Life on the road, two weeks into the journey already, and it feels like I’ve been away from home for at least a month. Maybe it’s all the new things we come into contact with when we travel, the people we meet, the information we get almost unconsciously, but these days are so rich and full they really feel bigger and longer.
And yet, I’m effectively working less hours per day than I did when I was at home. Not being in my own space means I have to dedicate time to the people I stay with, the errands I help run, the little everyday things we get involved with when our time is not totally our own. It’s wonderful because it forces me to make the best use of the time I do have by myself, and it also forces me to spend time doing things I wouldn’t normally do.
Like when I happened to visit the knitting club in the local church (can you believe this is where they do it!), where I got a fascinating glimpse into these ladies’ lives as well as their scribbled pattern sheets. I ended up knitting pot holders that I really needed for the place I’m staying at (yes I am like that! 😁) and spending the rest of the weekend roaming gorgeous garden centres and charity shops in search of books and Marvel comics (I even found a big big Dalek 😎).
So I’m finding out that time stretches, folds, expands, and can be manipulated. One hour of focused, uninterrupted work can be worth four hours of “normal” time, and possibly more. But this is something we all know, right? Focused time versus distracted, half-hearted time, we all know about this… right?
So why is it so hard to do?
I found that the key is that word I used up there… FORCE. I’m forced to work this way. I have put myself in a situation that forces me to work this way. Of course, when I’m at home I’m not forced to do it this way… therefore I don’t do it! But what if we found ways to force ourselves into this?
And I don't mean to say you should take hours off every day to go knitting potholders, either! But what if we had a plan that forced us to do some of the work in very limited time, so we can free more time to do other things? More important things? Work that is NOT URGENT BUT IMPORTANT to us?
OTB has a section on workflows and systems, where we learn to plan and prioritize and understand what is urgent and what is important. This usually makes all the difference not only in the running of a business and its success, but also in our quality of life. This taking work on the road is an extreme version of it, and has forced me to really practice what I preach. It’s taken me a week to really get into a rhythm, but it’s happening!
It does come with challenges. I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do by Friday, and forced myself to leave it until Monday (there’s that word again). Easy to catch up over the weekend, I know, but I didn’t. And guess what, it took no time at all to get it finished on Monday morning. And today… I mean, can you believe it… I’m even blogging!!! :D
So here’s my challenge to you. What are the things you want to find time for and never do. What are the projects at the bottom of your drawer, the books on the shelf you’ve no time to read, the class you’d love to take but never allowed yourself to join? Do you want to learn to sing, draw, ice skate? Knit potholders?
Choose one thing and MAKE time for it. You will not miss it if you use it that way. The rest of your time will expand, you will still get your work done. You will find ways, unexpectedly, when you set out for it.
What will it be? Tell us!
I’ve been here over a week. I count about a week because I took four days off as a break and a way to adjust and organise my work on the road. I moved to a beautiful village in the Cotswolds, stone cottages with smokey chimneys, a bit of rain, a lot of sunshine, and even a little snow last night.
I set up office in the lounge, sprawled on the sofa, papers everywhere, my laptop on a cushion, a fire going and an endless stream of cups of tea right next to me.
I took over 3TB of stuff with me, afraid I would forget something, afraid to drop the ball with clients waiting for their books, afraid to forget bills and payments and everyday stuff that we don’t think about when we’re away from home.
I’m not on holiday. That is what I realized I had to remember right from the start. It’s so easy to think I’m on holiday, tucked away in this little cottage, peaceful, quiet. The perfect retreat. But I’m working, this week I’m working full time, just like at home. I realize I’ve never worked quite so well in my life… having less stuff, no messy desk (in fact, no desk at all!!), no house to clean, no other decisions to make. I’m a guest and to do my bit I cook in the evenings, and enjoy that. We watch movies, talk, laugh, relax.
And during the day the place is mine, everyone off to work and I have fast wifi, an endless supply of tea and cream, my laptop and my phone. I’m so grateful for the technology that allows me to do this. I’m doing my sessions, recording videos, even launching my new Mastermind group today. Creating new things, writing new material, getting fresh ideas because I can relax and my mind is so free.
Organizing the US part of this trip is a challenge… dates have shifted, and I’ll probably be in even more places than originally planned. I knew from the beginning that the word of the day would be FLEXIBILITY. If I’m flexible, anything is possible. If I can adapt, think on my feet, find solutions, I’ll be alright. Things slot into place. People turn up at the right moment. Systems start working, and the work just flows.
Every day has its own challenges, some logistic, some technical, some social. Where am I going next weekend? How do I get there? Is there wifi? Who is there… daughter, mum, friends? How social do I have to be, how many hours do I get to do some work and how long will it take to travel on Friday?
I’m beginning to see ways around all these issues, and I want to bring it all back to my work at home. Maybe even find some tips and tricks I can share with everyone. For now, the first would be: Take the minimum you need to do the work and hide away everything else. Go somewhere else to do some of the work, even if it’s the coffee shop down the road. Write and look around and enjoy a drink and see if things feel different, if it feels like working on holiday.
I usually have so many difficulties focusing, and it’s so much easier here. I can work fewer hours and get more done. I can take time off and walk to the Abbey and see a 600-yr old Bible in four huge volumes, written on vellum and illuminated by monks and sitting under beautiful stained glass windows. And inside the Abbey an open coffee shop, people drinking tea and having soup, right there at the back of the pews, little tables and children and mums having a cuppa and a chat. Community, like it used to be. I walk through the church almost more in awe of this than the fourteen hundred-year-old arches above me.
Nourishing my soul. We all need that. We have to make space for that. We have to find a way to make time for that.
I always hear “I don’t have time. I’d love to do XYZ, but I don’t have time.”
Well, nobody has time. We have to MAKE time. And we do, we make time for what we really want to do, and we do it. I even teach this in OTB :)
What do you want to make time for this year? How are you going to nourish your soul? Which way do you want to go?
I’ll be glad if I can help you on the way :)