freelancing D I Hughes

The potholes of freelancing

The alarm goes off and you put it on snooze 10 times before watching a little breakfast TV and answering a few emails from the comfort of your bed. This spills into lunchtime and after you’ve watched your second instalment of Jeremy Kyle (a great self-esteem booster) you think you’re ready to log on and churn out some serious work.

You take a shower, slap together some lunch and kick back with your third cup of coffee before powering up the old work box (laptop or desktop, whichever way you’re inclined). You set up your documents, emails and daily to do list and begin your face-off with the glaring screen.

“I’ll just see what’s going on in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram” you say as you convince yourself this will offer the inspiration you need to make your words sing. An hour later you flip back to that blank word document and punch in a few words: title done. You’ve just remembered you have invoices to chase.

After sending a few you owe me emails to your clients, you’re satisfied your money has been sufficiently chased and you can focus on the task at hand. No distractions. Then the postman delivers some junk mail, plus a few bills. You scan the bills without reading them and study the new pizza menu with an eagle eye, “I might give this place a try at the weekend” you think as you stuff the menu in the kitchen drawer, “that’s made me hungry.”

D I Hughes freelancer

You grab a snack and put some music on to get those creative juice flowing; after washing the dishes you turn a bit pale as it’s suddenly dawned on you that it’s nearly 4 pm and you’ve barely done any work. You rush your words like a slurring drunk as you try your very best to churn an article before you go out to meet your mates. Some parts are cohesive but there’s still a lot of editing and research to do. You’ll get it finished tomorrow but you’ll have to push your other projects back a day or two and email your clients something like sorry, there’s been a delay, something’s come up. Not good.

Still, you did something today. Yeah, at least you did something, probably more than some people do. You’re going out for beers with your pals, so you slip on your shoes, cobble together some spare change and head out; you’ll worry about the work in the morning.

As idyllic as freelancing sounds, it can be difficult to stay focused, or motivated, when running your own schedule. It’s easy to put things off or get distracted when working from home, but there are things you can do to make it easier. To help, over the coming months, I’ll be running a mini-series called the potholes of freelancing to offer advice on the day to day running of a one man/woman show. It will cover areas such as:

  •         Setting up a productive home office (big or small)
  •         Organisational tools
  •         Creating a flexible routine you’re likely to stick to
  •         Mixing things up and managing expectations

The first episode is coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, check out 4 brain foods to help boost your creativity.

Images: Beth and Alisha Funkhouser via Flickr

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