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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.

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    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.

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    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

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    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.

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    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.

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    Last Updated on October 15, 2019

    How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps

    How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps

    Where do you want to be 5 years from now, 10 years from now, or even this time next year? These places are your goal destinations and although you might know that you don’t want to be standing still in the same place as you are now, it’s not always easy to identify what your real goals are.

    Many people think that setting a goal destination is having a dream that is there in the far distant future but will never be attained. This proves to be a self-fulfilling prophesy because of two things:

    Firstly, that the goal isn’t specifically defined enough in the first place; and secondly, it remains a remote dream waiting for action which is never taken.

    Defining your goal destination is something that you need to take some time to think carefully about. The following steps on how to plan your life goals should get you started on a journey to your destination:

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    1. Make a list of your goal destinations

    Goal destinations are the things that are important to you. Another word for them would be ambitions, but ambitions sound like something which outside of your grasp, whereas goal destinations are certainly achievable if you are willing to put in the effort working towards them.

    So what do you really want to do with your life? What are the main things that you would like to accomplish with your life? What is it that you would really regret not doing if you suddenly found you had a limited amount of time left on the earth?

    Each of these things is a goal. Define each goal destination in one sentence.

    If any of these goals is a stepping stone to another one of the goals, take it off this list as it isn’t a goal destination.

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    2. Think about the time frame to have the goal accomplished

    This is where the 5 year, 10 year, next year plan comes into it.

    Some goals will have a “shelf life” because of age, health, finance, etc, whereas others will be up to you as to when you would like to achieve them by.

    3. Write down your goals clearly

    Write each goal destination at the top of a new piece of paper.

    For each goal, write down what is it that you need and don’t have now that will allow you achieve that goal. This could be some kind of education, career change, finance, a new skill, etc. Any “stepping stone” goals you removed will fit into this exercise. If any of these smaller “goals” have sub-goals, go through the same process with these so that you have precise action points to work with.

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    4. Write down what you need to do for each goal

    Under each item listed, write down the things that you will need to do in order to complete each of the steps required to complete the goal. 

    These items will become a check-list. They are a tangible way of checking how you are progressing towards reaching your goal destinations. A record of your success!

    5. Write down your timeframe with specific and realistic dates

    Using the time frames you created, on each goal destination sheet write down the year in which you will complete the goal by.

    For any goal which has no fixed completion date, think about when you would like to have accomplished it by and use that as your destination date.

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    Work within the time frames for each goal destination, make a note of realistic dates by which you will complete each of the small steps.

    6. Schedule your to-dos

    Now take an overview of all your goal destinations and make a schedule of what you need to do this week, this month, this year – in order to progress along the road towards your goal destinations.

    Write these action points on a schedule so that you have definite dates on which to do things.

    7. Review your progress

    At the end of the year, review what you have done this year, mark things off the check-lists for each goal destination and write up the schedule with the action points you need for the next year.

    Although it may take you several years to, for example, get the promotion you desire because you first need to get the MBA which means getting a job with more money to allow you to finance a part-time degree course, you will ultimately be successful in achieving your goal destination because you have planned out not only what you want, but how to get it, and have been pro-active towards achieving it.

    Featured photo credit: Debby Hudson via unsplash.com

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