I’ve never been a person who liked routine. Even as a wee child, I hated a set school schedule: the bells that signaled the beginning of the day, the obligatory 45-minute class cut-off, the cattle-like movement of the crowd from one period to another.
That being said, some form of a self-imposed schedule is key to being successful as a freelancer. Some days, I’m pretty good at following my agenda.
I will not pretend to be perfect. I present to you, without apology, a picture of a day when my freelance plans turn into slightly-less-than-ideal realities.
A Day in Failed Freelance Plans
Night Before – 8 AM, Freelance Plan:
I will both go to bed and wake up at a reasonable time.
Night Before – 8 AM, Freelance Reality:
I will fall asleep at 2 am, midway through novel, with a half-eaten cheese stick in my hand. I will wake up an hour later than I planned to, after my boyfriend threatens to leave me if I hit snooze on the purposely-too-annoying-to-sleep-through alarm One. More. Time.
9 AM, Freelance Plan:
I will eat a healthy, balanced breakfast while calmly reviewing my day’s tasks.
9-11(?) AM, Freelance Reality:
I will spend the first hour surfing the Internet and making snide comments about Facebook statuses to my once-again-mostly-asleep boyfriend, who will steadfastly resist smothering me with a pillow. I will then realize I am now TWO hours behind my schedule, and compensate by eating a breakfast consisting of spoons of peanut butter, straight from the jar. I will then spend twenty more minutes scrolling through Twitter.
10 AM, Freelance Plan:
I will put on a cute outfit.
10 AM, Freelance Reality:
Am I really going to change out of pajamas, already? I only put them on last night. Isn’t that a waste?
11:30 AM, Freelance Plan:
I will exercise.
11:30 AM, Freelance Reality:
I am MORE THAN TWO HOURS BEHIND now, schedule! Stress is my exercise!
12:30 PM, Freelance Plan:
I will finish my first assignment – due immediately – and then run errands.
12:30 PM, Freelance Reality:
I will moodily stare at the assignment and decide that it is uninspiring. I will finish two other projects first… that aren’t due for a week.
1 PM, Freelance Plan:
I will run errands.
1 PM, Freelance Reality:
Oop, now I haven’t done that first assignment. Laundry can wait another day. These socks are still good, right? Who needs socks, anyways?
… I’ll just stay in the pajamas.
2 PM, Freelance Plan:
I will start my second assignment of the day.
2 PM, Freelance Reality:
I will finish my first assignment, and decide that it is time to reward myself with lunch.
2:30 PM, Freelance Plan:
I will eat a healthy, well-balanced lunch.
2:30 PM, Freelance Reality:
Lunch is an important meal. I’ll dip pretzels in the peanut butter.
3:15 PM, Freelance Plan:
3:15 PM, Freelance Reality:
4 PM, Freelance Plan:
I will finish my second assignment.
4 PM, Freelance Reality:
Groggy from nap, I will perk up by pouring myself large cup of coffee. Heck – why not two or three?
5 PM, Freelance Plan:
I will answer emails and map out tomorrow’s schedule.
5 PM, Freelance Reality:
NOW I HAVE HAD LOTS OF CAFFEINE YES SO TASTY NOW I START AND FINISH SECOND ASSIGNMENT SO FAST WOW I AM BEST EVER NOW WHAT OH MAYBE I SHOULD CLEAN MY ROOM HEY LOOK I DID NOT KNOW I OWNED SO MANY SOCKS LET’S REORGANIZE ALL THE SOCKS AND ALSO MY BOOKS ALPHABETICALLY A-B-C-D-EFGHIJK…
6 PM, Freelance Plan:
I will get invoices done.
6 PM, Freelance Reality:
I will take aspirin to deal with pounding headache from over-caffeination. I will whimper sadly to myself while beginning invoices. I will Google “caffeine + brain explode + death?” several times.
7 PM, Freelance Plan:
I will meet a friend for coffee plus brainstorming session.
7 PM, Freelance Reality:
I will send a self-pitying text to friend on impossibility of drinking any more caffeine, ever. Receive mocking reply. I will go to coffee house, meet friend, get herbal tea. Consider getting another coffee.
9:30 PM, Freelance Plan:
End of day! Time to go home and cook healthy dinner – good for wallet and waistline!
9:30 PM, Freelance Reality:
Speed-dial Chinese food. While shoveling sesame noodles in mouth, I will resolve to follow schedule EXACTLY tomorrow.
But first… maybe just read a little bit more of that novel?
I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one. Fellow freelancers, how do your best-laid freelance plans crash into certain… realities?