Don’t Mistake a Passion Project for an Easy Gig

One of the most frustrating attitudes I encounter is that my life must be easier because I’m pursuing projects I love, and because I work from home.  I’ll admit the commute is alright but that doesn’t mean that I live a life of leisure.

The first word is still “Work

Between teaching and the blog, along with some volunteer work on the side I keep busy.  It’s easy to assume I’m free and open all day but in reality, I have a long to-do list and my projects suffer when I don’t get dedicated time to work on them.

I could be making calls, writing, answering emails, researching or alternating between tasks.  I still look forward to an evening of relaxing just like everyone else.

This choice came with sacrifices

I think part of the reason I get frustrated when people make assumptions about my lifestyle is because they tend to overlook the sacrifices.  It’s not easy to make a full “typical” salary working from home, so there are financial sacrifices.  There’s no health benefits or sick days.  A lot of the things we assume come with a 9-5 we forget don’t come with working for ourselves.

Don’t get me wrong, I love working for myself and being creative.  That being said, I don’t want people to imagine I have it easy just because I don’t leave the house.

The things I’m passionate about doing and the things I find easy are not necessarily the same

Working on a passion project is great – take this blog for example. I get to define what it is about, focus on what I’m interested in and develop ideas from start to finish.  However, that hasn’t made it easy.  I’m not a trained web developer, I’m still learning about entrepreneurial work (a dedication to constant learning is a whole new blog post), and self-promotion is a time-consuming process.  The fact that I am proud of this work and enjoy doing it does not mean that it’s a no-brainer for me.

Don’t assume that people who are pursuing their passions are doing so to get out of doing “real work” or because it’s the easy path.  Really building your own dream takes a lot more than what people see and is about the reward of following your heart, not about doing less work, I promise.

 

What are the misconceptions people have about the work you do (whatever work that is!)?

Looking for Advice? Be Picky

Yes, even when considering mine. The thing about wanting to work from home or for yourself in any capacity – actually, the thing about ANY thing you might be searching for advice on… is that there is A LOT of advice out there.
And the big secret: a good chunk of it is good advice. But you still can’t follow all of it.

Take blogging for example. I really am a successful example of how the Western school system molds our brains to value research and hard data so with a new project in mind step one was research.  Before I logged on to wordpress, named my project or even knew what I wanted my scope and subjects to be I was reading other blogs and articles about blogging.  There’s all kinds of advice from what and how to write, to how to promote it, to sample schedules, and the list goes on.

The reality is that while it might mostly be sound advice for starting a blog, it isn’t possible to consume and then follow all of it. Pick advice that makes sense with who you are, what project you’re working on and what you want from it.

The bottom line is this: Don’t be afraid to ignore good advice.

As for deciding what to ignore, don’t overthink it. Actually, you don’t even have to look at a piece of advice and then decide to ignore it. Really, the key is finding a few sources of advice that you trust and are interested in – then, stop looking.

As long as you’re looking for advice you’ll find it. You’ll find new or different strategies, approaches, ideas, etc.  You’ll find new gurus, leaders, and writers who will want to help you on your journey.

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed from hopping around between gurus and programs the key that they promote is consistency. Regardless of the platform or product, no matter what strategy you use to promote yourself the gurus agree: you have to be consistent.

So I offer you this: be consistent with the advice you choose to follow. Even if you don’t see immediate results or you see others selling advice that promises everything you’ve ever wanted… choose your advice and follow it consistently.

Focusing on Love

I noticed that I’d written two other “focusing on” titles, one for work and one for fitness.  I thought I might as well round out the unintentional series with a few thoughts on finding focus in love.

One of the major mental shifts in the transition from monogamy to polyamory has been paying attention not only to the amount of time I spend with each partner but exactly how we use that time.

When it was just Ben and I we could spend all weekend getting things done like grocery shopping, Costco trips, little fixes around the house and cleaning.  It might easily become much needed time to get to the things that, for one reason or another weren’t accomplished during the week.  As a monogamous couple, this sort of weekday procrastination and weekend productivity worked.  Now however if we blow through a couple days getting a lot of practical things done it feels like we really haven’t had that time together and before we know it we are out on dates with other partners and having second thoughts about what we did with our time together.

Of course, the housework doesn’t stop needing to get done just because our personal lives got busier.  So we have to be more careful about planning so that everything can get done without sacrificing too much personal time.

Since I work from home I try to get a lot of bigger household tasks like cleaning the floors and big clean-ups done during the day while everyone else is at work.  That way these things don’t become pressing on the weekend when someone else has the time to get to them. Besides, it’s easier to clean when there’s only one person home and that doesn’t happen often outside of work hours.

Getting tasks that require focus and labor like floors, windows, and other washing out of the way while everyone at work leaves the more passive tasks like running the laundry machines for evenings and weekends.  These tasks fit more easily into plans because you can just move the items and then go back to your date while the machines do the work.

It’s about more than chores though.  Sometimes even if we aren’t doing chores together we aren’t paying attention to each other either.  Almost eight years of monogamy meant getting used to having endless time together.  So what if one or two nights were lazy, spent doing our own things like me working on the blog and him playing guitar – there was always tomorrow.

Now that isn’t so true.  If we use our time together in separate endeavors we miss each other and again, rethink how we spent that time.

It takes more focus in each relationship to ensure that the time spent together doesn’t slip away without us actually connecting and appreciating that we’re together.

That doesn’t mean we have to drop everything either. It’s as simple as holding hands while you shop, taking a second in the car between stops to let your partner know you’re enjoying the time with them or grateful for them helping you get these things done and maybe stopping to enjoy a meal together while knocking tasks off the to-do list.

It’s funny how we don’t always think about the logistical side of running a relationship in relation to running a household but the two can either support or impede each other depending on how carefully time is considered and valued by all parties.

What’s your favorite way to slip a little romance into everyday life?

Carmen