A Day In The Life of a Freelancer's Daily Grind (Or Lack Thereof)

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After I quit my day job back in December and started doing my own thing, my schedule has been in a state of flux. In order to track (and be honest about) the way my days are falling into place, I decided to try to do a "Day In The Life" every month or so, and see how those change.

If it looks a little all over the place, I can explain that! I try to schedule my days in advance, but also like to let myself work in spurts as I feel like it. After all, that is the real luxury of working from home and being your own boss, so I didn't want to just force myself to replicate my least favorite parts of having a day job. Here goes:

6:45am.** Wake up, make the bed. Spend a few minutes reading from a devotional they gave us at church this week, but the readings in this one are pretty short. Afterward, I throw my contacts in and put some makeup on because that's something I've learned has helped me be more productive. I don't get much done in glasses and sweat pants.

**I would probably not naturally wake up at this time if I had my choice. I would keep going back to bed and sleeping longer. But, I have a much better and more productive day when I get up the FIRST time I wake up, so I try to force myself to get up.**

7am. Start answering emails that came in after I stopped working yesterday. I have an email from a potential new client, so I re-work my schedule for the day to fit in a call with them. I plan my day out and organize my meetings and objectives to complete.

8:06am. Coffee time. Thank God for Nespresso. I go upstairs with my husband and we spend about 15 minutes having coffee together and talking about what we want to do this weekend. I also prep the chia seeds I am planning to have for lunch and throw it in the fridge so they can soak and expand for a few hours (3 tbsp Chia Seeds, 1 cup Almond Milk, 1/4 cup Water, 1 tbsp PB2).

8:20am. I randomly feel like cleaning my room, so I pick up in there and in the bathroom. Hey, cleaning sucks to do, so if I feel like doing it, I oblige.

8:45am. Back downstairs to work. I answer the rest of my emails and do a little bit of blog work, like starting this post and editing some pictures.

9am. I had been planning to run from 9-10 and then get to work on my book, but I decide that my hair still looks too good from yesterday's blow dry to mess it up with a run, so I decide to put it off for a while longer. We'll see how that goes. 

I start working on submitting proposals on Elance. This is one of the ways I generate new business, so I try to spend an hour or two submitting new proposals on at least 3 days per week, and then replying to their questions and such. That said, I am totally multitasking, so I also have my book and blog post up for editing.

10am. Finally eat breakfast. Chobani yogurt (mint chocolate chip - if you haven't tried it, hop to it) and a huge orange.

10:20am. Suddenly decide I feel like running. Planned on a 4 mile run but end up running 7 instead because, hey, I can do that now that I don't have to be anywhere at a specific time.

11:30am. While I don't have to be places at specific times, I do have to be ready for interruptions. I hop off the treadmill around 11:30 because my phone is ringing. Answer it and talk to a client for about 45 minutes about content generation and management. Get off the phone and send an email recap with next steps for both sides. 

12:20pm. Eat the nice and congealed (awful word, still using it) chia pudding. It is pretty good but not my best. Make a note of what I did differently so I can correct it for an upcoming blog post recipe.

12:30pm. Spend a few hours working on some wedding invitation designs for a client and friend (they. are. GORGEOUS!). About 2 hours later, send them off.

2:30pm. Go upstairs and make a big pitcher of green juice with my Breville juicer. Drink one glass and put the rest in the fridge. Clean up. Eat a lot of mixed nuts because I am still hungry and it seems like a good way to supplement the carbs of green juice with some healthy fats and protein... but also, I just wanted some nuts.

3:00pm. Finally take a shower and blow dry my hair because it is way too cold outside.

4:00pm. Set up conference call dial-in information for a strategy call on Monday. Start working on making the meeting deck. Somehow, it is not as boring as it seems. I really like making meeting decks...

5:00pm. Spend a while working on my book. I am sending the first 3 chapters and a query-worthy summary to someone to look at, so naturally I have to spend a little time in the book first before finishing my summary. Eventuallly, I come to a halt and felt like I didn't know what else to do with it, so I have my husband give it a read and he gives it the O.K. Send it off.

Note: At my old job, 5:00 is when I would be entirely done with my day. Instead, I tend to pick up around this time and put in a really solid hour or two of work, in which I am very productive. I definitely make up for it by taking tons of breaks during the day to shower, make juice, and run. But, it seems to be a more natural rhythm for me to work during.

6:15pm. My Father In Law will be here any minute and my Mother In Law is upstairs with an almost-ready pot-roast. My husband realizes we are out of beer and we make the executive decision to fly over to a close "party store" (SERIOUSLY, they call liquor stores party stores here. Imagine my surprise the first time they talked about it, when I thought they were taking me to Party City...) and grab a case to have on hand.

6:25pm. Despite buying beer, I am not feeling it, so I make myself a cocktail before dinner. I will only end up having one, so I make it count and put the good stuff in it. I muddle grapefruit, a few drops of NuNaturals Stevia, and crushed mint in a glass before adding 1.5-2 ounces of gin and finishing it off with some soda water made in the soda stream. Perfection.

6:30pm. Dinner. Super tender pot roast, a huge salad, and a few pieces of small redskin potato.

8:00pm. Movie. We have had a pretty intense and crazy week (especially my husband), so we decide to stay in, veg on the couch, and watch an OnDemand movie.

Some basic caveats:

Well, there you have it!

What is your most productive time of the day? I tend to be pretty productive between 10-12 and 430-630. Those are my 'hot spots,' so I try to put my most important long tasks during those times, and schedule conference calls or other more social items during the in between times.

Are you a naturally early riser? My husband NATURALLY wakes up between 5 and 630 most days, but I truly, honestly have to push myself to do it.

What kind of beverage is your "wake me up" drink? I like Nespresso, but I can only do coffee a few days a week. Other than that, I like drinking Mio Fruit Punch mixed in with some coconut lacroix, or Mate tea.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting, Carly. I've wondered how you are doing since you struck out on your own. It will take awhile before it really settles in that you indeed control your own destiny. I left the big brokerage world in 2002, and it probably took nearly a year before I felt like I wasn't "pretending", but actually running my own show. And I was in the black in one month, so that was awesome. Best decision (besides marrying the big guy) that I have ever made.


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