Balancing My Action Plan and My New Reality

All my life, I’ve been a person who handles things. Who fixes things. Who jumps in and gets things done.

Nearly dying of a brain tumor and losing my eyesight in the process have been a humbling experience.

I’m still smart. I’m still physically and emotionally strong. I’m still a doer. But I’m having to face the fact that I can’t just do all the things I did before, or at least, not in the same way I used to do them.

This has really hit me hard lately with regard to finances.

I’m having to figure out new ways to track and maintain our family finances.

I’m having to face the fact that I can’t just run out and get an entry-level job to supplement or shore up the family income.

I’m coming to realize that work, for me, is probably never going to resemble the traditional forty-hour-a-week position in someone’s employ. My future work life is more likely to involve freelancing and contract work, little income trickles merging to form income streams, hopefully merging to become something resembling a real income.

I’m beginning to work out strategies for making that happen.

I’ve got a staff post up over at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff in which I discuss my financial plan and some of my potential income-generating strategies: SherryH’s Action Plan: Doing Something About Our Situation.

The Hard Part: Making it Work

Of course, making a plan is only half the battle. After you make a plan, you have to make it happen.

Frankly, I’m a little worried about my ability to pull it off. How am I going to make a career of writing when I’m not even sure I can keep up with what I’m committed to now?

I mean, right now I’m committed to three staff posts and two short stories a month. That’s a little more than one a week. How can I not handle that?

This morning I opened my email to find Donna Freedman’s Write a Blog People Will Read newsletter. You can read the WABPWR blog and sign up for Donna’s newsletter here, and if you’re interested in blogging, or writing in general, I recommend both.

In today’s newsletter, Donna talks about starting a new job as a contractor. She was feeling exhausted, she writes, and stretched a little too thin.

And then she offered a great piece of insight: This is normal when you’re taking on a new job, with demands that are a bit of a stretch from what you’ve been doing before. You feel stretched, and you take a while to grow into it.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take on such challenges, she writes, but it’s important to realize how they’ll affect you, and to be kind to yourself while you grow into them.

A Bit of a Stretch, Indeed!

Donna’s post was exactly what I needed to hear today.

I started this blog in July, the same month I started writing staff posts for BFS. That means that in the past four months, I’ve taken on:

  • writing 2-3 weekly posts here
  • writing 3 staff posts a month
  • writing two stories a month
  • planning and cooking the majority of our meals
  • tracking and paying the monthly bills
  • sewing leather purses and pouches with an eye toward an eventual craft business.

Any one of those would require a little getting used to. It’s not surprising that taking on all of them together, especially in a relatively short time span, is leaving me feeling a bit wrung out and overcommitted.

I do think I ought to be able to handle all this stuff, and, in time, more. But I think Donna’s got the right idea when she suggests giving myself a little time and breathing room to work my way into the new demands.

Perhaps I need to make one more commitment.

I think I need to commit to looking at what I’ve accomplished and seeing it for the progress it is, and not see myself as slacking or underachieving because I’m not doing more. I need to commit to seeing, not what I could once have accomplished, but what I can accomplish now. I need to commit to having realistic expectations and giving myself time to live up to them.

I just hope, over time, it’s enough.

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