One of the things I’ve struggled most with my position working a part-time retail gig is simply the schedule. One day I’ll work 6:00 AM to 1:30 PM, the next from 3:30 PM to 11:30 PM, the next from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Then I’ll have one day off and then do it all over again, with a completely different schedule than what I had the previous week. It all depends on when they need me and can fit me in the schedule and the overall workload available at the store based on projected traffic/sales.

That means the time I have is constantly in flux. I might have a few hours here, I might have a whole morning there and so on. I have to adjust when I’m getting things done to make the most of the time that’s available because I can’t reliably count on that being a constant. That’s been part fo what’s prompted me to get over my procrastination tendencies and overall made me more productive.

It’s also really screwed up any attempts I might make to enjoy downtime. I rarely, if ever, get more than one day off at a time. When that one day is a weekday I have to be productive. I have to get things done because I have 10-12 hours there that are uninterrupted and in which I can accomplish a lot. If it’s on the weekend, it means I have time to spend with my family and we can watch some shows or movies and relax a little, or I can get some yard work done or something else finished.

That’s in stark contrast to what I was able to plan for when I worked a “regular” job. Sure, I might have to log on to take care of a few tweets here and there or answer an email or two, but the weekend was the weekend. I regularly had two full days where the majority of the time I was not expected to be at work. That was two days to rest the brain and relax to the extent I was able to. Sure, there might be things to do and places to go, but I didn’t have to be in work mode.

The transition to almost always being on call has been difficult. Some of that was expected as I worked  – and continue to work – to establish a freelance portfolio. But the part-time retail thing, where I am constantly pulled away from everything else and disappear for 4-9 hours at a time, unable to do anything else, has been incredibly difficult. I don’t like not being productive and, while I know I’m working, that doesn’t feel the same as being productive. It’s also hard to communicate to freelance clients and editors that sorry, I’ll be unavailable until 2:00 PM tomorrow for reasons.

I know I’m not in the worst situation of anyone and there are plenty who don’t even have the luxury of one day off because they’re working two or three jobs at a time to make ends meet. This isn’t meant to belittle them or put myself in the role of the most put-upon person ever. It’s just yet another situation I’m still adjusting to and haven’t found quite the right working solution to deal with.