Monday, September 18, 2023

Accountability and Progress: Week 17

I can't believe what a cluster last week ended up being.  Some of it's sensitive so I don't want to get into  all of it, but suffice it to say that my husband's cold was only the first interruption of the week.  Car problems and a rather stressful situation with one of my Facebook groups took care of the rest.

This week is already off to a rip-roaring start, too.  I have a lot on my list to do for the week, but today didn't go as planned.  Tomorrow won't either, since I have to run an unexpected errand, and then I have a (planned) visit from my mom in the evening.  I have planned "interruptions" pretty much every day this week, actually, which is going to leave little time to get things done.

One of the "interruptions" is a big deal and an accomplishment, if it goes well, so I can't feel bad about that.  I'm just frustrated with the lack of time to work on things I'd like to work on.

I'll do my best though, and probably spend some time trying to catch up on stuff around the house on the weekend.  Here's last week's rundown, and the plan for this week.

Doll stringing ebook: I did move this to Wednesday, and I'm glad I did as there was no way it would have gotten done today.  I'm hoping to get back on track so that I won't push it back again.

Ruby Ransome: Once again, I opted to shift this back another week.  I have too much to do this week.  I am reminding myself that I told myself last week that was okay!

Blogging and website maintenance: I didn't get much done here, on social media either.  Just two blog posts last week.  I have ideas for some reels, but I haven't had a chance to film them yet.

Other projects: Not much happened with my organization project last week.  Even the weekend ended up being too full to work on anything.  Hopefully I can make up for that this week.  I'm trying to leave the weekend open for it.

On the horizon: I meant to reach out to my various contacts about starting to make plans for NaNoWriMo, but it didn't happen last week.  It's on the docket for this week.  It's too early to be making most plans yet, but there are a few things that should get on the calendar sooner rather than later.

Some weeks I feel pretty good about things, and other weeks I feel like I'm caught in a riptide and I need to focus on keeping my head above water before I can even think about trying to go anywhere else.  Last week was one of the latter, and this week may not be much better.  Hopefully by the end of the week all the "interruptions" will be over with and I can spend some time over the weekend on my projects.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Sick Days When You Work from Home

Well, it seems we may have brought "con crud" home with us from the Fall Show.  My husband woke up with a slightly sore throat yesterday, which progressed into some congestion throughout the day.  He took medicine before bed, and today I can hear him coughing and fighting congestion while he works.

As for me, I was hoping I would avoid it, but I woke up with the faintest of sore throats this morning.  Any other time I would have assumed it was allergies, but with Zac sick I am playing it safe.  I skipped my ride with my leaser today as I didn't want to expose her to it, and I'm contemplating skipping my dad's appointment tomorrow at the cancer center.  If I am potentially carrying something, the last thing I want to do is to take it to a bunch of chemo patients.

Listening to my husband hack and cough while he works made me think of how sick days have changed.  It used to be that people were expected to largely work through being sick, so hacking and coughing at one's desk wasn't really that surprising a thing.  Then covid put the fear of illness into everyone, and people were expected to stay at home.  But at the same time, the world was shifting to a more virtual workplace in response to covid concerns, so it became a matter of "Don't be selfish and expose other people, but also make sure you do this work as we still need it done."

In a lot of ways, I think this has eroded people's sick days.  While now it's more expected to stay home if you're ill, it's like the corporate world thinks you can still rest while working from home.  So even though your body needs real rest to get better, you're expected to spend your rest time working from home.

Of course, my husband is in a similar boat as I am.  He's a contract-to-hire employee, so until they hire him on as a full time employee with benefits, he has no sick days.  If he has to take a day off, he loses the income for that day, which motivates him to work through the illness.

The same goes for me when I'm sick, although as a freelancer and a self-employed person, I get paid a little differently (by what I accomplish, rather than hourly).  And honestly, that difference often means that I'm not motivated to work, unless I have a pressing deadline that can't be postponed, because I tend not to be very focused when I'm sick.

Speaking of my focus, that has been suffering today too, I'm afraid.  I was hoping to be productive while "stuck" at home from my canceled ride, but instead I haven't accomplished much that I had intended to do.  I don't know if it's because I'm getting sick, but I haven't had any energy or motivation today.  Sometimes I feel fine, and other times I think that maybe I'm feeling a little bit off.  I guess only time will tell.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Accountability and Progress: Week 16

I can't believe I've been doing these progress posts for almost four months now.  Looking back on the first ever weekly progress post, I realized a lot of my current projects were on my list even then.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  The cleaning and organizing overhaul is a massive project and one that I don't work on equally every day or even every week, so that's why it's still on my list.  Plus, I have made progress over the past three and a half months; I just have to look around my living room to see how much.

But there are other projects that I feel bad about not having accomplished anything on yet, mostly those projects waiting in the wings for me to finish other things and get back to work on them.  These are projects such as my doll stringing ebook and my novel, things I promise each week I'll get back to work on, but that keep getting pushed back.

