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What “working smarter” means to me

Posted by Deidre Rienzo on

Sometimes I wish I never worked in a conventional job in Corporate America. Then I wouldn’t have all these comparisons and pre-conceived ideas in my head that I’m always battling with. So I’ve decided that for 2018, I’m going to try to throw some of them away—for good. For example:

The idea that I should work a 40-hour week to have a “real” business, or make the most money possible, or be a responsible human, or fit into society’s conventions.

This mini-internal-revolution started when a colleague forwarded me this message from Alexandra Franzen about a busy woman who was taking a month off. The point is that nobody is going to give you time. You have to give it to yourself. It got me thinking about how I’m spending my time, and how (very fortunately) I have a lot of choice in the matter…but instead of choosing my schedule, I’ve been letting it choose me more than I’d like.

So I decided—just for fun—that I’d draw out my ideal schedule. I silenced the “working more is better” voice in my head and really went for it…and what I came up with was a schedule that allowed me ample time at the gym and dog park—while providing a little less time for work than my corporately-imprinted-brain deemed “acceptable.”

I just kept looking at the schedule thinking: This is my business. I can do whatever the heck I want. But also thinking: I’m too embarrassed to tell anyone about this.

I guess I feel a little guilty. I’m so blissfully grateful that I’m able to do this work. I love it so much. I know I’ve worked hard, but I also think there’s been some divine intervention (like when I met Ilise for coffee all those years ago). How am I so lucky that I get to create my own schedule? How am I so lucky that I get to go to the dog park in the afternoons while everyone else is commuting or working two jobs?

Pushing this guilt aside for a moment (which I realize is a totally useless emotion)…

I know how to work smarter…and that doesn’t mean working more hours. It means capitalizing on my best hours. Between 7 AM and Noon, I get a full day’s work done—and then some! I probably could work 4-5 hours a day if I scheduled things better. Most of the time when I’m working at 2 PM, I’m not accomplishing anything anyway. My brain is slower than molasses. At 4 PM, forget it. It’s just fuzz and random song lyrics up there.

For 2018, which will be my twelfth year in business, I’m going to embrace my internal clock, my strengths and my preferences—to have a financially strong year that is super-efficient, and anything but conventional. 

How am I going to do this? I’m not quite sure yet. But I’ll let you know as I figure it out.

And if you have an unconventional schedule or some tips to share, I’d love to hear about it. Send me an email.

Hi, I’m Deidre. In my posts, I talk about my voyage down the road of self-employment as a web copywriter, my achievements and roadblocks along the way, and what I’m learning as I go (with Marketing Mentor as my guide). To keep in touch, sign up for my un-newsletter here and get my freebie download, 12 Sparks to Write Sizzling, Audience-Attracting Website Words.


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