My #1 Piece of Advice to Freelancers: Lean Into The Moment
Yesterday, I woke up and it was a perfect day. It was sunny and warm and the ocean was calm and clear. The day before, I had done a ton of work. I tend to do a lot of work on Mondays because I’m refreshed from the weekend, ready to tackle the week with gusto and get as much as I can done so I can be a little bit more flexible with the rest of my week. Which was great because even though I had planned to keep cranking all day the next day, it allowed me instead the freedom that morning to go SUPing (Stand Up Paddle) on a beautiful day with perfect conditions. And I am so glad I did. I saw not one but THREE pods of dolphins, the first two swimming right next to me and below. There is nothing like the feeling of seeing dorsal fins in the distance, paddling your heart out to catch up, and then seeing the graceful animals through the clear water swimming right under you and leaping next to you. It’s magical.
So what’s the theme of this story? That dolphins are magical (I mean they are, but stay with me)? No.
It’s that as a freelancer, I lean into the moments as they come.
I worked longer than an 8-hour day on Monday because I felt it. I had a lot of work and I wanted to work. I wanted to crank it out and get a ton done. And when Tuesday came around, even though I had planned to work, something pulled me elsewhere. Instead, I leaned into that. And that Tuesday afternoon? I still got everything done I wanted to do in that day.
See, when you’re a freelancer, you don’t have to set daily goals. You have the luxury of setting weekly goals because you control your schedule. When you get those goals done during the week is up to you. It doesn’t have to happen Monday-Friday, 9–5. You have the ability to lean into the rest of your life, on your time, unlike “full-time” workers.
Now, freelancing is not for everyone and I could make a very long list as to why full-time work is better than freelance work (and really, vice versa. There’s give and take on both sides. I should know. I’ve gone full-time, to freelance, to full-time and now I’ve been back freelancing for over two years). This isn’t a post about quitting your job to swim with dolphins. And if you’re new to freelancing, a word of caution: You don’t have the luxury of blowing mornings off until you have a thriving business and understand how many hours or projects a week you need to hustle on to make ends meet.
But regardless, if you are a freelancer, you alone control your schedule. You don’t have to have your butt in a chair because someone says so. You can lean into doing what feels right.
Planned to work all day, but feel like you need to go to a yoga class on a Tuesday at 2pm? Lean into it.
You were going to go to a coffee shop to work for the day, but you’ve decided instead to stay in bed and inbox zero your email? Lean into it.
Thought you were going to meet up with friends for drinks but feeling the creative pull to stay up all night and work? Lean into it.
Feeling totally uninspired so you instead decide to meet up with friends for drinks? Lean into it.
The point is, work when you want to work, and play when you want to play, as long as you get your weekly goals done.
In that moment on the ocean and with the dolphins, while I was in awe and thinking how cool this was, I also thought, this is why I freelance. I really thought that. I love that I get to lean into a little magic, too.