When you’re accountable to yourself for all your time then its proper use becomes crucial. Of course in the spiritual life this is important for anyone in any state in life, but as a freelance worker making proper use of time has a big economic impact and offers lessons that are also applicable to the single life.
My primary work is the running of a sports website. And let’s be frank — there isn’t much going on right now to interest a lot of sports fans, at least nothing that I’m able to stir. The NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup playoffs are behind us. The football season is still too far ahead of us. While I love baseball and a lot of readers do as well, it’s at the point in the season that’s akin to being on a transatlantic cruise where you’re in the middle of the ocean. The excitement of leaving shore has worn off and the far shore of arrival — in this case, the playoffs & World Series — are too far in the distance to have anyone motivated. Add to that its summer and people are on vacations, away from their computers and it amounts to a little bit of a break before things to start to gain steam again in August.
The single life doesn’t have the structured seasons of a sports calendar, but it works on a similar rhythm where some times are fraught with activity to the point you can’t catch your breath and others where you just want some type of action — on CatholicMatch it might be as simple as an emotigram, or even just a lively forum discussion with a group of people.
It’s times like these where we have the opportunity to lay a strong foundation for ourselves, so when activity does pick up again we’re poised to make the most of the opportunities. In business, I’ve taken the time to take steps towards improving my site’s position regarding search engines and to do other behind the scenes research work to have me better prepared for when the seasons change again.
Because the single life doesn’t have the same structured rhythm of a sports calendar, I’m afraid I can’t say I always made the best decisions regarding laying the strong foundation. Impatience got the best of me, and the results were less than ideal. It’s the difference between wanting things to happen fast and wanting things to happen with a strong foundation. I’m working not to repeat the same mistakes in my personal life and am grateful for the learning experience that I can now apply to my professional life.
When you write a sports website and are immersed in the games, it’s natural that sports analogies would be what motivates and inspires you, so I’ll pick a recent example to illustrate the point. It would be easy to look at the Miami Heat’s recent run to the NBA title as an example of a quick fix. After all, it was two years ago they backed up the vault and unloaded the money to sign star forward LeBron James, another top free agent in Chris Bosh and paid a substantial sum to re-sign their own immensely talented guard Dwayne Wade.
But turn the clock back a few years. Miami spent seasons prior to that clearing out their roster, allowing the payroll to drop dramatically, so they’d be flush with cash when these players all hit the open market in the summer of 2010. The team went through some absolutely awful seasons that surely tried the patience of management. But they stuck to the plan and in the end were rewarded as they got a ring.
That’s the focus seasonal businesses like mine must take in down times. It’s a focus that can be immensely helpful in living the single life, based on whatever foundational building you feel called to do. Then when you have your own unique call to step up and give/get the ring (in this case, the engagement ring), everything will be in place for success. To try and short-circuit the process means a long rebuilding process.