It’s been a few weeks since I quit my full-time job and became a full-time (?) freelancer. Currently, I have a contract from a large company that will take me to LA next month to complete.
Working only for yourself (though we obviously have clients) is very different from working for a tangible company and team that requires you to be at your desk from certain time to certain time every day.
While I’m relishing in the freedom that comes with no longer having a manager or set work schedules, it also stresses me out a bit that I’m 100% responsible for everything I do or don’t get done, and I need to be managing myself as a manager.
No more managers to tell me how much I need to work or how I should be scaling back work to rest. I have to manage my own time and resources.
It’s awkwardly scary to not have someone to “give you permission” to do or not do something, because no one’s giving you the go-ahead. You have to trust your own gut.
In the past few weeks, I’ve been noticing a few things about how I work best.
- I can sleep in to whenever I want and it’s ok. Sometimes, I get up at 8am. Other days, I get out of bed at 11am. I let my body tell me what I want.
- I need to get out of the apartment if I want to really be productive when I’m feeling sluggish. Changing the environment I’m in immediately improves my focus and productivity. Otherwise, I might end up just rolling back into bed.
- It’s important to have “go-to” cafes or other work places that are big, have plugs/wifi, and allow me to comfortably stay for hours. Having to find and assess new cafes add unnecessary stress to just trying to get some work done.
- I work a lot better when I “chunk out” my time for specific tasks. For example, I am able to focus a lot better and get a task done when I tell myself, “Ok. I have 45 minutes. I am going to complete THIS TASK during this time,” as opposed to saying, “Ok. I have 5 hours to work this afternoon. I want to get this, this this, and this done.”
- I love making lists and checking them off.
- If I’m just not “feeling it” and can’t get anything done, I should just call it quits and do something else for the rest of the day, and reshuffle my work schedule. When I’m “off,” I’m not going to get anything done. And I need to let myself do this, because there’s no one I can “get permission to slack” from anymore.
- It’s healthy to set up boundaries. Stop checking e-mails all day every day all night. My work days and work hours are set. Follow them!
- But it’s hard to not be feeling like I need to follow up on work week days that I decide not to work, but the rest of the world is working, especially because a lot of my work (and potential work) hinge on networking.
My focus these days is to:
- Remove Decision Fatigue – find go-to cafes, create go-to schedules/patterns in daily life, set out what work or projects I’m working on for the day or week beforehand
- Listen to my body and don’t push myself too much
- Find ways to eat better without having to put too much effort in
- Find ways to follow up and network more efficiently
Also, I’m in the process of trying to set up an LLC, so that’s been pretty stressful! Still debating whether to go with LegalZoom or try to hire an accountant… I’m leaning towards LegalZoom just to get it set up and then maybe an accountant to help me smooth things over and make everything efficient, but I’m not entirely sure yet.
In a few days, I’ll be getting my one and only paycheck for the month, and I’m kind of excited for that first paycheck as a full-time freelancer! 😊