Finding the energy for ‘people time’
I’ve been feeling a bit flat and lacking in motivation recently. I think that’s been partly to do with the projects I’ve been working on lacking collaboration. I’ve been working in person with one other designer from time to time and dragging myself to the local co-working cafe now and again but I’ve been struggling to form good habits around getting the ‘people time’ I know I need.
I’ve also been struggling to find the energy to do anything about it. A few people reached out to me to offer their support recently and I started a WhatsApp group but then the thought of initiating a Doodle Poll was more than I could muster.
Drawing on existing communities I’m a part of felt like an option but to be honest they all seem like huge groups of people, most of whom I don’t know. And the thought of reaching out to strangers was again, more than I could find the energy for. For interested purposes here are the communities I’m currently part of and how I use them:
- Agencies for Good: Good for picking up briefs or collaborating with agencies, quite digitally focused)
- T4G Mavens and Mavericks run by Nissa Ramsay: Good for general freelancer questions or picking up opportunities
- Leapers: Too big, I’m too scared of this one and may leave
- UpFront Global: Good for more personal/emotional things and getting a boost when you need it. FYI this is the only one on the list I pay for.
- Freelancers get shit done run by Iona Lawrence: Good for general freelancer questions or picking up opportunities, similar to Mavens and Mavericks
So last week I spent a week at my Mum’s in Sheffield. I was there when the heat apocalypse took hold. On Monday morning I would normally go swimming to kick my week off with something that gives me energy. But the thought of navigating a leisure centre I last entered when I was about 15 years old felt like a daunting proposition for some reason.
I knew it was due to reach 35 degrees by midday and that the early hours of the morning would be the best part of the day. So I drove out into the Peak District to a place called ‘Surprise View’ and I took myself off for a mini morning hike.
While I was walking I gave myself a talking to. It was time to lift myself out of my wallowing and do something to help myself. So I sat down and made a list of things that would help me feel better. Some of these things were about things going on in my personal life, some were about making time for things I needed to make time for. But there were two that were about ‘people time’ through work:
- Start a freelancers meetup via Twitter
- Find a place to work
It suddenly occurred to me that I was already part of a community that I engaged with most days — Twitter. I knew a fair few people had recently gone freelance themselves so why not initiate something that way. It worked. Almost 30 people put their hands up. I have no idea if it will work, what it will become or how it might evolve over time but it felt good to find the energy to start something that people were clearly looking for.
In terms of finding a place to work I was offered lots of helpful suggestions of affordable co-working spaces in London. There is quite a thread on LinkedIn if you’re interested. And I’ll likely go back to this list. But a friend also suggested I put a shout out to see if anyone had spare desk space that was being under utilised. Turns out someone did. An agency I’ve been recently collaborating with on bids reached out to offer me a 3 month trial of ‘renting’ a desk in their office in return for a bit of team coaching and free contribution to bids. I was really touched by this offer and I’m looking forward to trying this setup out from September onwards.
I’m starting a new cycle of projects again this week, most of which are direct clients through Joy. I know I’m really going to need my support networks through this period so it feels good to have taken some positive steps to help myself this last week.
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