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I was feeling guilty this morning – the kind of guilt that makes you feel anxious and jittery.

You see, I’ve finally decided to arrange my work day in a schedule that works for me and it doesn’t fit into the usual nine to five mould. Instead I start in the early/mid-afternoon and go from there. This leaves my mornings free to do basically whatever the heck I want.

I’ve never been much of a morning person. When working in offices, I would invariably drag myself in closer to 9.30am than 8am. But I would also be the one choosing to work through to 6pm and beyond. My creativity also fires mostly in the evenings and it is usually when I do my best work.

I started my new schedule last week and so far, it has felt great! I’m more productive and more consistently in flow. It’s still early in the experiment but it feels so good, it can’t be wrong.

So why the guilt?

Well, this morning, I had the creeping sensation that I wasn’t doing enough. As I headed out for a walk to enjoy the beautiful sun and blue skies, the voice in my head muttered, “Everyone else is working right now, so why aren’t you? Maybe you’re really just lazy, a slack arse, someone who is hiding behind this new schedule and making excuses to not show up.”

Yeah, negative self-talk with all its subterfuge and nastiness was in full flight. I then embarked on a mental tussle with myself as self-doubt crowded into a very small space with guilt and anxiety. Needless to say, the first half of my walk wasn’t very relaxing.

But, as I sat in a nearby park for a meditative break, I remembered an important point:

I am free to live, work and create in whatever way I desire. Anything else is just a story I’ve been told about how I should be in the world. I can choose my own story.

With this reminder, my jitters disappeared. I will work this afternoon and no doubt, plow through everything I want to do and I will feel good while doing it. This is what works for me best, so I’m doing that because I am free to choose.

And so are you.

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