We freelancers know it: there are many kinds of work. Non-freelancers probably know it too, but let’s stick to the freelance way of life for the sake of this article.
There is work that gets you paid. There is work that doesn’t get you paid, but that you need to do in order to get the work that will get you paid.
There is also work that you have decided to do and planned, and work that you just happen to do.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the last distinction lately.
Three years ago, I had a big client project and was going through a slow procrastinative summer. At one point, I decided to stop worrying and embrace my summer days: I would work from 9am to noon and then would be free to do whatever I wanted.
It worked really well. I made quick progress on the project and got to enjoy my summer.
This year, I’m having a slow summer too. The weather is nice, people are on holiday, I’m learning to sail, and I’m not swamped with work (I am busy with lots of things, though, I think that’ll never change). And honestly, when I look at my productivity
certain most days, I might not be working less if I had decided to do the 9-12.
Deciding to work 9-12 does not mean that I stop myself from working in the afternoons. It means that I don’t have to work in the afternoons. And this is where the work you plan and the work that just happens comes in.
I rediscovered this when I started working in my coworking space, eclau: office hours started to be devoted to “things I had to do” for work, and sometimes, in the evenings or week-ends, I would do some light work that I felt like doing (work that doesn’t feel like work). Blogging, for example. Fooling around online. Sometimes, even doing my accounting because I felt like it. But nothing because I felt I ought to do it.
So, next year, I’m thinking of trying the 9-12 during the summer months. Work well three hours, then do something else or allow myself to be completely unproductive in the afternoon.
Hell, why wait until next year? I’m starting tomorrow.