Cycles of “feast or famine” (busy-ness or quietude) in the freelance world is not uncommon. Different industries have their busy seasons, and sometimes clients just don’t have anything for you. After a long stretch of relative quiet, it’s gotten quite busy in my life. With the pandemic keeping things slow, being busy again can feel like a welcome burst of activity and excitement. However, you can also end up like the boiling frog…oh, you don’t know that analogy? Allow me to share.
The human resources world is full of interesting books and analogies. This is how you can end up with books titled Who Moved My Cheese? Or you can end up learning about boiling frogs. Allegedly, if you try to put a frog directly into a pot of boiling water, they will jump out right away because it’s too hot. However, if you put a frog into the pot of water at room temperature and slowly raise the temperature, it could boil to death because the change comes up so gradually that it doesn’t realize it’s in danger.
I don’t want to know how someone tested this phenomenon. However, assuming it’s true, this situation is akin to entering a hectic workplace immediately and realizing how unreasonable its demands are versus starting out in a calm workplace and eventually becoming overburdened as your managers or customers add more and more to your workload.
Coming from the pandemic-related slowdown, it was a blessing to finally have more work to do. Customer A suddenly had a backlog of classes to update. Great! Customer B had a proposal or engineering document to edit here and there. Fine. Then I started a class that didn’t have a lot of homework. No problem. I decided to finally break down and buy a home rather than continue to rent. Suddenly my time was starting to get a bit cramped with various kinds of paperwork. Oh! And then my sister and brother-in-law informed me that they were selling their home up north and moving to Florida…which of course meant that my mother would be looking to move down as well. That meant researching independent senior living communities in my area. Plus I have walking to do. And shopping. And this blog to write.
At some point, the temperature on my personal stove is going to become intolerable and something is going to slip. In the case of this blog, I plain forgot to do it in advance and am posting later than usual. However, there might come a day when I run the risk of missing a higher-priority task and create additional stress for myself.
Bottom line: mind your commitments and don’t overload yourself just to have something to do. Down time still has its advantages.