Achieving a work/life balance that makes me happy is still an elusive thing, but I’m secretly quite thrilled that I think I have the formula.
This may sound odd, but I’m still a little bitter about the fact that digital camera technology wasn’t as easy when I worked for Bruce Power as it was even a year later when I moved to BC in 2002.
I used to gaze out my home office window and watch the apple tree in the empty lot next to me through the seasons. It was beautiful in all four of them, whether weighted down with snow or adorned with thousands of the palest pink blossoms.
Kincardine is known for its beautiful sunsets (cynics would say that’s because of the hole in the ozone layer above Lake Huron resulting from industrial emissions from Michigan and other eastern US states). I didn’t manage to get a single photo of one of them, and in general, for a variety of reasons, I had neither the time nor the ability to really enjoy living in a small town or in a rural setting. Except for some wonderful expotitions to antique stores (another series of photo opps for which I would now kill), I wasn’t up for much other than exploring the countryside by car on the weekends. If I couldn’t get my act together to buy the elm chest of drawers with its bonnet and ribbon drawers and get it refinished, I could at least have photographed it.
And photographing it would have taken me into another zone, leaving me ready to reenter the fray once again on Monday morning. That’s why, after far too many years as a workaholic, I’ve decided to restrict my client hours to 9AM to 5PM Monday to Thursday and 9AM to noon on Fridays.
There’s flexibility in there, of course, by pre-arrangement or if I’m providing crisis communications. But generally I intend to limit my client availability to those hours and my work week to about 30 hours. That means more Friday afternoons at Tinseltown, where I can sit in the dark and weep my way through Passchendaele. It also means more photography, more quilting, more reading, and more IRL polishing of my social skills.
All of which make me both a better person and a better consultant.
I’m thinking of my weekends as weekend workshops these days. Sometimes the ‘to do’ list will be completely abandoned and spontaneity will rule. That’ll mean I can catch up on a rather ambitious reading list. It’s a shocking long list. The only one I’m going to finish this weekend is Gabor Mate’s In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, because it’s overdue at the library. Groundswell will have to wait.
But at other times I’ll actually get out there. Today’s expedition is to the craft fair at Royal & Third in New Westminster, Christmas Magic at the Manor. I’ll let you know what I couldn’t live without.
Update: Cachet Co. Catering‘s lavender shortbread was to kill for, not just to die for. Now I’m addicted.