Time. In my opinion, time management is the most difficult part of freelancing. How to organize one’s work, one’s personal time, one’s family responsibilities, one’s volunteer efforts—and the list goes on and on—is a challenge for everyone, not just freelancers.
We notice it more, of course: it's just that freelancers have more control over the organization of our work-lives, which is both freeing and confining. Time’s arguably our most precious commodity—but we don’t always act as though it were.
When you work in cubicle-land, boundaries are pretty clear. You start work, for example, at 8am, and you finish at 5pm. When you’re at your office, you’re at work; when you go home, you’re off work. Friends know not to call you to chat when you’re at your work site. Medical appointments are arranged to coincide with comp time or are done during meal breaks. All in all, it’s regimented… but the good thing about it is that it’s pretty clear.
Last Friday night, I went to the theater (and saw a decent production of Theresa Rebeck’s Seminar, in case you’re interested). My friend Dianne and I arrived absurdly early, so were perched on stools sipping wine and waiting for the house to open, with nowhere to flee when Bill arrived.
Travel. It’s one of life’s most amazing pleasures, and one particularly suited to the freelance lifestyle. After all, we can often arrange our workload around our vacations, even if we’re not getting paid for them.
But what if you wanted to really travel, go somewhere for an extended period of time? The other great thing about freelancing is that it’s portable: you can pick up your laptop and go!