As I write this I am sat looking out of my front room window, watching men in hard hats stoically dig up the road by my house. They are laughing with each other, despite the heat of the day and they seem to genuinely be having a good time. There’s a forklift that has been used to demolish buildings, dig through concrete and is now clearing rubble to make way for whatever comes next in the history of this particular stretch of the British Isles.
A mother just steered her kids around one of the many pot-holes that have developed after the year long reconstruction of this area. I could hear their high pitched giggles and it made me smile.
Life is happening all around us, every day. People are born, they grow, they contribute their part to the society they live in and then they pass away; back into the circle of carbon and stars that we are all made of.
So why is it that some of us feel lost?
Why do we feel that disconnect from the world we are inescapably a part of and why are we so out of sync that we feel as if we don’t belong? We are all made of the same component parts after all. We will all end up in the same place. So why can’t we find the contentment of those little children, laughing as they walk, or the builders who are happy that the sun has finally shown it’s face? Why do they get to be happy and we don’t?
As a species we are most certainly communal creatures but within that we all have our roles to play and what fits one may not be correct for another.
I, for example, can very much appreciate the hard work that the builders here have put in all year…but I couldn’t do their job. Not with any success at least. I’m not built for it, I do not possess the right skills and most of all, I could not work to their schedule.
Find your Fit.
I was once described by my Mother as ‘Working at Sophie Speed.’ What she meant by that was that I did things in my own time. I always met important deadlines and I rarely ever forgot a task that had been set for me, but I drove her up the wall in the way that I went about things.
I’m not the type of person that can plod along, 9–5 and be content to do a bit here and a spot there. I don’t plan my projects so that I do a quarter today and another the next, until at last it is done. I work in bursts.
I am a sprinter rather than a marathon runner.
I had the rather great privilege of truly testing this a few years back. I was taken on by a company to man a help line. The help line staff worked in shifts of 4 days on 4 days off. This meant that, whilst my weeks weren’t like other people’s, they did give me the burst of work time and then an equal amount of rest before I started once again.
And I adored it.
I had never known it was possible to find a way of working that suited me so absolutely and it boggled my mind why more companies didn’t do it. I wasn’t bored, I didn’t dread Mondays and most of all, I was energised. I was happy to go to work and happy to come home, knowing that I could plan my life perfectly and have a work/life balance that was just right for me.
My family and friends, of course, thought that I was insane. They couldn’t imagine living so out of sync with everyone else around them, nor could they wrap their heads around my personal schedule; but it didn’t matter. I was happy and that, in turn, made them smile.
I have since left that company and have worked in places that made me equally happy…but I’ve never found something that fit me quite so well with regards to how I live my daily life, as that help line.
It is for this reason that I have decided to take a leap of faith. I want to see if I can re-capture that work ethic and desire that I felt during that 4 on 4 off schedule.
For the next month (yeah, starting mid April is about right for me) I’m going to be commencing my own 4 on 4 off work week. I’m going to divide my days into ‘the writing 4’ and ‘the resting 4’. I’ll be keeping up with my 100 day challenge and my 200 words a day regardless of what 4 it is, as that’s something I do for myself.
The point of this experiment is not to ‘increase my productivity’ as such, it’s to find something that fits with how I am as a person. Finding a schedule that my body and mind both naturally fall into is one of the best ways that I have found to support my own happiness. And that, for me, is worth the chance that I might mess up my work for the next month. I highly doubt that will happen — I suspect that it will most likely have the opposite effect — But we only get one shot at this life. So, fuckit, why not try something just for you for the next 30 days. What’s 30 days out of the entirety of your lifetime? You never know, you might just re-discover that child like giggle within you and be as contented to see the sun shine as the builders outside my window.
Also published on Medium.