Balancing Time as a Freelancer

Hello Hello F22 Crew!

My claim to fame is forcing tons of work into small periods of time, thus driving myself crazy but thriving off the praise afterwards. It’s unhealthy….and seemingly genetic. Freelancing as a profession, and then adding a 9-5 back on to it, AND THEN adding a new grad program has taught me a lot about breaking bad habits, and how to build better ones that support my insanity, but like in a healthy way.

 

 

Have a Routine

9-5 workers have a routine built in for them. They must punch in and out and certain times, and barring any emergencies work in the middle. I have a 9-5, and even though it’s remote I find this very constricting. But when I wasn’t 9-5ing I made myself set a sort of schedule and stick with it. It allowed my body to keep a sleep schedule, allowed me to visit the gym when it was pretty empty (1-2PM btw!) and let me give clients a pretty spot on estimate on when things would be done for them. Now your routine doesn’t have to abide by the normal working hours, though it does help. My old routine basically worked between 10AM-3AM because I liked doing website edits and night! Do what works for you, but just stick to it.

 

Have an ‘Off Switch’

Now the off switch is metaphorical in this case, please don’t go installing gadgets where they aren’t needed. An ‘off switch’ in this case is a mental indicator that you are done with work and can relax. This will vary from person to person based on your routine (above!) for some people it’s going to the gym, making dinner, or leaving their office space to go chill on the couch. Whatever it is try and keep it around the same time and you will feel your body relax right after you do it!

 

Have a Plan/Calendar

Now….I’m all for doing a SHIT TON of work sometimes, but you need a plan to do it. Say you’re a mom, a student, a business owner, and you like to go to spin class twice a week. You need to schedule all that shit. By writing it all down you can see what you need to do and when. This includes scheduling in self care and relaxation time! Plus, if you have certain hours to get work done and a plan of what needs to be done each day, you can better determine how close you are to your goals. You can add and subtract as needed! Are you ahead of plan? AWESOME take a day and breath so you’re ready for the next lap of work.

 

Prioritize Relationships

I prioritize the gym, seeing my friends, my grandmother and my boyfriend each week. Since my boyfriend works a 9-5 and I am always busy Sunday, that makes our scheduling a little more difficult. But on days I know I’m going to see him or my friends I make sure to work extra hard during the day so I can relax and focus entirely on the people in the evening. I may not get to see them as often as I want, but I’m 100% there and taking in my time with them.

 

Say No

Supposedly this a thing freelancers should do….I have not mastered it yet. All freelancers start with a feast or famine mentality, but slowly that fades as you make more money, get more clients, etc. By saying No you can make room in your life for other things like school and relationships. Think long and hard about projects and what the return is. If it’s a long project but the payout is AMAZING then maybe it’s worth it, but if it’s a short project that isn’t a great payout…maybe pass! Honestly I did this a lot in college. Bigger projects worth more points in some classes took precedence over smaller projects that didn’t change my grade as much. Think of work/school like that and you’ll strike a happy balance!

 

So what would you tell a newbie freelancer about balancing time? I think having a plan is the biggest one, but what do you think?

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