In a week of changing gears, in both work and home, there has been a lot of lesson learning going on around here.
- I’m a creature of habit. My first week freelancing, post layoff, is going well. Surprisingly, though, I’m having trouble breaking the 9-6 routine, which is what I had complained most about with my full-time job after having enjoyed flexible hours for three years before that. I never thought being tied to my desk would be a hard habit to break, but I find myself constantly looking at the clock: This line needs to move faster because I have to start work in ten minutes. I only have five minutes left of my lunch break. Ugh, it’s only 3:00? These next three hours are going to be long. While there is nothing wrong with trying to keep “business hours,” I know from experience that I am a better writer when I allow myself time to shift gears (say, like write a blog post mid-day) or take a reading break every few hours. Now it’s just a matter of getting my internal clock to buy into my process.
- If, while you think you could be having a medical emergency, your first thought is, G-d, please don’t let me die because people will come into my house and see what a mess it is, it might be time to do something about your housekeeping habits. I tend to be a not-do-anything-during-the-week-and-clean-it-all-over-the-weekend kind of girl. Looking around with anxiety at the piles of things building up makes me realize this routine isn’t working too well. Perhaps I should spend those breaks I need from writing to tidy up with more regularity.
- I don’t need – or want – half of what I own. Purging Round 2 started off great. I probably let go of about half my wardrobe and still have plenty to wear (and not wear). Then I hit a plateau as I looked around my office/studio thinking, but I WANT everything in here. No, I’ll probably never use that paper for anything, but it’s just soooo pretty! I went through all the self talk and realized it’s simply a matter of not being ready to tackle my favorite room yet. So last night I switched gears and went through my books. I thought this was going to be an impossible task, but I put half of my collection in boxes to go to the library with surprising ease. Whether it was my desire to see progress or a lack of wanting to yet again schlep eight boxes of books across town, the act restored my purging mojo. When I was younger, I equated more stuff with more happiness; now, the opposite is beginning to prove true for me.
- It pays (literally) to speak up for yourself. I can sometimes be a passive person, often out of sheer laziness. I’m the one who looks at her receipt on the way out the door and decides not to go back for that dollar I shouldn’t have been charged. When you start talking hundreds of dollars, both my passivity and laziness tend to subside, but when it comes to insurance claims, I often chalk discrepancies up to my not fully understanding my coverage. Keeping a more watchful eye on our money these days, I decided to investigate a charge from my doctor’s office that I felt was too high. Analyzing the insurance claim, the charge looked to be $800 more than what I should have paid! I emailed the insurance company to confirm that my out-of-pocket expense was only $400. Then I made the dreaded call to the doctor’s office. Though nice, the woman I spoke to made it sound as though an insurance error had been made and I would be on the hook for the difference, despite the written confirmation I had. One more call to the insurance company righted the entire situation in a matter of hours – and with minimal effort on my part. Win! Now if only I could apply this lesson to negotiating better fees for my writing… baby steps.