Working as a freelancer allows a lot of freedom to create your own schedule. That’s great but there is a danger of letting your work take up all of your time. You can end up doing work every day and at all times of day. How can you ensure you have some time to decompress? Do you need a weekend?
One of my favourite things about freelancing is that I don’t actually need to work a full time job. I can earn enough money to do everything I want without being trapped working 9-5 every day. Often I do work 8, 9, 10 hours in a day but I don’t have to.
I have found though that I work at all hours of the day or 7 days a week without really ever taking a complete day off. I don’t work all the time but I do work every day. I’m not sure yet if this is a good or bad thing. Traditional work culture has trained me to believe in a 5 day work week with 2 days off. I have thrown off most of the traditional mode of work so I’m not sure why I still feel like this.
It is sometimes too easy while freelancing to take a long lunch or watch a YouTube video here and there. This can then mean that you have still have work to do at 7pm without having worked all that hard during the day. You still get all of your work done but it feels like you’re never truly off the clock.
I have been thinking about this recently and I’ve decided to try an experiment. When I was working full time I attended a training course on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I really enjoyed the course and there were lots of useful ideas in it but one that really stuck with me is the idea of Big Rocks. Essentially, plan the big tasks that you have to do and everything else will naturally fit around them. If you let the small things lead the way then you’ll never get around to the big things. This video demonstrates it really well.
Last Friday I spent 10 minutes marking out time in my calendar for the tasks I need to do. I’m going to try to stick to it even when other things come up. Writing this blog is frequently something that I push aside when client work comes up and I end up doing it at the last minute. However, I marked out an hour from 3-4 today to write this post. I was in the middle of some client work when my calendar notified me that the no9to5 blog session was coming up so I finished what I was doing and changed tasks. Now the post is nearly finished and I can go back to what I was doing.
I’m hoping that doing this will result in me finishing the work I need to do in a reasonable time so I can fully switch off until the next day. I will do a follow up in a month to let you know how the experiment goes. How do you manage your time while freelancing? Let me know.