So, you’ve made the big jump and started your freelance career. Good for you! But wait, there’s no boss to tell you what to do, no nosey coworkers peeking over your shoulders when you wander onto Twitter. So who’s going to keep you in check?!
As a freelancer, you’re all alone to become a responsible self-employed employee so you better stay on top of shit! I’ve never really been the type to stick to times and plans, but this creating a daily schedule thing has really helped keep me on task and keep the work flowing! Here’s my schedule and tips on creating a daily schedule for freelancers.
MY FREELANCE DAILY WORK SCHEDULE
7:00 AM | WAKE UP + MORNING COFFEE
Depending on what time of year it is, yep, I’m up before the sun. By habit, the first thing that I really do when I wake up is check my phone. I respond to texts and play a round or two of whatever phone game I’m addicted to at the moment. What I don’t do, however, is check any e-mails or work-related notifications at this point. This all only takes about 10-15 minutes, and by the end of it, I’m pretty much fully awake. I then take another 10-15 minutes to reflect, meditate, pray or whatever I’m in need of at the moment. After that, I head to the kitchen to make my morning drink. In the winter, it’s either tea or coffee. In the summer, I’m pretty much the iced coffee or smoothie queen. Either of these drinks get my energy up and brain flowing.
8:00 AM | START WORK
I work the best early in the morning. It’s when my brain is alert and I’m excited and motivated. This is when I start my first 2 hour work block. These blocks are what I’ve found most helpful in my daily routine. Not working for 8 hours straight is a perk of the freelance life. I start out by reviewing and answering emails, then beginning on work.
10:00AM | QUICK BREAKFAST
Hey, a working girl has got to eat. Once the morning coffee, tea, or smoothie has worn off, it’s time for a quick breakfast!
10:30AM | SHOWER + GET DRESSED
Even if you’re a freelancer and working at home, one thing that I’ve learned is key is not living in your pajamas for the whole week. Freshening up, putting on some comfy clothes, and actually brushing my hair keeps me in a more productive mood.
11:00 AM | BACK TO WORK
Here’s when I get back to another work block. If I need a break from client projects, then I typically put a different task here, such as social media or general marketing tasks! This could be anywhere from scheduling tweets, planning a new campaign, browsing sites for inspiration, or shooting photos for sharing/posts.
1 PM | LUNCH BREAK
Nom. Nom. Nom.
2:00PM | BACK TO WORK
For some reason, this part of the afternoon is the hardest for me, but depending on the project, I’m still usually pretty excited and focused. Find some good tunes and push through this part of the day!
3:00 PM | GYM / ERRANDS
One amazing part about creating your own daily schedule for freelance is the opportunity to do things in the middle of the day that others usually can’t. This is a great time for me to head to the gym (in my building so it doesn’t take me much travel time) or run to the grocery store during non-busy hours! Be careful with this exact time slot if there are schools in your area, because. . . bus traffic!
4:00 PM | BACK TO WORK
This is my last scheduled work block in my daily schedule. I package up any things that are to be delivered before EOD and then go back to designing. I finish up this part of my daily freelance routine by noting any important to-dos for tomorrow.
THE SECRET FREELANCE HOURS
Okay, let’s be real. I’m not the type that has a totally healthy sleep schedule. I wish I was the 9pm in bed type, but between my favorite TV shows, browsing the internet, cooking, Twitter, Instagram, and relationships. . .that just doesn’t happen! Often I’ll find myself bored around 9 or 10pm and get some work in until about midnight. This is a great time for working on things to better your freelance business / reach instead of working on client tasks. I’ve always been somewhat of a night owl, so as long as I don’t have to get up at 6:00am and prepare to sit in traffic anymore, it doesn’t really make my workdays harder!
Generally, I do actually do work on Saturdays and Sundays, but I definitely don’t pressure myself with a schedule. The weekends are time for house cleaning, laundry, brunch, date nights, and things like that. Anytime that I’m in the mood to work, I do! Because as I stated before, if freelancing is really the career for you and you’re in the right field and working with amazing brands, it’s not really “work”!
My Tips For Creating A Daily Schedule for Freelancers
- Use general blocks instead of assigning specific tasks to certain times such as “check e-mails” or “Pinterest for 30 mins”. Those types of specifics make sticking to a schedule harder, because it seems more robotic than free.
- Opt for a few batch days a month. These are days when your work blocks are filled with a certain once-a-month task for the entire day, to help them get completed and out of the way! Examples are blogging batch days, admin / finance batch days, and social media design / scheduling batch days.
- A freelancer’s daily routine should be based on their life or the life they want to live. It’s amazing because when it’s time to adjust, you’re the boss and can do that. If you need morning time with your kids, the weekends off, a set date night, a weekly girl’s entrepreneur meet-up, schedule around it! It’s all about a work / life balance and life is so important!
What does your daily schedule for freelance look like? Do you find that a schedule helps or is it hard to stick to one?
I’ll do a complete list of books to help new freelancers in a separate post, but here are just a few to get you started: