Advertising
Advertising

The Lie-In, the Watch & the Half-Empty Wardrobe

The Lie-In, the Watch & the Half-Empty Wardrobe

     

    If you’re thinking about becoming a self-employed freelance writer, you need to weigh up the pros and cons.

    Certain authorities on the subject will describe and exaggerate the positives – working the hours you choose, working from home, working in your pyjamas, working on assignments you prefer – without filling you in on the negatives. And make no mistake about it: there are plenty of them.

    Advertising

    It takes a particular type of individual to spend the whole day working in isolation. Many have tried and failed, simply because they require the company of others. They need to be in the presence of other people, to have someone else to talk to, to debate ideas with, to give them encouragement or just to tell them what to do.

     

     

    Freelancers can work at a pace that suits them, can take breaks whenever they want to, can enjoy walks or drives in the country when time and weather permit. But most freelancers have to work hard to earn enough to get by, and they can’t do that if they’re out swanning around all day. They need to be disciplined and organized or their careers are doomed.

    Advertising

    They can enjoy a lie-in every so often if they’re so inclined. Starting work at 8 or 8.30 in the morning probably won’t make a huge difference to the average freelancer, especially if the office is just across the hall. A two-hour session at 3 in the afternoon can be just as productive as at any other time of the day. Other people prefer a solid stint in the early hours of the morning before the rest of the world intrudes. It doesn’t really matter when you work, as long as you do.

    It’s a Job
    Just like any other “job” the freelancer has to produce the goods. The work might be more pleasant than another person’s but it’s equally as time-consuming and demanding. There’s still the potential for stress, anxiety, and frustration, although a brisk walk along the canal can help to get rid of some of these issues.

    According to WebMD sources, job-related stress is caused by a variety of factors, including:

    • Lack of control – the biggest cause of stress in the normal workplace
    • Too much responsibility – it’s often hard to say “no” to bosses face to face
    • Too little job satisfaction – if your work isn’t rewarding it can make you depressed and miserable
    • Lack of support –workers are often left to their own devices, only getting feedback when there’s a problem and receiving little or no real support
    • Poor working conditions – badly lit rooms, noisy environments, long hours and infrequent breaks can lead to a whole range of health problems

    Advertising

    Naturally you’d expect a freelance writer working from home to have a comfortable chair in a well-lit room, a sturdy desk with ample working space, a bookcase or two with a good supply of reference books, and a decent computer. You’d expect him or her to have control over the types of assignments accepted and fulfilled. You’d expect him or her to experience job satisfaction to varying degrees, depending on the subject chosen, the enjoyment writing about it, and the amount of remuneration.

    It simply wouldn’t make sense for any freelancer to have to endure poor working conditions or settle for work that’s dissatisfying. After all, you can get that just about anywhere. Despite the fact that you frequently have to tout for business to keep projects and finances flowing smoothly, working for yourself is supposed to be liberating and enjoyable. If it’s not, you’re doing something wrong.

    Freelance writers can work just about anywhere. If the office space begins to feel stale or claustrophobic, there’s always the local Internet café. If a particular job is tedious and draining, a walk in the woods with a notebook can help clear the brain and provide much-needed inspiration.

    No More Clock-Watching
    Working as a freelance writer from home was the best thing I ever did. As soon as I started, I took off my watch. I haven’t worn one in five years. I don’t have as many lie-ins as I’d like, but that’s because I can’t wait to get up and get to work. Weekends are precious, though, and work is rarely allowed to intrude.

    Advertising

    As for my wardrobe, it consists of little more than the bare essentials (no pun intended). I don’t need “business” clothes for every day of the week, so most of what I wear is casual or semi-casual. If I need to meet clients face to face I wear something smart, always conscious that they’re paying me to write and not to appear in a commercial. Most of my work comes to me online, so I often don’t meet the people I write for.

    Conclusion
    Working for yourself isn’t a piece of cake. You get to be your own boss, but that means you have to continually motivate yourself. No-one else is going to do it. Either you work hard or you fail.

    You need to balance your work life with your social life, or one will take over the other. You need to make sure the work you do is worth doing in the first place, and that the time you put in earns you a decent amount of compensation. You need to be determined to succeed, willing to learn, patient, committed, optimistic and resilient. You need to believe in yourself whole-heartedly and be willing to work to meet deadlines, even when the sun is splitting the rocks just outside your window.

    If you can do these things, your career will likely go from strength to strength, and then you can buy as many pairs of pyjamas as you want. Whether you choose to work in them or not is up to you.

    More by this author

    The Lie-In, the Watch & the Half-Empty Wardrobe

    Trending in Lifehack

    1 The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness 2 13 Common Life Problems And How To Fix Them 3 How to Be Your Best Self And Get What You Want 4 How Setting Personal Goals Makes You a Greater Achiever 5 How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

    Advertising

    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

    Advertising

    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

    Advertising

    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

    Advertising

    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

    Read Next