My current freelance work schedule is full of win. At least I think so.
One of the reasons I started this blog was to answer common questions that people ask me about my life as a freelancer. From how I manage my freelance clients to how I get work done with a family hanging about, many of the questions I'm asked are posed by multiple people.
Recently, probably due to the the fact that I've been trying out different freelance work schedule arrangements to boost my productivity, I've been asked about what my typical day looks like.
Right now, I'm fairly satisfied with my freelance work schedule, and here's why:
Add Reset Days to the Mix
One of the things I started doing was creating time to work on things that might not be content creation, and to devote time to organizing what's next. I like to call these days reset days. These are days that I do what's absolutely necessary in terms of “real work,” and then spend time taking care of other items. Some of the tasks I might accomplish on a reset day include:
- Tackle the email inbox
- Write ahead for my rant blog
- Reconcile bank statements
- Think of topics for future blog posts (and send them to clients if needed)
- Make interview appointments
- Clean the house
- Spend extra time with my family
These reset days give me a change to re-organize my life and my freelance work schedule. It clears everything up, gets me set, and the next day or two I can spend dedicated to content creation.
I often try to make certain reset days during the beginning of the month or the week, putting in my HARO requests and scheduling out special projects or topics that need to be tackled outside the regular weekly content I provide.
Bunch the Work
Another thing I've started doing is bunching my work. I can write all of the posts for my smaller weekly clients on one day, so that's what I do. I set aside a couple of days each week to work on longer posts and special client projects. I've got one client with three different blogs, and I try to work on his stuff all at once.
I find it works better to bunch the type of work I'm doing. That way, it's easier to get into a “groove” with my work. It also allows me to work ahead when I need to. If I get done with a certain “bunch” of work quickly, and I still have time and feel like working, I go ahead and keep moving forward.
I also find that this bunching effort works well when I have major projects to tackle. I bunch all the easier writing together and knock that out during one day. The next day, I've got a clear block of time, during my peak productivity hours, to tackle the bigger project. I have more time to devote to the bigger, better-paying clients, and that means better pay overall.
Another tactic I've been using is trying to schedule phone calls on the same day of the week. If possible, I try to get everyone lined up for Wednesday or Thursday. That way, I use only one day as an interview day, and my content creation work isn't interrupted by phone calls.
Make Time for Other Things
Since I've identified the morning as the time I work best, one of the things I've done with my freelance work schedule is to just go for it in the morning. That means that I've moved my exercise time to the middle of the day. It's a little weird, and it means I might not get dressed until early afternoon, but it works. Before, when I exercised in the morning, and then got cleaned up and dressed, it would be nearly lunchtime before I finished.
And I don't work well in the afternoon.
Now I work until noon or so, then I exercise. I've started using those health shakes (or sometimes I make my own meal smoothie) for my lunch, so that makes it so I can exercise and “eat” lunch at the same time. If I eat something a little more solid, I usually exercise first.
Twice a week, I go to the pool. After I'm done swimming and drying off and getting ready for the day, I run errands before heading home for my son's after school routine. If I've exercised at home, I can clean up, get ready for the day, and then spend some time answering emails or doing other small tasks (like de-cluttering or paying bills) until my son gets home.
Then I have time to do what I want, whether that's practicing piano or guitar while my son does his homework, relaxing, or trying to cook something new.
If necessary, I can adjust things a bit to do things like have my nails done, drive my son to extracurricular activities, attend PTA board meetings, perform church duties, or even travel. I try to stay flexible, and I try to work when I feel like it so that I maintain that flexibility.
So, right now, I'm happy with my freelance work schedule. I get my stuff done, and I also have time to improve myself and enjoy my life.
What's your freelance work schedule like? What efforts are you making to be productive while still actually living?