Project: Realignment

At midnight on September 30, I logged out of my Facebook account and removed the app from my phone. I’m not giving up Facebook forever. I’m just taking a month-long hiatus as part of a larger project of realigning my priorities and developing more mindful habits. The past two months have been a very exciting and very busy time for me as a freelancer, but I’m realizing that I need and want to adjust to make sure I can actually enjoy the flourishing of my business.

Since I started this venture in 2011, I have wanted to reach a critical mass of projects where I have lots of good work coming in from repeat clients with whom I have a friendly and mutually beneficial relationship. A couple of months ago, I reached that point I’ve been working toward. Yet I still felt that I wasn’t doing enough.

Last week I saw a friend and mentor who I hadn’t seen in some time. She asked how I was doing. I said, “… Good? …” This friend happens to be a business consultant, and so we got into a conversation about what’s going on with me for work. Finally she said simply, “You’re working too much.”

Even writing this now, my first reaction is that she can’t possibly be right. I don’t have too many projects, and they’re not too taxing. The trouble is—and I suspect this is something many freelancers can identify with—I never really put down my work. Even when I’m with friends at the Big E or watching a movie or reading a magazine, my work is at the back of my mind. Lists are being made, reminders being stamped into my brain, emails being drafted to be typed up and sent off tomorrow. You wouldn’t know it from the outside, but lately it feels like my friend is right: I’m working all the time.

So quitting Facebook is just one piece of a larger project of exploring how I can differently divide up my time and mental energy to enjoy everything more, and more distinctly. I’m currently 14 hours into day 2 of the experiment. A few times I have felt the impulse to log on, and I’m grateful for it. Each time it has reminded me that perhaps there’s something different I could be doing—answering an email that otherwise I might have let sit, reading an article, or even resting my eyes for a few minutes.

For three years A and I have spent the month of January on working retreat in Goa. Every year I’ve been struck by how I don’t get bored with our routine. Instead, the more time I spend there, the more I like it, and the more I think I could keep going like that forever. I get the feeling this month might be like that: settling in, letting go, and finally arriving at a new and slower fullness that I can enjoy each moment of.


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