Is it a race, though?  Do I have to do them right now?  When I stop and think about it, I don't really have to get right to work on them.  I'm working on other things that are more important at the moment.

Last week didn't see a lot of progress on any projects, though.  I worked on a project for one of the Facebook groups that I run, and got my exhibit ready for the Fall Show.  That was, unfortunately, the bulk of what I accomplished last week.

This week I'm hoping to get more done with my organization project, and maybe get a couple of large items listed for sale to clear some space.

Doll stringing ebook: I scheduled this for next Monday, and that's still the case.  I'm going to try not to have to move it again because I need to get that project done.

Ruby Ransome: I shifted this back another week.  Honestly, at this point maybe I won't get to it until closer to NaNoWriMo, or even until NaNoWriMo, and that's okay.  I just want to make sure I get my organization project done before NaNoWriMo, so that I can focus on NaNo in November.

Blogging and website maintenance: You can see that last week was a little challenging for me, as I didn't get any other blog work done.  I did get some quick content (reels) at the Fall Show over the weekend, and have some more content planned for this week.  I think I'm also going to change the title of this category, or maybe I need to separate out social media into its own category.  I'll have to think on that.

Other projects: I didn't get much done on my organization project last week, but I'm hoping to catch up in a major way this week.  I have lots of ideas for what I want to do next, but there is of course always more to do.

On the horizon: NaNoWirMo is coming up and I need to start looking at plans.  At this stage, I probably just need to reach out to the coffee shop that usually hosts our kickoff party and some of our write-ins and make sure they're on board for this year.  Not a lot else needs to be planned yet, but pretty soon we'll be planning write-ins and other small events, so I'll start reaching out to other businesses soon too.

I love when the start to a week feels so promising, like there's a lot to do and I'm full of hope that I can get it all done.  That being said, today's plans have already gone astray, so we'll see what the week has in store for me!

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Accountability and Progress: Week 15

I'm really enjoying how things are shaping up around the house.  We got a lot more done this past week, especially over the holiday weekend, and it's so satisfying every time something else takes shape.  Unfortunately, we also had to give up some of our time over the weekend to dealing with car maintenance, and I babysat for most of yesterday as well.

I also got some work done blogging last week, but most of what I did was organizing and such around the house.  I've pretty much given up on doing the super ambitious content push.  I'm just going to try to do some videos as time allows.  This week I expect will be pretty quick without a lot of opportunities for much, since it's a short week due to the holiday, plus I'm losing so much of the week due to obligations outside the house.

Doll stringing ebook: I'm putting this back on the to-do list, but scheduling it out for the week after next.  This week is a hot mess already, and next week I want to try to get around to doing some content.

Ruby Ransome: I had planned on getting back to work on my novel this week, but with the short week and the myriad other demands on my time, I'm actually going to put that off until next week.

Blogging and website maintenance: I'm still working on ramping up my work in this category.  I blogged exactly twice last week, though, so this area definitely needs work, and across my other websites and blogs as well.  My social media participation slowed down a little last week too, so it was just a slow week overall for everything but my organization projects and a couple other things.  I'm hoping to do a little better this coming week (what there is of it).

Other projects: I worked some more on the copy, flyers, and social media content for the museum's doll event coming up in October, and I think that's more or less done now.  I had to finalize it before the museum's Fall Show this coming weekend, so they could make flyers for the show.  And of course I've been working on cleaning and organizing, and making good progress on that.  Lots more to do this week and next, too!

On the horizon: I picked up my business cards to display at the Fall Show, and now I really need to work on planning my exhibit.  I have some ideas of how I want to set it up, so this week I'll work on that.  Friday is setup day, and I'll probably set up mostly in the afternoon.  I'm also volunteering at the show on Sunday, so I expect a fair bit of my weekend will be taken up with this show.  Unfortunately that does mean I may not have another weekend to spend on cleaning and organizing until the following weekend!

This weekend is going to be over before I know it, and without much time to get things done, between the holiday, today being mostly over already, car issues, a farrier appointment for the horses, and the Fall Show Friday through Sunday.  I think it's fair not to have many ambitions for this week, and just try to get through it with my to-do list more or less intact.  I'll work more on getting things done next week.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

The Satisfaction of a Job Well Done

I wrote a while back about how I've had the itch to write ever since I stopped freelancing.  I haven't gone this long without regularly writing something in more than 20 years.  Blogging helps but isn't enough.

I realized last night that one thing I've been missing is the feeling of a job well done.  I don't think I've gotten that feeling in a while.  My freelance work was mostly pretty hum-drum: I was proud of it, but I wasn't popping with pride, if you know what I mean.  It was also fast turnover, so I rarely felt much time to feel proud of it.  I got it done and got it out the door.

For the last week and change, I've been working on a flyer and copy for the museum's upcoming Halloween doll event.  I just finished a round of quick revisions after reviewing comments from the museum's director, and made a second version that will work better for sharing on Instagram.  I'm proud of the work, not just the copy but also the visual concept and presentation of the materials.  It feels good.

