On not working

As most of you probably know I stopped working a “regular” job last Friday, January 11th. I decided to go full time on Wishlisting, which was formerly a part-time project.

I was curious what it would be like to wake up and have to decide what you’re going to do that day. After one week, I haven’t come up with any great solutions, but I’ve identified a number of aspects of working for one’s self that I hadn’t expected to worry so much about.

The big thing that being at a regular job gives you is a routine. You are more or less expected to be there from a given time in the morning to a given time in the evening. You don’t have to think about it – the structure is there for you. You work around it (your meals, your exercise, etc). It’s a pre-built framework for your routine. You can use this framework to build good habits around, or not, but at least these are decisions you don’t need to make.

This past week I decided not to set any alarms. I woke up whenever I naturally awakened, and went to bed whenever was convenient relative to what I was doing. This is pretty nice, but it doesn’t foster a routine. Opening up your days opens up the number of options you have during the day. For example, you now have the option of meeting a friend for lunch even if they don’t work near you. You can attend local daytime events. Showering in the morning is no longer part of your routine – it becomes a decision. Do I shower now, or do I go to the gym and shower afterwards? Every action is a decision. I got things done, but I never felt like I settled into a rhythm.

I’m not sure how important settling into a rhythm is, either. Waking up when you want is nice. Meeting a friend for lunch is great. These are legitimate perks. I may still be stuck in the dayjob mindset to recognize that things are just going to have to start working differently. Perhaps I just need to measure how much time I’m working, and ensure I’m putting in the appropriate amount each day even if it’s sporadic. Or, perhaps working the same amount each day is another aspect of the dayjob mindset that I need to shake.

It’s a little weird. It’s still too soon for me to have come to any great answers, but these are the first things that immediately hit me after one week out of the regular working world.

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