2017 marked seven years since I wrote down my goals in that little yellow book. Looking at it now, what I remember most is the line that said “work from home.” Back then, my main reasoning for wanting to work from home was to spend more time with my daughter. She was having track meets and dance recitals and I really hated having to miss all of those moments because I was working, especially working at a job or jobs I hated.
I also understood what kind of lifestyle I wanted to live. Even back then when I was barely getting a dime for my writing, I knew what was possible. I didn’t know exactly how I would work from home or if that was even feasible, but I wrote it down and set my mind to making it happen.
What I didn’t realize until recently is that even back then, I was fighting for my time. I knew work was important because making money was important, but not at the expense of consistently missing what I saw as valuable time with my then seven year old little girl.
She’s not so little anymore, and I’m no longer working in an office. 2014 marked the first year I officially started earning a living without a daily commute, four years after penning those goals into my notebook.
Most people I come in contact with comment on how wonderful my life seems. I’m happy most of the time, always relaxed, and am flexible to meet pretty much anytime of the day or evening. Life is good, but only because I’ve made it good. Only because I’ve made my time a priority.
Of course I had other goals besides the one I just mentioned. Financial goals, visions of where I wanted to be with my career, personal life stuff, also. And I worked really hard and sacrificed a lot to make those goals come true. But more than anything, more than any other accomplishment, owning how I spend my days is one of my proudest.
I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. I still have deadlines I have to meet. I still have clients who I’m contractually obligated to. I have projects on my plate that need my attention. Anyone who knows me also knows that I can be a bit of a dreamer, and that my ambition and drive to transform those dreams into real life is strong, sometimes overly so.
Despite this, despite my hunger for becoming the absolute best writer I can be, there’s nothing that can surpass my need for freedom. When I say “freedom,” I mean that I get to decide the order of what’s important. If my mom hasn’t seen me in a while and wants me to swing by, then I can decide when I go. If my daughter wants to watch a movie at home at night and I had plans to stay up late to finish some work for a client, turn on Netflix because we’re watching a movie. No doubt about it.
I put in the time back then so I can control my time now, and it’s paid off. My little yellow book is still kicking around somewhere. Its pages are full and all goals checked off. Funny how writing things down make them more real. That’s a conversation for another time, but not to worry, I’ve got plenty of it.
I didn’t realize until writing this post, but I actually work less hours now and make far more money than I did working multiple jobs. Working smart is equally as important as working hard.
Originally published at medium.com