I’ve been doing freelance work on and off for roughly 10 years now. I started my career as a freelance writer. I wrote about a dozen articles a day to fulfill SEO-based articles when I began in 2008. Since then, I’ve had several office-based jobs but I’d do some freelance work if allowed from time to time.
The main allure of freelancing for me is that you get to work with a lot of different types of people in different industries. I get to manage my own time, my own workload, and don’t have to adhere to a strict schedule so to speak. There are many ups, and of course, there are downsides as well. It’s a matter of perspective. Personally I love being a freelancer.
So today, in one of the most memorable years in human/world history, I’d like to share my day to day activities as a freelancer. Since many people are forced to work from home during the pandemic, I hope you get a piece of advice or two with this.
I normally wake up between 5 and 6 in the morning. Ever since transitioning to becoming a full-time freelancer, I found that this works best for me. I start my day by first being thankful. Thankful for waking up, for my wife being by my side, and to God for giving me another day to do the best that I can in this life.
Next, I check my main email on my phone along with my calendar. I then make sure to brush my teeth first to wake my mind up. Now, depending on the day and my plans, I’ll either take a bike ride, do a home exercise, or go directly to my desk (which is rare). I’ll then prepare to eat breakfast with my wife. I believe this is an important step in any morning, both the meal and discussing upcoming things for the day with my wife. It also helps that we both do the same work just in different ways.
Time to Work
After the morning routine, I turn on my computer anywhere between 6 to 8 in the morning. I like to get an early start especially since I have a lot of clients who are in an earlier timezone.
Now, once I log into my computer the first thing I open is my email accounts. Yes, I have multiple emails. It helps me segregate things. I have an account for personal matters, another account for business, then I have a few which are client-specific, then I have an account where I dump all spam into. Based on the communication I get, I list down the things I will need to do for the day. With this, I use a very high-tech method:
I like to literally write things down. It helps me remember things. I also use this notebook or pieces of paper to sketch stuff I have to do as well. It’s like my sounding board, I bounce off my ideas to it and discuss it with myself.
I go about my day. Working. Working. Meeting. Working some more. Prepare lunch. Work. Eat. Work some more.
My day ends anywhere between 4 to 7 in the evening. On rare occasions, I log off at 10 at night. But I make it a habit to block off my calendar from 5 PM onwards. This is what we call “sarado na ang tindahan”. The store is closed. No more emails, chats, meetings, from this point on. The rest of my working hours will be used only for sending out end of day emails or finishing up tasks.
On average, I am online for 10 hours a day for work. And one of the most important things I learned about this from my experience? Don’t just shut down your computer. Cool down.
Your brain is one of the most powerful organs in your body. So you have to take care of it. Give it ample time to transition from one state to another. Think of it like this. When you do a physical activity, or play sports, or exercise, the first thing you do is to stretch so you warm up. After the activity, you rest and cool down. I do the same thing to my brain.
Reading emails in the morning and writing down my agenda for the day is my warm-up. After a long day of work, I try to cool down. There are many ways to do this:
- I write on one of my blogs (like what I am doing right now). Since this isn’t part of my work and I just write for passion, my brain just feels like it flows to my fingers. There is nothing forceful and it relaxes me.
- I read an article. Not news or politics, that just lights you up. I also avoid articles about entertainment stuff I follow for cooling down because that’s a direct transition from work to play. The idea is to bridge it. So I usually read something related to my field of work.
- Another cool down method I do a lot is to start plotting for my next day. I make sure my calendar for tomorrow is accurate. I check if there is anything I need to prepare and do so.
So basically the main idea is to stop working but still be productive. Very minor tasks, administrative stuff, and the like are good for this.
As a freelancer and work from home husband, I spend a lot of time at home. So I make sure to do my chores, keep it clean and tidy. I also like it when my wife comes home to a well-taken care of home.
So some of my end of the working day chores include:
- Sweeping and cleaning the floors.
- Cleaning the fans.
- Doing the dishes.
- Taking out the garbage.
- Buy groceries.
- And other tasks that may need to be done.
But what I am most proud/excited about is my time to cook. I usually make new dishes after I work. Since my wife works in an office, dinner is our time together. So I do my best to prepare a good meal for dinner every day.
Once my wife gets home, we chat, she does her routine as I prepare the table, then we sit down to eat. This is when we talk about our day which is always a good exercise as well so you can reflect on what you’ve done and maybe see if you can do things better tomorrow.
After dinner, I wash the dishes and clean up.
Relax, just do it
Now, it is time for me to just relax and do other mundane things. By the time I shut down my computer I normally put on Netflix on the main TV. I cast any sitcom just so I have some background noise. Friends, Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and Modern Family are some of the ones I rotate on my screen.
After dinner, I can switch to a movie. Sometimes I play one of my games on Nintendo Switch or Steam. Other times I just read a book or a comic. Anything that entertains me. For me what’s important is I relax so that the next day, I can be at my best when I work. And have good strength to bike as well.
So that’s my day! I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing. If you have any questions or want to learn more about freelancing, you can always book a time with me by clicking on that bright yellow button over there.