You’ve seen them, the “I’m traveling the world with my iPad” posts, usually sponsored ads on Facebook. They generally feature some unattached (or hotly-coupled) young peeps in their twenties or thirties (the new twenties) and you think to yourself, yeah okay. My guess is that in an alternate universe you live in a 250 square foot tiny home and that also works for you.
For a moment I got swept up in the fervor. I probably opted-in to someone’s mailing list for a second, and I did run out and get myself a Chromebook (because honestly – the places I like to travel, I’d rather someone stole my Chromebook), envisioning that eventually I, too, would be traveling with my wife somewhere even more awesome than where we already live, and in the mornings my wife would go for a run and grab something fun for breakfast and my daughter would have some super cool local nanny person a few hours every day so I could work my entrepreneurial magic via Chromebook and she could learn Spanish (or Portuguese or French or Croatian or Samoan or…) by immersion.
There you are in your pajamas and a half-full, now-cold cup of coffee that got interrupted because you needed to clean a bowl of cereal up off the carpet. Your daughter dropped this on the way back from the kitchen after adding honey to it. In the process you noticed a backpack sitting there that got taken on a hike a week ago, and you’re now suddenly seeing where all the fruit flies are coming from.
In the backpack are three bananas that, well, if you can sneak them into a smoothie when no one’s looking, might still be useful – at least parts of them, anyway. The sandwich, however… The sandwich was avocado, sprouts and cheese, you think. And that’s not a napkin peeking from between the bread slices: it’s white fuzzy mold that has taken on the shape of the sandwich wrapper.
Also, you’ve stepped on a lego already on your way to the bathroom, where upon arrival you see Aunt Flow has joined you. Almost instantaneously, you have some cramps, and because you’re a freelancer and an entrepreneur, you work 60+ hours a week, doing this on the assumption that you can “define your own time” (and yes, you’ve done a course on how to effectively get it all done in four hours a day, three days a week – but that course coach did not have children, and also has a personal assistant that does everything except wipe her butt and talk on the videos, so you’re just happy it was free and you could unsubscribe from the barrage of marketing emails after it was all over, realizing that clearly this woman was unhinged and had no concept of reality).
Defining your own time means you’ve decided that today, this lovely Tuesday, is going to be yours to suffer through without the accompaniment of your computer. You’re going to just notify your clients that you’re taking the “free” in “freelancer” seriously today and somehow you’re going to combine mothering a six year old with some arcane idea that you’re in a red tent, and you’re going to ignore the fact that you also have heaps of laundry and dishes to do and the kitchen floor looks like the floor of your car (your driveway is a quarter mile of gravel, and you have two big dogs and the aforementioned six year old, and you spend lots of time outdoors).
Your kid, who you asked to pick up the legos, is now sitting amidst them, perfectly engrossed. Suddenly all is quiet for a moment.
“I’ll just do a little bit of work here for a minute,” you think. “And maybe blog…”
Also: I did a little research for this blog. It is possible to get half the stuff done in twice the time, as it turns out.
Productivity hacks from American Express’s small business hub
The concept of SCRUM
10 Secrets of an Unflappable Working Mother via Real Simple magazine
The ultimate overachiever and representative of clearly unattainable goals: Soulemama