Career decisions

By Katharine Swan On Saturday, November 24, 2018 At 1:00 PM

I have a problem, and I don't know how to solve it.  Or rather, I do know how to solve it, but I don't know if the solution is feasible for me.

Lately I've been feeling pretty overworked and stressed.  Between freelancing, babysitting, nannying, barn chores, administrating a busy Facebook group, and my other hobbies, I'm busy all the time.  It's rare I have time that's not scheduled at least once over.  So my secret wish coming up to Thanksgiving was to turn down all the invitations, stay home, and spend the day sleeping and reading.  It's just been so long since I've had a real day off, especially a day to read.

Of course, I didn't get that.  I had so many invitations and felt obligated to pick one of them.  And the rest of my day filled up too, predictably.  I don't regret it, as part of my plans answered the birthday wish of a friend's little girl who wanted to ride my horses and the other part meant I got to spend some time with family, but it still means, as usual, very little time to myself.

The solution is, obviously, to schedule less for myself, but I don't know if I can.  Alternatively, I could try to manage my time better, but I'm already cramming everything in so tight, I'm not sure how much more efficient I can get.

To begin with, I have a lot of different jobs.  I have a family I nanny for three days a week, several families I babysit for when they need me and my schedule allows, and barn chores every weekday.  Around that busy schedule, I cram in freelancing, blogging, administrating the insulin pump group I helped start summer 2017, and on occasion selling stuff online and locally.  Whatever time is left goes to hobbies such as riding, collecting and rehabbing dolls, and reading.

It's a pretty full schedule, and I'm drifting further from my goal of freelancing full time.  I have mixed feelings about it.  I'm getting tired of nannying and babysitting, honestly -- I feel like I've raised too many kids.  Those of you with kids, imagine if every time you raised a kid to the point where they were self-sufficient, you had to start over again!  I used to love playing with kids, but it's starting to lose its appeal, and I'm thoroughly disillusioned with dealing with their parents.

I'd like to focus more on freelancing, but of course I have to be able to pay the bills.  I freelanced only part time for several years, and haven't actively marketed for years, so I've been slowly building my client base back up -- but I am not sure I am where I'd need to be to freelance full time again.  Sometimes you have to do what pays the bills.

I also have a hard time disappointing people, so I feel a lot of guilt when I think about cutting back on babysitting.  I have a lot of families that depend on me and that's hard to shake off, even when I try to think about it as setting boundaries and taking care of myself.

I don't typically make New Year's resolutions anymore, as I've found they're pretty ineffective for me, but I think an overall goal -- something I need to think about over the next month and into the new year -- is whether my current schedule reflects where I want to be going with my career and my life in general... and how to bring it more in line with my goals.

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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