Obviously I need more of this in my life.  Right now, I'm working on an epic plan to clean up and reorganize my house so that it reflects my goals, hobbies, and business plans.  But once that's done, I need to think heavily on where I want to go with my writing business.  Am I done freelancing and writing marketing copy, aside from what I do for the museum?  Am I going to focus primarily on my fiction and doll-related writing projects from now on?  Or do I want to build a more focused writing business where I do more professional marketing copy with a little design thrown in?

I'm not ready to make that call quite yet, but as I enjoy my work for the museum, it's something I'm thinking about.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Accountability and Progress: Week 14

This past week has reminded me of how energizing productivity can be.  When you get things done, even if it's not everything you'd planned, you feel motivated to do more.

I'm feeling especially motivated by everything I've gotten done because we've been doing big things with the house organization, and as a result I can really see everything we've accomplished.  It's a good feeling!

That being said, last week was a trying week.  On Friday I spent my day dealing with two plugged drains and a leaking disposal.  I really thought I'd be spending the weekend replacing the disposal.  Fortunately that didn't turn out to be the case, as once the kitchen drain was cleared, the disposal stopped leaking.  I'm sure it's only a matter of time before those leaks get bad enough to be a problem even without a sink full of water, especially since that disposal has been jamming on us periodically over the last year or two.  But I'll take the reprieve and be glad of it for now!

As you can imagine, the home maintenance work threw a wrench in my plans later on in the week, but truth be told my week had already gone astray.  Here's the rundown.

Doll stringing ebook: Still putting this off, although I need to put it back on my to-do list soon, since it's becoming evident that I won't accomplish all the content I was hoping to do.

Ruby Ransome: I'm still putting off working on the novel as well, but I did spend time last week on a training NaNoWriMo headquarters asked Municipal Liaisons to do.  I can't believe NaNoWriMo is coming up so fast!  Only two months before the madness begins!

Blogging and website maintenance: I am pleased to have gotten some other blogging than just this weekly post done last week, even though I didn't get around to doing the massive content push I've been intending to do for my doll business.  I do still want to do a little of that, so I hope to get started on it this week, but I no longer have the Herculean expectations I originally had for myself.  I'm also planning to continue the other blog posts, both here and on my other blogs.

Other projects: I've been working a lot on organizing this past week, and I'm happy to say that it's paying off.  The living room is beginning to look how I want it and I'm getting doll displays put up where I want them too.  As things get organized and put away, I can start producing content as well as getting organized to start selling again.  We got some more of it done this evening, and I have more projects planned for the rest of the week and especially the weekend, as my husband will have a four-day weekend due to the holiday on Monday.

On the horizon: The museum's Fall Show is looming closer!  I did get business cards ordered, and just in the nick of time: I should be getting them early next week, and then the show is that weekend.  I still need to plan that exhibit and possibly get some dolls ready for it too.  I am on the fence about this "collab" opportunity, as I suspect they were just trying to recruit new users for their site, and not actually looking for a real collab opportunity with me.  I'm wondering if it's worth my time to investigate further, or if I should just drop it now.

Due to my husband's short week, my week will probably be a little short as well, as I don't try to do a lot of work when he's off.  I'm okay with that, though, as I seem to get more done with the cleaning and organization projects when he's helping!

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Unpaid Work Has Value Too

A couple days ago I posted about how much volunteer work I do.  In fact, most of what I do right now is volunteering, in both official and unofficial capacities.

It makes it a little hard sometimes to feel like I'm accomplishing much.  Productivity is a major value in our culture, but for the most part productivity also tends to be viewed in terms of money.  So the same assumption that housewives "don't work" tends to make those of us who freelance or volunteer (or both) feel like we don't accomplish enough.

When I really think about it, though, I am most proud of the things I do that I don't get paid for.  

As a volunteer Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo, I encourage people to pursue their goals, contribute to a strong local writer community, and spread literacy like some kind of fiction-loving Tinkerbell.  ("Trust me, what this stuff does is way better than flying.")

As a volunteer board member with the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys, I am helping to preserve past generations' playthings for future generations.  Volunteering my time to write their event copy and design flyers means exploring and honing new skills for me as a writer.  And as a volunteer doll event planner, I get to share the love and knowledge of these things with others, and often help to build a foundation for future collectors, too.

And that's just the official stuff.  One of the things I feel best about, and on a daily basis, is the time I spend on Facebook helping people.  The insulin pump support group is, of course, a tremendous help for people, but I like to think I'm doing good by helping people with their dolls, too.  (Not to mention all the social media exposure helps me too by making a name for myself online.)

Despite how proud I am of these things, I still struggle sometimes with feeling like I don't get enough done.  Thankfully I have a supportive husband to remind me of the value of what I do whenever I start feeling inadequate.

What are you proud of that doesn't earn money?  Do you struggle to feel productive when you do things that don't actively earn (or save) you money?


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