While freelancing offers flexibility in terms of time and location, procrastinators and people who can’t motivate themselves will find it a struggle. Unlike a corporate job, “when you’re not working, you don’t earn money.” In the corporate world on a regular salary, you get paid during slow times even if it means you might spend that time chatting, playing games or surfing the Web.
Sticking to a schedule doesn’t mean creating a schedule like high school. First period: Blogging. Second period: Answering e-mails. It’s more flexible, but you do the same things around the same time every day.
I start my day by checking and deleting e-mails. Then I blog here and at InformIT. Next, I review my calendar and to do items to decide what tasks to complete for the day. This means picking one to three tasks that I can check off and feel a sense of accomplishment — NOT looking at the long list and pouting that I have too much to do.
Sure, on occasion, I might not blog until the afternoon. It’s OK to stray from your general schedule as things come up or you’re motivated to do something else. Having a schedule helps you make it a habit of getting specific things done each day and you tend to stick to it.
Do you have a craving or a feeling about things on specific days of the week? Days of the year? For instance, do you have a hankering for turkey or Mom’s famous dessert at Thanksgiving? Do you feel like swimming or grilling on Memorial Day, 4th of July and/or Labor Day? Because we get used to doing the same things on those holidays, it becomes a habit and a desire. Scheduling the same tasks each day works in a similar way.
I start my day with a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper. Last week, when the newspaper didn’t show up for the first time in ages, we called the newspaper and they delivered it to my door by 9:00am. However, the “first thing” feeling passed and I was already deep in my work that I never read the paper that day. It felt weird not to start my day with the newspaper because of habit.