Deadlines, Deadlines, Deadlines

After an article on work/life balance last week, this week I find myself up to my eyeballs.

People, remember … work deadlines aren’t the be-all and end-all.

Factor in voluntary work, coursework and saying yes to a lot of things.

Factor in those lovely winter colds.

Factor in all those things that aren’t work but that take time.

This week ran away with me, it happens occasionally.

I am now sitting with my feet up and my favourite Rock Rose Gin (it’s medicinal to fight away the cold, honest).

Tomorrow is another day … and I’m going to be working.

Work Life Balance – or the Puppy Pomodoro Technique

Work Life Balance

A decent work / life balance has been uppermost in my mind recently.

It’s been three weeks since we picked up the puppies, and in those three weeks I’ve finished off a large editing project, taken on and finished a small proofreading job, started a small copy-editing and writing job, accepted two new book copy-edits and given out a few quotes.

It’s all very comfortable and very interesting. I’ve staggered my work to fit my life.

Ok, I’ll never reach the heady heights of the rich and famous, but I know I can comfortably fit work around my life, and not the other way around.

I knew these first couple of months were going to have to be ‘comfortable’ as getting one puppy is hard work, and having two is ever so slightly worse.

So, for a bit of personal interest (hey, I’m not interesting but you may find this enlightening), I’ve approximated my last few, mad, weeks into one generic day.

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6.30 a.m. The puppies wake up and bark to let me know they need a pee. I drag my sorry ass out of bed and go and let them out of their crate. There are two gorgeous faces peering up at me, at least I think they’re gorgeous. I’m really not a morning person, so after 6 hours sleep (if I’m lucky) I can barely focus on their cute corgi faces. Ok, honesty time – after barely 6 hours sleep they’re cute but ever so slightly demonic. Less demonic, though, than two weeks ago when it was a 3 a.m. pee call.

7.00 a.m. I give up on going back to bed, so through blurry morning eyes I pick up my iPad and read up on some coursework (until I can afford to do my creative writing MA I’m carrying on with OU courses – Design Thinking is what I’m studying at the moment).

8.00 a.m. Feed the pups, get washed and dressed before popping them back in their crate and driving my husband to work.

9.00 a.m. Make myself a pot of industrial strength coffee, fire up the laptop and see what my email is looking like (generally about a dozen or so emails from retailers telling me what I absolutely must buy today or else face FOMO and become terminally depressed with the state of my life). Delete those idiot emails about things I can’t afford and don’t want, then look over the remaining interesting ones (if there are any).

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9.30 a.m. Get myself another cup of coffee from the pot and open up my first job of the day. By now the curious corgis are either sleeping after a mad half hour of chasing and trying to eat each other’s faces off, or I’ve managed to distract them with a chew toy or four. Even in the world BC (Before Corgi) I never usually started work until around 10 a.m. (did I mention, I’m not a morning person?).

10.00 a.m. Yaay. The puppies are probably asleep, work starts properly and I seem to be more productive. Possibly because I only have a small work window before the demons are awake again.

12 noon. Lunchtime for the pups. They’re on 4 meals a day at the moment as they’re still little, and they LOVE their food. They jump up and down to get at their bowls: they’ve perfected the ‘sit’ and are learning ‘down’ – but ‘wait’ will have to wait until puppy training as they are too excited.

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12.15 p.m. A quick dive back into work.

1.00 p.m. Lunch. By this stage I’m not bothered about eating, but we mooch around to see what food is in the house. There will probably be a sandwich, or Super Noodles, with not a vegetable in sight (unless you count the vegetables in Branston pickle). There will also be a huge mug of Yorkshire tea … or as I like to call it … tea.

A proper cup of tea

1.30 p.m. Now is the time to try to figure out how to stop teething puppies from barking. We do a little puppy training with treats, let them chase around (preferably without the face eating) and count the days until we can take them out for a proper walk on a pavement and not on our sodden clay garden that’s threatening to turn into a quagmire. There’s usually an accident that needs seeing to – oh, the joys of toilet training when your puppies like to eat their training pads rather than pee on them.

