How do you say No — to yourself?


I am working as a freelance paralegal.  I report to an actual brick and morter (well, I’m actually not sure what it is made out of, but we will use it for this example) office three days per week.  Rest of the time I work from home or the school library (but with the swine flu I have been avoiding the library like the plague).

The hardest part, for me, of being a freelancer is saying No to myself.

There are so many things to do. Twitter, linkedin, facebook, update lead sheets, general contracts, work for my various clients, figure out how to create a website, my blog, my fiction and my poetry.  I am sitting here, at 10:15pm and I haven’t even opened my books for school yet.  I have been working all day.  I went to the office and worked.  Then my father and I went over some aspects of my business that needed tending to.  Then I bought an alarm clock (mine died this morning), had dinner, did some research for a blog post.  And now, here it is after 10pm. I haven’t even looked at my LSAT prep books in 2 months and I take the test in September.  That seems like a lot of time, but trust me….it’s not.  Everything is riding on that score.

I don’t have a scheduling issue.  I am great at creating schedules and assigning time slots to everything.  I am incredibly organized.  I live for the Franklin Covey store. I am just terrible at telling myself to shut things down, turn things off and focus.  I try to jusify it as networking or whatever.  Really, I just can’t say No to myself.

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “How do you say No — to yourself?

  1. Psh – I NEVER have to deal with this issue. Riiight.

    I am right there with you. There’s so many distractions – how do you stay focused? I haven’t figured this one out yet. When you find something that works for you, will you please let me know?

    😉

    • legaldunki

      I was doing ok until I got the Blackberry. Then all hell broke lose. Maybe someone else has a suggestion. Move to a monastery?

  2. Kris — I think a lot of this is about balancing priorities and kind of forcing yourself to stay on track. Easier said than done, I know. I think so many of us have this very same problem.

    Sometimes you want to carry everything on your plate, but then you realize that it piles up too high and it threatens to topple over. I think everything is about balance, about priorities — figure out what you like, figure out what’s important to you at this moment, and work on that. Then as one thing gets accomplished (LSATs, building and promoting your freelance work), turn to something else.

    It’s hard to say no to yourself, I agree. And we want to conquer the world, we want to take it all on, but there’s only so much we can do. Maybe by figuring out our balance, we’re not really saying “no…” Maybe we’re just saying “later.”

    Best of luck!

    • legaldunki

      You are right. You are sooo right. I want everything and I want everything now. I think that I can take on the world and when I get overwhelmed I crash. I hate having to chose one thing over another, but I guess that is a part of life.

  3. I know a certain Legalista who needs a vacation on a beach far away from electrical outlets and wireless Internet. You need to breathe, dear! You’re too young to be pushing yourself too hard.

    • legaldunki

      Oh poo! I can relax when I am dead! Actually, a vacation would be nice. I took my last one for xmas 2005 to visit my bro who lives in Germany. So, yeah I probably am due for one. Howevr, life has so much to offer and I want to learn it all…dance, writing, photography, law. Life is a great thing!

  4. There are SO many distractions these days. Seriously, stop and think about it. How did we survive 10 years ago, when the Internet was so…basic in comparison? How did we survive before the Internet even existed. Think about the world today without the web – we would be lost. Mindless, Twitter-less zombies wandering around wondering what to do with ourselves.

    LOL! In all seriousness, you just HAVE to force yourself to step away. I have to tell myself (over and over) to keep Gmail closed, close out of TweetDeck, turn off the TV, whatever the case may be. It’s tough, but even if you can go two hours without distractions, those two hours will be more productive than 4 or 5 if you are trying to get stuff done between tweeting, blogging, and everything else.

    Block out some time to REALLY crank stuff out. Close out of everything, turn on some music, and write a blog post, from start to finish. Read one chapter of the book that’s been sitting there. Your internet life will still be right there waiting when you come back.

  5. Sam

    Yeah…I know exactly how you feel! As much as I love my blog, Twitter, and all the wonderful Web 2.0 sites out there, it’s so easy to get distracted. I’m not too good at saying no to myself either, but I try. I’ve worked out a system where I tell myself that I can take a break to read blogs or write a post if I do certain productive things first. It’s kind of like rewarding a kid with ice cream, or a dog with treats, but it usually works 🙂 Great post!

  6. Procastination, what a great word, huh? This is something we all have to go through I think. It makes you treasure good discipline.

    Twitter has made it tough for everybody! It’s the king of all time sucking activities, don’t you think?

    • legaldunki

      Yes, Twitter is, but at the same time I have a met great people on there that I think (hopefully) will turn into clients and provide me with business, which would be great. But, as I said above to Jamie, I was doing ok until I got the Blackberry then it all fell apart.

  7. nonpretentious

    We hear you. If you ever want to talk about the law school admissions process, let us know!

    (revisingproust, Fortuna_Köln, emceeemcee, & jdl are all lawyers….)

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