When I first began to contemplate leaving the familiarity of a traditional office setting for something less defined, I looked forward to setting my own schedule. I loved the idea of working at the time and place of my choosing and in a way that suited the needs and rhythms of my family. I identified priorities and set limits accordingly: I wouldn't teach in the evenings to ensure I could be home with my daughter for the bedtime routine; I would only teach one class on Sunday afternoons to preserve precious family time; I would protect at least two mornings a week for my own yoga practice.
But little by little, these limits began to soften and stretch... When a client wanted to reschedule, I squeezed them into a free morning. When a new student whose availability didn't match my own came along, I added a second (then a third) Sunday class. When a colleague shared an opportunity to work with a lovely group of yogis whose teacher had recently retired, I happily took it on - during the evening. And I treated every workshop, teacher training, and specialty offering that came my way as an exception - after all, they were only monthly or quarterly events...
Before I knew it, I was teaching seven days a week EVERY week - early mornings, late evenings, and weekends. I was resentful about not spending as much time as I wanted with my daughter and husband. I was physically tired and easily irritated. My personal yoga practice disappeared.
I began to recognize that while I wanted to be responsive to the needs of my clients, I wasn't serving anyone well by doing so at the expense of the very reason I made this transition. I had lost focus on my priorities, and I needed to make some changes. I said goodbye to students with whom I enjoyed working and transitioned classes I had been teaching for years to new teachers. It was difficult, but the end result was a schedule that gives me energy and protects what is truly important.
We can't always control our schedules and commitments, but it is important to remember why we are doing what we are doing. If we aren't intentional about our decisions, it is easy to be swept away by life's rushing currents. If you feel yourself drifting, take a moment to reflect on what is most important to you. Allow your priorities to be your anchor, and enjoy the voyage.