What's your daily schedule?

There are lots of great things about being freelance. You get to wear your pyjamas to work whenever you want and if you need a creative break you can head out for a walk, run, ride or whatever helps you relax. You can, to some degree, pick and choose who you work for and what work you do – I have a strict “no assholes” policy. And, assuming you work from home, can chip away at the housework rather than have to do it all in eat evenings or weekend – pushing the vacuum cleaner around a room for five minutes is a great way to recharge the brain.

At the moment, my freelance practice is busy servicing four main clients (and a few “rats and mice” clients providing one-off projects). Each day, I need to write four stories for one of them (three short news stories and one longer mini-feature that have to be ready on a strict schedule as the client releases new content every 30 minutes) two for another client and update the website for a third with local and syndicated content. That means I need to be pretty disciplined about my time management. My other main client requires two stores per day but the schedule for them is more fluid.
I usually start my week with a pen and a weekly planner (see: https://totallyfreelance.com/planning-weeks-work/) setting out what I know I need to get done. I use a highlighter to mark things off as I go so that I can see the progress and to ensure I focus on what’s next rather than something that might be more interesting but not as urgent. Even though I’m a total nerd and love using tech for most things, I find this pen-and -paper system has been the most effective for me over the years – I’ve been freelancing full time for about eight years.
I’m also recently married and now the parent of two step-sons as well as three kids from my first marriage. That means I need to ensure I’m around for school pickups, weekly family dinners and all the other stuff that forms part of being part of a big and busy family. My wife and I have some shared online calendars so we can see what activities the kids have, where I’ll be as I spend about a third of each year travelling interstate and overseas and our social engagements and appointments. I actually transcribe a lot of that onto my paper system each week as it help me remember what’s ahead of me each week.

My daily routine:

It’s all a balancing act but it works.

  • Wake up at between 6:00AM and 8:00AM depending on what I have planned for the day and how tired I am
  • Write my first couple of stories for the day while eating breakfast at my desk
  • School drop-off when I need to
  • Write
  • Take a proper lunch break where I don’t work for 20-40 minutes (sometimes, that’s a Netflix break that goes a little longer if I’m not super busy)
  • Write a little more. If it’s a Friday, this is when I do my admin stuff like invoicing, checking clients have paid on time, start to plan next week

It seems to work better for me than trying to emulate Hunter Thompson’s routine.

Hunter Thompson’s daily routine

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