Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Scheduling Difficulties

Making a schedule and actually sticking to it has been a challenge for me as a freelancer even though I have a very strong work ethic. One of the benefits of being self-employed is that you don’t have to stick to a schedule, right? Well, that is true, but for me and many others, if we don’t have some sort of schedule, we just aren’t very productive.

If I didn’t have set working hours, it would be very difficult for me to get started every day. I actually have to set my alarm, get up, take a shower, and get dressed every day before I start working if I want to get anything done. Granted, I could roll out of bed and work in my pajamas if I wanted, but there’s something I just don’t like about looking up and realizing I’m still in my underwear, and it is three o’clock in the afternoon.

My schedule isn’t too terribly strict, and I generally use a system of rewards to motivate myself throughout the day. My set schedule is that I work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. I actually get started around 8, but I like to tell clients that I’m not available until 9 so that I can have time to get things organized in the morning.

Other than that, I generally let the day develop as it may. If I don’t have any projects, then I spend some time looking for jobs, and I apply to a few. I also work on my own blogs. If I do have a job, I try to write at least three articles between 9 a.m. and when I stop for a lunch break. When I finish an article, I reward myself by doing laundry or taking the dog out. This lets me move around so I won’t get antsy. This is a technique that I used to use with homework when I was in college. I can generally get through five to fifteen articles a day, depending on how much housework I have to do or how many errands I have to run. Deadlines are great motivators as well, and I don’t miss a client’s deadline without a good reason.

I still find it really easy to get distracted. The TV will mesmerize me without me noticing, but the silence of not having it one will make me really anxious. I try to turn the TV off occasionally, and I tell myself that I can turn it back on or I can visit Facebook once I’ve finished the article I’m working on at the moment.

Scheduling a stay at home job takes a lot of self-discipline—self-discipline that I’m still developing. It’s a work in progress.

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