The other day, as I was cooking dinner and listening to Fresh Air, my ears perked up when I heard the speaker, a linguist named Geoff Nunberg, talk about his pick for the word of 2015. I was expecting it to be a word related to iPhones or technology, and was surprised to hear that the word he had chosen was “gig” which he described as “the name for a new economic order.”
I always thought of the word “gig” in terms of musicians playing a show, but I guess now it’s also used to describe freelancing, and it’s the wave of the future. Nunberg says:
The lifetime job is history, we’re told, a victim of technology and the logic of the market. Instead, careers will be a patchwork of temporary projects and assignments, with the help of apps and platforms with perky names like FancyHands, Upwork and TaskRabbit.
He also says:
As the head of a freelancers’ organization puts it, we’re no longer just lawyers, or photographers, or writers. Instead, we’re part-time lawyers-cum-amateur photographers who write on the side.
Like me! I’m a part-time web-devloper-cum-pillow-maker who blogs on the side. I had no idea I was part of this “gig economy.” Cool! I think…
Because while I love my patchwork life, it can be pretty stressful sometimes not to have a steady income with steady benefits, and it’s really hard to keep everything organized. What should I work on today? How do I find time to get my bookkeeping done, my taxes paid, my inventory up-to-date, my kids fed, my house cleaned, my emails answered, my projects done, and find new work and sell pillows and write in my blog?
That is why my word for 2016 is Orgainize! And that is why I’ve spent a lot of January setting the stage to be more organized in 2016.
What have I done? So far, just these three things…
Thing 1: I purged!
I cleaned out my desk, and my files, and my laundry room, my fabric stash, my closet, and my kitchen. I was fast and I was ruthless and I got rid of so much crap. I had actually been holding onto fabric that I had gotten when I worked at a fabric store way back in the 80s. I had two blenders! I had pay-stubs from the 90s. It took quite a bit of time, and I often wondered if this was the best use of my time, but I was kind of on auto-pilot. And then I was done. Sure, I could have kept going and tackled the living room, the shed, the bookshelves, the freezer, the list goes on, but this felt good. And right. Now I had room to organize.
Thing 2: I created my 5 x 5 Plan.
What is a 5 x 5 Plan? I didn’t know until a few weeks ago when I came across Natalie MacNeil’s website She Takes on the World, and her post Create Your 5 x 5 Plan for 2016. In it she suggests that you write down five goals to work towards in 2016, and then write down five milestones for accomplishing these goals, giving each a deadline. I loved the idea, and I appreciated her emphasis on being flexible with your plan. That if an opportunity comes your way, it’s okay to replace a goal with something else you really want to pursue, and that “You can complete a goal simply by crossing it off your list.” She also suggests you create a vision board for each goal, which I haven’t done, although the visions are very clear in my head.
Here’s what my 5 x 5 plan looks like for this year:
Thing 3: I created a time management plan for 2016.
For me, I find that I’m best at getting things done when I write them down and then have them visible, like my sticky boards. So I decided to create a loose schedule for the week, and try as best as possible to stick to it. I know things will fluctuate and I’ll need to make some big adjustments for the summer, but I really want to maximize my time by doing laundry only once a week, planning meals and grocery shopping just once a week, and not procrastinating on bookkeeping and other things. We’ll see how it goes, and again, I’m gong to remain flexible and make adjustments along the way.
Here’s what my time management plan looks like:
One other little thing I did was set a timer on my phone to go off every weekday at 12:30pm, to remind myself to take a short break. To meditate. To stretch and maybe lift some weights or do some sit ups. I spend way too much time in a chair in front of the computer, and so I need to make sure I get away and move my body and still my mind for a little bit.
My contract job at Nordstrom ended recently and even though I have some freelance jobs going on, I’m feeling a little anxious about the amount of time I’m spending on all of this organizing. My hope is that in the future I will be so organized that I won’t need any significant breaks, and that I’ll have enough “padding” in my bank to feel better about doing the un-billable work that needs to get done in between gigs.
Interested in learning more about the gig economy? This is pretty interesting: Freelancing in America: A National Survey of the New Workforce.