As a freelancer, it’s really hard to constantly manage priorities to the point of turning down that next job or bowing out of an event or passing on an opportunity because you just can’t seem to make it work. That was me this past week. I was supposed to be on vacation the entire week to plan and prepare for our annual St. Patrick’s Day party. (It’s a big deal – I make everything from scratch and host about 50-60 people in honor of my late father, whose birthday was on St. Patrick’s Day).
I also knew it was going to be a difficult week because my husband was out of town for work and it was me, myself and I holding down the fort and making sure the kids got where they needed to be when they needed to be there, and, oh yeah, eat, too. But, here’s how it went: I came down with yet another cold (thank you, schools, for being fabulous germ factories that my children love to share with me…), scrambled to finish translation jobs I should not have taken, and cooked and prepared for the party all while shuttling the kids to practices, science fairs, rehearsals, school, appointments, etc. And, yes, things fell through the cracks. I have a list – I will get to them tomorrow when I get back to my office.
But, when it came down to it, I had to cancel my non-negotiable commitment. For me, that’s going to the gym. Working out daily is my outlet that focuses solely on me and lets me forget about everything else for that 45-60 minutes of sweaty stress relief. It’s also where I recharge, refocus, and realign my priorities. But, guess what? I didn’t go. For three days. And, I felt it. In every thing I did, physically, mentally and emotionally. Of all the weeks, this was the week I should have worked out very day. But, I just couldn’t swing it with my kids’ schedules, my work deadlines, and everything else. I let those take priority.
Of course, kids and work are priorities, but my health? That’s #1. It should always be #1. Because, if I’m not healthy and sane, nothing else is either. So, freelancers out there, make yourself a priority. Every. Day. Find that one thing that’s your non-negotiable commitment that is yours and yours alone. Something you love. Something about which you are passionate. Something that lets you release and forget about the stress and chaotic lives we lead. And, once you have it, schedule it and make it your non-negotiable commitment. You won’t regret it.