My Own Personal Polar Vortex

po·lar
/ˈpōlər/adjective
* directly opposite in character or tendency.

synonyms:
opposite, opposed,  opposing,  oppositional,  diametrically opposed,  extreme, contrary,  contradictory,  antithetical,  antagonistic,  conflicting,  counterbalancing;

vor·tex
/ˈvôrˌteks/noun
a mass of whirling fluid or air, especially a whirlpool or whirlwind.

synonyms:
whirlwind,  whirlpool,  gyre,  maelstrom,  eddy,  swirl,  swirling, countercurrent, counterflow;

By mid-Friday afternoon, my brain is beginning to liquefy. I don’t work a traditional 40-50 hour work week. I don’t work a regular 9-5. I don’t work from a single office. I know that I have to be “on” come Sunday. I know I have client projects and prep work to tackle on weekends. I often work from home. I tend to juggle my family life with client obligations and can be found processing spreadsheets, checking emails, and designing flyers surrounded by piles of laundry, a cup of tea on the table, book close at hand, and the beast snoring away wherever he can find a warm comfy spot. (By the beast, I refer to my dog… not my husband. I can see how that last line confused you. The similarities are astounding.)

The flexibility of this arrangement has its perks. Inclement weather day? No problem! I’ll work from home. School assembly? Let me slip out of the office early and add an extra hour on Wednesday. Oh, you need that flyer tomorrow, but just got me the information I need? I’ll work on it after I make dinner, clean dishes, and tuck the kids into bed. You may just have to wait until I get them on the bus in the morning. 

The downfall of being surrounded by the comforts of home while I’m supposed to be productive with other people’s projects, is, honestly, distractions. I have to work hard to balance family life, homemaking, and self-employment and it’s not always as easy as it sounds, especially as some days I resemble the dog in UP. (Squirrel!)

Balance is my own personal polar vortex. Distraction and non-productivity at one end. Hustle and accomplishment at the other.

Log in to Facebook to schedule a client’s updates for the week. Check.
Get distracted by motivational videos. Uncheck.

Fold the laundry and write up the meal plan. Bookmark recipes for later. Check.  Read one chapter before changing the next load. One chapter turns into 4. Uncheck.

Send out an update to support regarding some current client projects. Check.Research relevant information for said projects to support ideas and development. Get lost in a land of Narnia-like proportions with a ton of other ideas to save and develop for later projects. Uncheck.

Some days I get frustrated with my “bounce” – meaning I feel like I give some time to one thing, dive into another, and never quite settle on anything. Things get done… but it’s not all housework at once, or business at once, or sit and watch a movie without doing something else.

However, I’m learning to give myself grace. I’ve come to realise that just because I don’t follow a linear plan, it doesn’t mean I’m doing things wrong. I rely on checklists and if my to-do lists are being accomplished even if it means a few chapters of reading, followed by a load of laundry, followed by some document review, with some unscheduled brownie making or a lunch date with myself before I pick a new camp curriculum, that’s okay. No one is hungry. No one is waiting for important documentation. No one is losing hours from me (in fact, I’m probably owed some…) No one is hurt by my methods, so why do I allow myself to feel inferior as I juggle as best I can? I need grace.

I give myself grace to: allow myself to research. To pin. To dream. To follow rabbit trails. That’s okay.

I give myself grace to: take moments of rest. To find elements of humour. To be inspired by a blog, or devotional, or Facebook video. That’s okay.

I give myself grace to: fold ten loads of laundry. Forget one in the washer. Rinse. Repeat. That’s okay.

I give myself grace to: sit down for a reading session in the afternoon. Cook dinner. Spend time with my family. Ignore the emails pinging in after 7pm. That’s okay.

I give myself grace to: ignore the laundry basket. Ask the kids to quietly play elsewhere while I work. Leave the dishes in the sink. Develop a new flyer. Strategize a teaching plan. Update a product catalogue or website. That’s okay.

I give myself grace to: recognize that there is always room for improvement, but unreasonable expectations and pressure isn’t for me. Know that I work in my own way and am still productive even if my version of productivity isn’t the same as societal norms. Embrace rest, and boundaries, and balance amidst the hustle to get things done. Recognize that my own personal polar vortex may look like a whirlwind of chaos and a dizzying array of unrelated tasks to the outside world, but it works for me. That’s okay.