2.00 p.m. Sleepy pups again means getting back to work. I’ll either carry on with what I was doing or switch things up and do something different. If deadlines aren’t too tight I’ll get on with some coursework. More tea is drunk.

If the puppies wake up they become my canine Pomodoro partners. Work comes in 20 minute bursts in-between taking them for a pee, clearing up any accidents and trying to keep them entertained. Their latest love is a Kong filled with a frozen banana, peanut butter and yogurt mixture. The only problem is that I froze the treats in ice cube trays that produce cubes much too large for the Kong opening. The next batch will be made into logs I will meticulously measure (and score!) to ensure I don’t run the risk of slicing my hand open every time I try to cut one in half.

puppy treats

5.00 p.m. Time to feed the corgis again and wind down work.

5.30 p.m. The pups are crated and off I go to pick hubby from work.

As I’m not doing panto this year (oh, my, God, it is so strange not being out at rehearsals all the time) my evenings are fairly mundane.

6.00 p.m. Figure out what to cook everyone for tea, start cooking and probably try to tidy up some of the mess that has accumulated. My house is a total, complete mess and will never get any better until everyone else pitches in or I win the lottery and buy a bigger house. This is my only puppy-free time of the day. While I’m cooking I’ll either read up on coursework or watch Jenna Marbles videos on YouTube.

7.00 p.m. Eat tea and watch some TV. We’ve just finished the Miss Fisher Mysteries on Netflix, so it’s now Scorpion or Zumbo’s Just Desserts. I have Zumbo’s cookbook and have never had the time to set aside a day for making any of his creations, so I like to watch cookery programmes and pretend I’ll someday get the time to devote to exciting cooking.

The rest of the evening is spent on social media or doing various work-related bits and bobs, while trying to figure out, again, how to stop teething puppies from eating each other’s faces off and/or barking all the time.

9.00 p.m. Puppies have their supper and go to sleep. But not for long, soon they’re up and bouncing.

my corgi pups

 

12 midnight. Finally, the puppies are put to bed. I spend half an hour getting them settled then get to bed. If I’m really lucky this might happen half an hour earlier. As they’re little, and I’m a bit of a night owl, I figured it’s probably better than putting them, and me, to bed earlier and having to wake up at 3.00 a.m.

I sleep fitfully for, if I’m lucky, 6 hours before groundhog day starts all over again.

So, despite being on puppy duty all day, I’m still managing to work. The Puppy Pomodoro  is working quite well, and as my deadlines are purposely loose at the moment, if my brain starts to turn to jelly I can down tools for a few hours and leave things a while. Just yesterday I watched La La Land on Netflix and actually enjoyed it (although I did have to get up and down numerous times to see to the demons, so will have to watch it again).

I’m now looking to fill up my calendar for the first quarter of 2018, and like a mad woman have ordered a new suite. I have a feeling the Puppy Pomodoro Technique may then require the addition of bubble-wrapping the wooden sofa legs before play resumes – what on earth were we thinking? Contact me if you need your writing polished, or have a copywriting assignment for the new year.

 

Freelance Life

Life can be manic.

One minute you’re happily tootling along, work’s just fine and all is well.

Then.

One by one.

Things start going a little off track.

You’ve got a break booked. Work slides a little. You realise you’ll have to take your work with you. The house is a mess. The house isn’t as puppyproof as you’d hope it would be. You have no time left!

The joys and wonders of freelance living …

A lazy freelance day

 

a manic freelance day

 

freelancer with bags of money

 

skint freelancer

 

Freelancer at party

 

Freelancer having a night in

 

Happy freelancer at work

 

Freelancer with money

 

Happy freelancer at home

 

It’s all good. I’m a little up-to-my-eyeballs at the minute, but it’s fine. We’re getting puppies! So, if all goes well the work will be done, the house will be puppyproofed and we’ll soon have two new editorial assistants to keep Moss (our 14-year-old collie) on his toes.

And if I go awol for a week or two, you know why.

One thing freelancers are brilliant at …

juggling freelancer