I’m rarely too busy with work these days, but I may still say “no” to the relentless opportunities for articles, projects, interviews, photoshoots, new products and meetings. Why? because I’m too busy just being.
I’ve worked very hard all my life. In our family restaurant at 14, a kissogram at 18 to pay for my art education, I’ve even dressed up as Roland Rat for money. I’ve done it all. Mostly, but not that, though I would if I needed the money.
I always said I would retire at 40. And I don’t mean retire to potter around the garden and join a WI group, I mean retire from the workaholic state I’ve put myself in time and again over the years. Take it easy, relax, take time to smell the roses.
I never have set working times, that kills creativity dead. Sometimes I’m on fire and work all day, with so much love and passion pouring from my fingertips. Sometimes I only answer a few emails before flouncing about in my house or seeing friends or playing with Evie. Sometimes I work at 2am and into the night, sometimes I work after waking up at 7am. I usually work in bed on my Macboy. I never work when I don’t want to, and I never do what I don’t want to do. Ever. How could I? I am an ecstatic being who is having a beautiful physical experience in this playground called earth. There’s too much love to be had to be all cerebral and believing I am my thoughts. Believe me, left-brained intelligence is way over-rated and is not the route to joy.
I love work, that isn’t the issue, it’s just I wanted more *ME* time. I’ve single-handedly raised my daughter and worked when she was asleep (which was sometimes rare!). I’m still mourning the loss of my lover. I am refurbing my whole house. I am ready for a break, and the only thing that can give, without it being me, is my work. And when your work and life is as intertwined as mine (the edges are so blurred I have to squint to see them), it’s just too easy to put in a 200 hour work week without batting an eyelid. Actually, you can’t bat an eyelid because you have them taped open and propped up with matchsticks.
When you have unlimited creative juices, when you want to serve, when you are passionate about everything you do, it’s a bit of a challenge to not do it. So why do I want to not do it and limit my work hours? Oh yes, because I want to be. For a moment, I was so fired up about my many fingers in pies, I forgot.
So about 18 months ago, I started this practise, getting ready for the year of my big four zero and the “retirement” I’d promised myself. And most days, I only did a couple of hours work. It normally totted up to about ten hours a week, unless I had a deadline (usually self-imposed), and then I’d take some days off to overcompensate. I’m now getting to the point of no deadlines. I have two more, then that’s it, for good. Even release dates will be governed not by demand, but by me. ME. ME!
How do you work just ten hours a week and afford to live? Well, first you need to ask yourself: “Do I want to work more than ten hours a week?” because if you didn’t invent the 40+ hour work week, why should you do it? This is the age of no rules and no convention and you are the master or mistress of your own destiny, so HOW MANY HOURS DO YOU WANT TO WORK?
I am very good at right-brained sums that will make no sense and will probably even be mocked by academics, but clearly the sums work because the results speak for themselves. In a forthcoming project, I’m going to give you my sum that I’ve used for the past decade that made it possible for me to only work ten hours a week and earn more money than ever before. And this isn’t marketing speak, this is Shazzie Speak: from the heart, with love and with complete compassion and respect for you and your precious once in a lifetime life.
But you have to be ready for it and you have to do your ecstatic homework, because otherwise you’ll find those spare hours every week too hard to handle… all your issues will come up too quickly and you’ll do something not very light to hide them. You will be like a lottery winner, and if you can’t handle Paradise Syndrome, keep working hard. BE READY for your ten hour week before you even attempt it.
And why not the 4 hour week, like that famous book? Because I am a highly creative lady who loves to do stuff, but just bits and just enough and just when I want. I still get stuck in on my web sites, though I have two designers. I still write though I employ a full time writer. You can take the artist away from the painting but you can’t take the painting away from the artist. It’s in my blood, and it’s what I love, so I do it, but I do it UNDER MY TERMS, no-one else’s. Authenticity, self love and a deep satisfaction for the love of creation is what drives me. I reserve the other four out of ten hours for emails and meetings, just as the great book suggests!
In the great expanse of time, life is fleeting. Think about how you want to spend yours: nose to the grindstone or nose to the roses? It’s all a choice, and neither is wrong.