It’s Monday, which means it’s time to talk a little about the freelance life. While I am thrilled with it, the goal is to share the journey and there are some pitfalls – take this as advice. That’s all it is.
October was a good month – I made the most money of any other month, picked up a new client that I’m really enjoying, continued growing my relationships with my current clients, learned some awesome new skills and developed some systems that are helping me manage every aspect of my business. I also continued to learn that there are some pitfalls of freelancing. Here are some things I’ve learned and will share to help others avoid the same mistakes (or at least feel less foolish when they happen).
- Leave The House: Leave the house. You will be far more productive if you leave the house. October was successful but it was also busy. REALLY busy. And at some point I realized that I was wearing the same outfit for three days (took it off to sleep, got up, showered, put it back on). And I also noticed that that outfit was yoga pants and a long sleeve tee. And then I realized that I hadn’t left the house in three days. I was working pretty much around the clock for those three days and I was turning into a serious grump. On day four I went for a quick geocaching with a friend and poof – I was out of my slump of grump, more effective, and able to focus better. Stagnancy happens when nothing changes. And it happens even when you’re working up a storm for a variety of clients. Schedule time every day to leave the house. Even if it’s just to walk the dog or run to the post office.
- Get dressed: Related to the point above, get dressed for work each day. This can be super casual but the rule I follow (except for that one little slump) is that it can’t be something I would sleep in. So jeans, shorts, a dress… but not anything that could double as pajamas. Included in getting dressed? Doing hair and makeup. Now, most days the only people who see me are the FedEx guy (who officially thinks I’m a drunk and has no problem telling me this… I miss the old FedEx guy and cannot wait for his return), my mailman and the neighbors but I feel better, and am more productive, when I dress for a purpose.
- Have a designated work space: For a while I put off setting up my writing room and instead wrote on my couch all day while watching law and order in the background. While this is okay, when I finally set up my writing room and started writing in there my productivity grew by leaps and bounds. My couch is the place where I hang out at night with Kris or with friends, it’s where I talk on the phone or read a novel. It’s where I take a nap on the weekends. I honestly think it makes me sleepy to sit on my couch. My desk, however, is where I get shit done.
- Schedule Chores: You work on your own schedule and from your house. Sure, you have deadlines and some days you don’t get to anything except the writing, but the other days have time in them when you can buy yourself time. I try to get a load of laundry done during the day, even if it doesn’t get put away. I also get dinner put together (praise the almighty slow cooker) and handle any dishes that need handling. While I make my coffee I stand over the recycling bin and go through the mail, etc. I have a set part of the house I handle each day – Tuesday is kitchen/dining, Wednesday is bathrooms, Monday is bedrooms… this way I only have to do a little, usually when I need a little break. I could be better about it but I’m a work in progress.
This week is going to be another busy one… besides my typical workload it’s NaNo. Then there’s all the appointments that seem to have popped up – hair, doctor, car. And we’re going to Chicago. My goals for this week are to pack before Friday, get my car done before Wednesday, and get to the post office TODAY. What are your big goals, besides your writing, for the week?