I love my working days!
But it wasn’t always like this. When I worked a regular job, I’d get that ‘pit-of-the-stomach’ feeling each morning when the chime of my bedside alarm indicated it was time to get up and do things in a very particular, timed order.
I hated that. It stifled my creativity, made me grumpy and, ultimate, led me to become a freelancer.
Having worked independently for some time, I now have what I like to refer to as ‘the perfect working day’. And I’d like to share it with you.
The trick, as I’ve discovered, is to apply everything I’ve learned about business productivity to that of my home life. That way, I can create the perfect working day that goes something like this…
It Starts The Night Before…
To be at my best and achieve as much as possible each day, I have to get a decent night’s sleep.
I highly recommend doing this if, like an earlier version of me, you regularly hit the sack at times few people would consider reasonable.
A solid eight hours or just under usually does it for me (even if that occasionally means getting into bed when it’s still light outside!).
05:50 : It Continues With An Early Start
Let me make one thing clear: I’m not very good in the morning at all.
Put me in an office, meeting or any other scenario where I’m expected to deal coherently and personably with other people – having only got up moments before – and I’ll be next to useless.
However, as I’ve found over the last few years, put me in front of a laptop and bulging to-do list as early as possible, and I’ll smash through it.
Early mornings are when I’m at my most productive, so as soon as that alarm goes off, I get out of bed and grab my first cup of coffee.
06:15 : Serious Productivity Time Begins
Having taken several swigs of my hot beverage, I’ll get down to what is, without a doubt, the most productive period of the day for me.
Between 6:15 and 9am (roughly – see disclaimer), my mind redlines on the creativity odometer. I can fly through jobs without making a hash of them and while producing some of my best work. I love this time of day.
Just don’t ask me too many questions if you happen to be in the same room as me…
09:00 : The Essential Dog Walk Number 1
Exercise is a vital part of my perfect working day, and it starts with a swift dog walk at around 9am.
My four-legged friend loves it, but it also gives me the opportunity to stretch my legs, get much-needed fresh air into the lungs and take the time to reflect on what I need to do for the rest of the day.
10:00 : Serious Productivity Time Continues
Nicely refreshed from my walk, I grab another hot drink and head back to the office (be it the spare room, breakfast bar or settee).
Thanks to the exercise, my mind is still capable of delivering at this time of the day, and that enables me to pick up from where I left off during the earlier burst of productivity.
13:00 : Lunch!
Never forget to eat! It’s so easy to do so when you work alone, but your body needs to refuel if the brain is to continue receiving vital productivity-boosting oxygen.
13:30 : Combine Work With Dog Walk Number 2
By this time, my dog is usually ready for another walk, and in a bid to walk off my lunch and recharge my own batteries, I’ll join him.
As I’m now into the meat of the day, this second dog walk is a great time to perform what I like to call ‘on-the-road research’. It might be listening to a podcast relevant to a project I’m working on or a brainstorming session where I mentally (sometimes, physically) make notes about an upcoming task I’ll need to complete that afternoon.
15:00 : Gym
After dog walk number 2, I’ll do some more work before heading to the gym to conduct an intensive workout. My laptop often joins me during these visits, so that I can take advantage of the gym’s on-site coffee shop to get some emails read and replied to.
16:00 – 18:00 : Finishing Up
The latter part of my day consists of finishing jobs that need to be completed and arranging my to-do list for tomorrow.
And you know what? I nearly always finish at a time most people would consider reasonable. With so many freelancers working long into the night, I’ve always considered this to be something of an achievement!
Although I’ve listed times above against each touchpoint of my working day, they’re purely for illustrative purposes. I’ve spent a great deal of time working myself out of the mind-numbing tedium of a regular 9-5 job, therefore the hours I keep to as a freelancer are somewhat more flexible!
I hope I’ve inspired fellow freelancers to create their own perfect working days. It’s your time; own it!