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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Icy Roundup - Week One Comes to a Close

I thought it would be good to end this first week with a roundup of what my first week as a self-employed person has been like compared to a week of my old life. But before I do, I thought I'd share the most amazing recipe for ice cubes you have ever had. I mean this puts the chicken recipe to shame - it really does. So here goes.

You take regular tap water. You pour it into a clean ice cube tray and, and.....

Just kidding!

I realized yesterday that I started this whole thing on a very serious note, which is not quite what I was going for.

This week has ended with a weekend of non-stamp activity, which is what I was aiming for. One of the dangers about being an entrepreneur, working at home and being excited is that it would be incredibly easy to get sucked in to spending all my time on this business. I am a high-functioning autistic, so for me the danger is all the more real, as I am given to hyper-focusing on stuff that excites me. So I had decided to set very clear and firm boundaries around my work: 9-5 Monday to Friday and no work on weekends, So far, I have managed to stick mostly to it, although I did do some sorting for a couple of hours on Saturday. However, that was because I had a block of time and nothing better to do in that two hours.

I decided to spend Saturday morning tackling the garden, which has become completely overgrown with weeds:

Daunting to say the least!

Bed of weeds!

That's better.:)

Shameless selfie. 

It was a hot weekend in Toronto, but fortunately this is largely a shade garden at this time of day so the work was not too bad. But I think I'll wear gloves next time, as I broke out in a rash that was very itchy. I was clearing these beds so that I can plant a full vegetable and herb garden before the summer and fall ends. Now that I am unemployed, I need to come up with ways to save some dough, and planting my own garden is one of those things. Steph and I had tried this last year, but the only thing that ate the vegetables were the squirrels and raccoons. 

This year, I will be here to tend the garden daily, watering it, now that the landlord was kind enough to install a tap in the back yard and keeping the critters away. It is one of the fringe benefits to not having to leave the house during the day. I figure that I should be able to cut the grocery bill by 25-30%, which will help pay for a vacation next year. 

Then today, Steph's sister, who is a very talented music teacher had her summer recital, so Steph and I met her parents at the Legion hall in the morning to help set up and show our support, as well as serve refreshments afterwards and clean up. It all went very well and now we are back home relaxing after a late lunch. 

So what has been the main difference between this first week and a typical week as a professional? Let me list the differences.

1. I have hardly had to drive anywhere. I usually went through a tank of gas a week getting to and from work. This week, the only times I have had to drive have been to go to the stamp shop in Mississauga to pick up cards for sorting, and to drive Steph in a couple of mornings because I missed our drives in. With all the driving this week, I have barely used 1/2 a tank. Without the supply runs, I doubt I will use more than 1/8 to 1/6 of a tank in a given week now. Also, as a result of not having to put up with rush hour antics, my stress levels have all but disappeared. 

2. I have been able to stick to three workouts at the gym this week, whereas Steph and I generally struggled to go more than once or twice a week. 

3. I have been able to start work at 9:00 am after spending the hour from 8:00-9:00 cleaning one area of the house, preparing posts to this blog and having my first cup of coffee on the porch overlooking the garden in the picture above. So the house has been immaculately clean all week.

4. The laundry has not piled up because I was able to get it done during the week. 

5. I have been able to have a home cooked lunch every day at 12 or 12:30, and have been able to finish work at 4:00pm, which has given me 6.5 hours per day of purely productive time. Nobody coming to my office and asking me to solve their problems or decide what needs to be done, no telephone ringing, no e-mails. In short, no distractions of any kind. Only our wonderful cat Meeko coming to say hi and hang out:

6. Because I have been able to finish work at 4, I have been able to have a full dinner ready by the time Steph gets home at 5:15. We have been done dinner by 5:45, which has left us a full 4 hour evening to enjoy a movie, a walk in the neighbourhood or more than one activity. It has been easy to go to bed on time without feeling like the day was cut short. To accomplish this, I planned a month of menus last Saturday using my trusty Joy of Cooking, which I still think is the best cookbook I have ever owned. It sits on a shelf in my kitchen where I can refer to it each day as a try the new recipes. 

7. As I said earlier, I have been happy and relaxed. Simply having structure to my day, without any of it being rigid, and knowing in advance what I am going to be making for dinner and when has made all the difference in the world in terms of not feeling stressed and like I am spending all my free time running errands. That was very much how I felt before, when I would come home from a day at the office at 6;30 or 7 and then have to decide what to make, and make it, or burden Steph with that responsibility. 

As a result of all the above, my energy levels are up - I can hardly remember any yawning this week. I can tell that this way of living is infinitely healthier: better food, more sleep, more exercise and less stress. 

I hope I can pull off enough sales once things get going that I can continue to live like this. Tomorrow, I will post about quality of life versus quantity of life. 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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