QB and I were watching one of those property programmes the other night where a team comes in to help out people who are struggling to sell their house. In this episode, the couple had started renovations, then had some changes to their lifestyle, and were simply unable to finish anything. When questioned about the fact most of the rooms were nearly done, but missing a few crucial elements, the failed renovator explained that everything had an order: you had to put in the window before you finished the skirting board, before you could do the floor – and that made it all just too hard.
I know just how they feel. My to-do list runneth over. Seriously. And my head is going to explode with all the bits and pieces I’m trying to remember. But I feel like there is so much I’m not achieving because it has to go in a certain order, and the start of it is just too hard.
A good example is Lil Z’s feed pump. Her old one (which was beginning to get a bit dodgy) is due a service. So, the company sent us a new one and a label for me to organise the return of the dodgy one. The new pump arrived in the midst of a lot of other things happening, and the instructions for the return of the old one arrived a few days later. During the interim, the cardboard box that the new one arrived in was recycled. But of course I later learned that the old one needs to be returned in the box the new one arrived in. Doh!
Now, this isn’t exactly a unsolveable problem. We have LOADS of cardboard boxes. All I need to do is find one of the approximate size. But then I wondered if I should call to ask if I could send it back in a different box. Then I forgot about it. Then the label languished in my massive “to do” pile for a while. Then I remembered it, started to do it, then hit the problem of needing a box again, and the search seemed too hard, so I put it off instead. This morning I spotted an appropriate sized box in the garage, complete with those little packing peanuts, so I’ve got very little excuse now, so here’s hoping I’ll get it sorted before the pump company lands me with a bill for the pump…
Put this on a grand scale and you’ll know how I’ve been feeling about work lately. In July I became freelance – something I desperately want and need to work because I don’t know how I’d actually manage if I had to work in a full-time job outside the home, and as all working mothers know, there are virtually no part-time jobs for professionals.
I started with a determination to make it all work. Then I got swamped with work from my previous company, so I was busy doing that instead of setting myself up and marketing my skills to other people. And now I just feel like I’ve run out of steam. With no urgent deadlines looming, I can’t seem to get anything accomplished. It all just seems too hard. Plus, there is an order to things. In order to market myself, I need to send out my CV. In order to send out my CV, I need to update it. In order to update it, I need a professional-looking email address. In order to get a professional-looking email address, I need to get a web domain. To do that, I had to navigate a whole bunch of issues that I don’t really understand as I’m not particularly technically minded. And so, it all became too hard.
Then a friend who is much more technically minded gave me some advice and steered me in the right direction. So, I’ve got the necessary email address now. But now I need to update and proof my CV, and I seem to have ground to a halt again.
Part of the problem is that at the moment I neither feel particularly professional, nor do I feel motivated to get out there and win work. Work, after all, has to be done – and when you’re a freelancer it has to be done with bells and whistles to make sure you’ll be hired again – and that can be hard to fit in with so much else going on.
During a (rather heated) discussion with QB the other day, he said that I spend all my time focused on Lil Z – even when I’m working I’m at home and on call should the au pair need me – and that as a result, I’m always living in the present tense. It’s all immediate needs, prescription refills and organising appointments. Although I’d argue that I focus on Vegemite as well, he’s got a point.
Everything else can seem hard because it is nearly impossible to switch off the focus on Lil Z.
So, this morning, I decided to “mind map” everything that I’m currently thinking, worrying about, organising, researching and doing with Lil Z. I will probably be thinking of more things to add for the rest of the day, but it surprised me how much there is. And how much has changed from the last mind map I did (which was almost 2 years ago, I think).
I was hoping that getting it all down on paper might help me clear my mind and focus. No such luck, I’m afraid.
It did, however, let me procrastinate a bit more on returning that pump…