Structure, flexibility, change

My part-time gig with the law firm is wonderful. I feel as if my skills, experience, and personality traits are well-matched with the firm’s owners and staff and have been told directly and in reviews that they feel the same way toward me. If there is an issue, it is simply that they would could envision me as a full-time staffer. With my own little side business, balancing the needs of a fairly demanding part-time job versus the commitments I have to my self-employment clients is at times a juggling act. A good juggling act to have, but it makes me recognize the need to define and identify some objectives with regard to the remaining years of my career.

Ideally, I would like to work at least another 12 years, until full retirement age with regard to social security. While finances and retirement planning are always a consideration when talking about work, I do happen to really love what I do to make a living. Improvement for me will come with a more balanced approach toward it, like perhaps taking more regular vacations or breaking away more routinely to pursue other interests. The past year has been all about lifestyle changes – my better health quest and its strong commitment to consistent exercise and healthier food choices – with little room for things like going somewhere fun on vacation. For M and I, vacation means eating different food and trying new restaurants, and for both of us as well that tends to derail our efforts with regard to new habits. Add to that both kids getting married in the same year, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster of emotions and stuff going on in our lives. But we knew that going into this year. We planned accordingly and do not feel as if we are being deprived of anything. I suppose we are bigger-picture thinkers; this is one year out of the (hopefully) many we have left ahead of us.

Between now and the end of those 12 years, though, a lot can and will happen.

The law firm and I have been talking, talking, talking about my future and my role within the firm. To a greater degree than I have imagined, they are understanding and supportive of my other interests. More likely, though, is they are very smart guys who know that pressing their own agenda would likely have them in the market for another business manager. For my part, I like them and more than 95% of the rest of the staff, the work I do here and the clients we serve. I have no desire to sever ties or to make unreasonable demands upon them.

But there is change in the wind.

My new receptionist is doing very well, but she has a young child who is starting kindergarten this year. Because of her desire to start and end her day a little later, I may have to adjust my days to be a little earlier. The 4 days I am actually scheduled to be in the office I am typically there between 9 and 11 a.m. and stay until at least 5 or 6 or 7 in the evenings. Depends a lot on the workload. I am considering a change in schedule so Thursday becomes my work from home day and I get to the office by 8 a.m. Except on Mondays, training days, at which time I will retain my later arrival status. I could still make it to work by 8 on training days, but I like to have the flexibility for later training appointments or to simply dawdle afterwards if I want.

To their credit, the only expressed desire for change in my schedule is to switch to another day for working from home. Almost by default there are standard meetings that typically happen on Tuesdays, and I like to be present as much as they would prefer me to be present. The rest of it is partly just me thinking long-term, bigger picture with the growth of our firm, and I recognize that sometime in the next few months I will be hiring at least another part-time administrative person.

Between the office relocation logistics and planning and just my own lifestyle objectives, I may have to start my workday earlier anyway. I don’t think I have an issue about getting to and leaving the gym earlier than I do right now – going from 5:15-ish to 7 exit to 4:45-ish to 6:30 exit schedule. If I subtract my pre- and post-gym dawdle time I should be fine.

I briefly – very briefly – entertained the idea of going to work on office days even earlier and switching to mid-afternoons for exercise. But I can’t. I just can’t. I have evolved into an early morning exerciser and to change that habit now holds zero appeal or any real benefit for me. While getting up in the middle of the night (which is what my present 3:45 seems like to me, and the 3:30 a.m. a few days every week seems even worse) is not fun, it is my best option to making myself include exercise in my days. The idea of a power nap after leaving the office holds a lot more appeal than going to work earlier and then the gym immediately afterwards.

Leaving the office at 2 or 3 daily would be swell, too, giving M and I more opportunities for productive time together during the week than we presently have. Plus I could perhaps squeeze in a yoga class during the week. Presently I think about it every Tuesday, but it has not worked out that well with office and work-related commitments. And dawdle time; there is a lot of dawdle time in my days.

Balance, I am always chasing that elusive work-life balance. Now that I am 99% sure that I can and will drag my sorry butt out of bed and to the gym each morning, I can make some additional tweaks to make me even more successful at it. When I think about it, the even earlier schedule is only 3 days per week; training days at 6 a.m Mondays and 7 a.m. Thursdays, so I still get to sleep a little longer those nights. Weekends the gym does not even open until 7, so I have the luxury of even longer sleep then as well.

I am a creature of habit; I like to plan my weeks and have a good idea of what I can and will accomplish. These changes I’m contemplating will not go into effective until after our vacation week next month and possibly pushed back to October 1. But I am pretty flexible and accommodating about changing up my schedule, as long as I understand the reasons why and they mostly make sense to me. And in this case it does.

I’ll just be a little more bleary-eyed and doing less dawdling when I have to get serious about full, official implementation of this change. I have a plan for that.

 

2 thoughts on “Structure, flexibility, change

  1. Don’t switch the exercising! Occasionally during the week I do a morning session (I am an afternoon exerciser on weekdays) and it just messes up my whole day. I’m with you – I prefer to plan more of my schedule out – somehow I have ended up with a job that is nothing but random! 🙂

    • Yep, I feel the same way. I am in this pattern now, my exercise groove is first thing in the day. If I have to get up at 3:30 to get it done AND get to the office at the earlier hour, so be it. Afternoon naps could become my new thing. But realistically, it’s only 3 days out of 7, less than 50% of the time.

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