Poor sleep last night because I have been worrying too much. I'm currently engaged in a day-job project that is on an extremely rushed schedule and I am working with another supplier for the first time. I have no previous reference on how reliable the supplier is on projects like this one. With the time constraints, there is very little room, if any at all, to remedy any failures. I can only hope and pray to the gods.
Meanwhile I am plotting out my own side of the work -- calculating and allotting hours from now until the 6th of November when the project will be concluded. The important thing is to ensure that there will still be creative hours, and that there will be enough mental and physical energy to make use of those hours productively.
I make a big deal of the hours because I have come to the point when missing out on creative practice for any period of time brings on a kind of depression, lethargy, and overall demotivation from life. I also suffer from an unpredictable standstill state that puts on hold any forward progress on my creative journey.
How do I make it work?
I try to keep Mondays as light and free as possible. A heavy Monday can set a heavy mood for the rest of the week. Today I have made a list of very specific small tasks that will keep my day-job projects moving but without eating up too much creative time. I also use the "timespace" to get a feel of how the week will likely flow -- slowing my Monday allows me to gain a proper perspective on the workload. It is difficult to do this when I start Monday rushing around. I have to set the pace today, and I have to start it the moment I get up from bed.
Monday mornings therefore are rituals of transition from the weekend to the working week. Coffee and daily pages. Mind-sweeping with my Wunderlist. Updating my planner. Emails are checked only after I have felt myself settle into the day (usually between 9-10AM). By then I have better control of my thoughts and emotions, and I am less likely to be affected by the urgencies of everyone else. I would have established for myself a solid stance for the day, and thus for the rest of the week.
One thing I learned (the long hard way) when I started working freelance is that the world will not fall apart if I take my time to do things with more care. It sounds easy, obvious, and sensible but I came from a lifestyle and mindset that valued now, now, now no matter what. But these days I will not compromise the quality of my work nor the quality of my life on any project that will not respect the time needed to do things with care (or respect the time I need to take care of myself while I do the work). So far, I still have clients who are willing to work with my terms so I must not be wholly unreasonable.
There are regressions and failures from time to time, when old work habits take over and wreak havoc. The recovery time I need afterwards is too high a price to pay. But I have been getting better at managing my time between creative work and day-job work but it has been a very, very long process. Unlearning and learning. Trials and tests. Experiments. Occasional trips back to square one. This last quarter of the year is one big test as I juggle two day-job projects before the year ends, simultaneous with creative commitments : October Creativity Bootcamp, NaNoWriMo, the Watercolour Art Fair, commission works, and keeping the website alive and active. If I succeed without descending into the usual depths of hell then I may have finally cracked my formula for 2016.
Wish me luck.