Self-employment and self-discipline

April 4, 2012


I know a lot of people have been doing the self-employment, working-from-home thing forever, but it’s new to me.

I have a whole day to structure as I see fit. That sounds good and it is good but I spend unexpected mental energy figuring out how to prioritize all my stuff. What should I do next?

Like today, I have 10 hours available before a night class. There’s no separation of tasks. I’m free to figure out how to get everything done, professional and personal, in the course of the day: graphic design freelance work, write blog, edit photographs, shower, eat a couple of times, exercise, prepare for class, and more.

Eating and showering seem to fall to the bottom of the list. I like food. Meals are entertainment and relaxation for me. So, if I don’t feel like I can take time to enjoy the food, I’d rather not have it at all. And showering – well, I’m not gonna see anyone but my dog and she loves me unconditionally.

And I’m struggling with the transition from employee to freelancer. I don’t owe my full-time to the person I’ve contracted with, but I find it hard not to drop everything when they send me a request. I need to be appropriately prompt, accountable and available, but I also have other commitments, which is understood by all. I have to shift my mind away from the “boss” mentality.

Working for companies my whole life, I got accustomed to having structure dictated: arrival time, lunch time, meeting time, working time. And often having priority of projects dictated, too.

In this world, there’s not one boss to say, “do this first.” I’m the boss. And that is so awesome. But also a major shift. It’s up to me to prioritize and make good choices. I promise to shower before I have to be among people in class tonight.

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