Monday Spark: Surprise…you can lift your spirits with structure and self-discipline.

work scheduleOne of the benefits of being a freelancer is our ability to set our own schedules.

We can do what we want when we want. We can works days, or nights. We can take days off during the week. We are at home for our families. And so on.

Cheerleaders for freelancing spend a lot of time pumping up this aspect of the freelance life. Hey, we can even take our laptops to the beach if we want!

The problem is, being the boss of setting our own schedule and work structure is not the same thing as having NO schedule or work structure.

In fact, floating around without any kind of schedule or discipline usually translates into low productivity and disappointment.

Put another way, having a “good day” and feeling great about ourselves is not driven by having the freedom to do nothing with our time. It’s driven by being productive, doing good work and feeling we have achieved something worthwhile.

So let me repeat…

Being the boss of setting our own schedule and work structure is not the same thing as having NO schedule or work structure.

Yes, it’s great to be the master or mistress of our time, and how we use it.

But…you’ll FEEL better and DO better as a freelancer if you create a clear structure for your work day, and have the self-discipline to stick to it.

Do that, and you’ll be far more productive, more successful and more satisfied with your work and your life.

Here is a rough outline of what my own day looks like.

freelance work schedule

The key here is that I block out 5 hours for uninterrupted work each day. That means no email, no social media, no checking on the news etc.

It is those 5 hours that make me so productive. Without this kind of schedule and the self-discipline to stick to it, I would maybe get half the amount of work done.

Do I break the rules sometimes? Sure I do. Sometimes a dentist appointment gets in the way. Sometimes I have a bad day, and all I can manage is to do my best. Sometimes my brain is fried by 4:00PM and I stop working and take the dog for a walk.

But even when I break my schedule, I always snap back to it.

There is a big difference between having a schedule and sometimes failing to stick to it, and not having a schedule at all.

Try this for yourself, and you’ll not only do better, but you’ll feel better too.

And if you have your own approach to bringing structure to your day, use the comments box to let us know what you do, and how well it works.

About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach.

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2 thoughts on “Monday Spark: Surprise…you can lift your spirits with structure and self-discipline.

  1. Hi Nick,

    I’d be out of business if I didn’t structure my time. I have a similar schedule set-up with a breakdown of times per half hour starting at 6:00 am until 9:00 pm. I print this out in weekly increments. Not only does this assist me with billing later, it lets me see where I may be wasting time. I also work with a monthly, quarterly, and yearly calendar so that my short and long-term goals aren’t lost in the daily rush of things.

    Another thing that keeps me on track is having a fun trip or lunch date planned in the near future. This helps me work smarter.

    This week, I purchased my ticket for a two-week visit in April to see my sister who lives out of state. I know that if I procrastinate on my current assignments, I will not make my deadlines and my trip money will be wasted. This gives me motivation during those times when I lack enthusiasm, or I’m just plain tired and need an extra boost to push me through the day and stay on task! And, it’s so awesome that I can take a two-week vacation when it’s convenient for me without asking anyone’s permission (other than my family of course)!

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