Curious about the life of a freelancer? Or about what working from home does to your sanity and/or productivity? Here’s a day in the life of Greesonbach Creative.
Productive Mornings Put Me On the Right Foot
I wake up when JHubbs leaves for work around 6:30am (usually… if I’m feeling tired, I sleep in until 7 or 8am). I check email on the iPad to get a sense of the day, and then run through my personal social networks. I make the bed, open the curtains, and thank God for giving me this opportunity to do what I love for a living.
On my best day, I do some simple yoga stretches to release my back and focus for the day, make a hot drink (tea or, more likely, decaf coffee with coconut milk, honey, and cinnamon). On my worst…. I make a decaf coffee and slouch into my office chair. Then I dive into proposals, organizing, invoicing, and writing!
(Yes this is an upgrade from the 45min-1.5hr commute in traffic I did for two years…)
Mornings are a very creative time for me, so I try to spend them brainstorming and organizing the writing projects due that week. I have a great working streak until around 11am, when I get hungry and need a break.
Home-Focused Afternoons Give Me a Break
After my lunch break (with some Netflix and homemade food, of course), I’m usually a little zoned out. Between noon and 2pm I’m usually doing chores, preparing food, and prepping veggies and meat for the week (chopping, storing, freezing). Since I’ve always been in charge of food in our family, we’ve never eaten better or more consistently than my time freelancing!
I also nerd out and sit and think for a few minutes at at time… a luxury I’ve never had before that is really paying off! This is where I informally brainstorm ideas for clients and for awesome infographics of my own. I keep notes as I go, dictate into Dragon App, or just try to remember.
Many of the ideas need time over a few weeks to really come to life, and I’m learning to be patient with myself in that regards and just let them simmer half out of mind until they’re ready to come out.
Evening Productivity Soars
When JHubbs gets home around 3:30pm, that starts my “evening”. I make us both a snack and then get back to work while he watches TV, writes, or plays music. When he returns from his workout around 7pm, I shut down for the day and join him.
I do suspect that this is throwing off my sleep patterns, as I find it hard to fall asleep around 9 when I used to go to sleep very easily. If it doesn’t get better in a few weeks, I’ll re-evaluate my evening shift by either working more in the afternoons or taking Saturday as a work day. Because what’s the point of your dream job if it disturbs your quality of life?
If I were to calculate the working hours per day, it’s around 7-10 hours per day, about the same as working in an office and/or commuting to an office and working in it.
Much like my days have a natural flow, I’ve found my week has a natural flow as well. While I read and comment on blogs and network via social media every day, I also have a distinct weekday pattern that is working for me.
Monday and Tuesday tend to be very planning-heavy. I send out tons of email proposals and queries for writing and social media services (mainly because that’s when the sites I troll release updates). I also organize what’s due all week, the next week, and the rest of the month to keep it in mind.
Wednesday through Friday is about coordinating those responses, fulfilling my current orders, and brainstorming for the future. I definitely run out of gas by Friday and it tends to be a half-day with lots of Netflix, though I’m always monitoring email.
Concerns and Stresses
All freelancers and self-employed people worry about money, so I take that as a given and try not to fight it. However, I also have the ability to outsource my stress.
As a teacher, I learned to literally shut off my sense of stress until a time I could deal with it (AKA walking into a room full of 14 yr olds who hate English, I waited to cry until before and after school… most days at least ;-).
So, I take time each week to review my invoicing, our family budget, and my outbound. During that time, I’m allowed to worry, be stressed, or be scared. Outside of that time, I put my head down and put all I can into the work I do. I want my work to speak for itself and not be affected my the stresses of running a business.
Like all small business owners, I’m concerned about generating enough income from month to month. I’m concerned about maintaining a bottom line hourly rate so that I can stay in business, despite many people who seem to think online content is only worth $2 or $4 an article (yes, that’s a quote I received… and politely declined).
But once again, I believe if you work hard and make a plan that covers all of your bases, you’re going to succeed. Because when you have the skills and you have the opportunity, there’s really no choice but to try it with everything you’ve got.