If you asked me if I work 2 jobs, my first response would probably be “no.” I’d say that I have a full-time job in the field that I want to work in. Oh, I’d then add, but I do a little work on the side to bring in extra money for debt repayment, grad school, etc. How much? Not every day, three or four days a week maybe. Well, last weekend I worked 14 hours for two clients.
Besides following 5 days of 8-hour shifts, an average 7 hours of freelancing is very different from an average 7 hours at my day job. No coworkers, fewer distractions, and a lot more time spent focused on the work. Sure, working with Mr. J. Money (who apparently covets my external hard drive) in person was a lot of fun, but we were also focused on a huge project—the most complicated Blogger to WordPress migration I’ve ever done (Blogger FTP vs. regular Blogger).
Half the time, I remember that it’s very much a real job (with real clients and real taxes and real work that gets done). The other half, I find myself wondering why I’m so tired or why I can’t find time to do something (until I look at my schedule). It’s not that I neglect the work itself, I find the work very engaging and prioritize it in my schedule, I just neglect the so-called “work/life balance.”
I still haven’t figured out how to keep myself fully aware that I have two jobs, but it’s something I’m working on both for now and for when I start grad school in the Fall. Things that I’ve found help include:
- Using a Calendar to Manage All My Clients — Some weeks I don’t, and even if I just have one client that’s just dumb. I also grant all my google accounts access to each other’s calendars & store my events on one calendar which I can access from any of them.
- Using a Calendar to Schedule My Personal Life — I’m not an extremely social person & a week can go by without my having any commitments. But when I do make them, I hate to have to cancel because I realized I scheduled a client. And I hate having to move a client even more. So I combine my business and pleasure calendars to make sure that I avoid scheduling conflicts to begin with.
- Taking Time Off Between Clients — This is something I need to do because I have a full-time day job as well. I can’t work every night and weekend or 1) I don’t fulfill my other responsibilities & 2) I start to go a little nuts. But even full-time freelancers need to consider their time off between clients. Whether it’s scheduling an hour for a breather, making sure that you’re not working 7 days/week (unless it works for you), or just finding a few minutes here and there, try purposefully taking time off between clients & projects.
- Book Myself — If I didn’t freelance, I’d have a lot more time to write for this blog (and I’d have to write about a different topic) as well as more time to work on my other projects. As it is, I try to schedule blocks of time where I update plugins, do theme work I need to get done, and just write. Otherwise, doing one kind of project can take away from your other projects.
This is what works for me. What matters the most is that I always keep in mind that what I’m doing has the same effect on my life as working any other real job would.