless Crafter´s last blog ..Who Your Duppy? =-.

  3. Maya Zaido (@animalswisdom)

    Hi Victoria,
    Thank you so much for your honest and real sharing of where you are at. You put exact words to how I’ve been feeling lately. Truly. These words…

    “And it triggers a little pattern I have that I call the Waiting.

    Waiting for something to happen when there are things I could be doing. Approaching everything passively or reactively. Obsessively checking email and Twitter and my site stats.

    Intellectually, I know I’m helping people. And inspiring them, even, just by sharing my own process. Yet I’ve spent much of the last few weeks convinced I’m not doing anything worthwhile.

    And getting downright mopey about it, and wishing someone would fix it for me.”

    I think this officially makes me a Waiter. I get it. I am also aware of it. Trying to practice observing and remembering that it will shift – my perspective, my energy, etc. The remembering is hard sometimes even when it is so obvious (and I am capable). Yes…trying to be gentle with me. Trying to be OK with knowing I am capable but that it is just as OK to not remember when I really don’t want to. Hope these words are making sense.

    I relate to the waiting, the obsessiveness of checking email or twitter, wanting someone else to fix it, and getting mopey (including crying) about it all. Feeling of overwhelmedness.

    I, also, am reminded by clients and friends that sharing my process really does make a difference and that my writing and my blog inspires others, comforts others….BUT that means that I need to TAKE THAT IN. And I do. In certain moments. In bits and pieces – sometimes bigger chunks and sometimes I can’t take it in at all.

    Anyway, my point here is to mainly say a big THANK YOU and to share how much I relate to your process and coping strategies.

    I also read your post from a year ago – and I also knit. I will also carve out time and then not knit. Can relate. I also can relate to not having enough on my fun-to-do list.

    Ok…this is my longest comment ever. Thank you for reading and allowing me to share. You really DO inspire me and move me – job done!

    Maya
    .-= Maya Zaido (@animalswisdom)´s last blog ..Relationships…Challenging…No…Really?! =-.

  4. Amy

    @Victoria & @Maya

    The Waiting. UGH. That’s what I’ve been struggling with (against?) for weeks now. Now that I’ve nailed down what I want to do, with whom, where, how, I can’t do anything else! I should be blogging, I should be writing, I should be teaching. But instead I bounce between Twitter, Plurk, and Gmail for hours on end, feeling miserable (and yes, weepy). Gotta do something about it.

    At least we’re not alone, right? :)

  5. Amy

    Frik. This is the second time today I commented something other than what I meant to!

    What I was *going* to say was that the Pomodoro technique sounds pretty cool and I’d like to give it a try. I recently heard that the human brain can’t concentrate well for longer than 26 minutes at a time and I have been trying to frame my work in smaller chunks of time. It hasn’t worked that well before, but it might soon. :)

  6. Victoria Post author

    Thanks to all of your for letting me know you relate! It’s really comforting to know I’m not alone in this.

    @Amna – Ah yes…that elusive “switch” that will put us in productive business owner mode. I keep looking for it but not finding it. And I’m betting it’s some of both – needing to detox from work *and* some overwhelm from all the new stuff you’re trying to do. The more I move through this transition, the more I see how much I underestimated how big it was!

    @Maya – Thank you! That is just beautiful. I’ll have to spend some time observing how I “take in” (or don’t take in) the positive feedback from people – great point!

    @Shawna – The self-trust thing is especially hard when it’s for stuff like writing, where there’s no way to know if it’s “right” or not. And everybody has a different opinion about it. At least that’s how it is for me. Sometimes I really like the black-and-white answers.

    @Amy – Nope! Definitely not alone in the Waiting and the avoiding of the thing we really want to be doing. And I’ll probably give the Pomodoro Technique another try at some point. I suspect my struggle with time management is more because I’m still in this massive transition, as opposed to not having found the right way to go about managing my time.

  7. elizabeth

    My expletive of choice is “Oh, bother.”

    I am so with you on “The Waiting” thing. On some level, I think I am waiting for the end of the day job. Except there are things I could (and should) be doing now. And I want to do them. But I am finding all these reasons why I can’t .. or get distracted by blog-reading or .. and then it gets that little gremlin going who says “clearly you are not cut out for self-employment – or you would be doing these things”. Argh.

    And yes, your sharing is very helpful! I love reading your posts. :)
    .-= elizabeth´s last blog ..happy merry =-.

  8. kate

    ooh my goodness! so those days i take off from work with the intention of working on ‘my own’ stuff and i find myself on gmail/facebook/twitter/blogs/etc. instead is NORMAL?!

    THANK GOODNESS!!

    that’s a lot of guilt i could be putting towards eating too many brownies! (rationalization: i made them with whole wheat flour and organic sugar and eggs!)

    thank you so much for sharing – the next time i finally pull my act together at 11pm and work on my own stuff until 2am instead of during the early evening allow myself to go to bed on time (where’s the fun in that?) i will know i am not alone!

    that said – it’s good to know there are good people to ‘read’ while Waiting!
    .-= kate´s last blog ..Take a picture – it will last longer! =-.

  9. Victoria Post author

    @elizabeth – Oh my – waiting for the end of the day job…I really, really do understand that. I *lived* that! And I had the gremlins saying I must not be cut out for self-employment. Who knows if I am or not – all I know is that I wasn’t cut out for a corporate job anymore, so really I had nothing to lose by leaving.

    @kate – You are *definitely* not alone!

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