How freelancing got in the way of my hobbies, and what I’m doing about it.

Freelancing can be an all-consuming practice, especially in the early days when you’re working extra hard to get the gigs in. Throw in to the mix taking care of a family and it sometimes feels like there’s little time for anything else. When you work from home, it’s more difficult to clock out. It’s too easy to switch on the laptop whenever you get an idea, or check your social media on your phone before you go to bed at night. It becomes like an obsession. You think about nothing else. And before you know it, it’s become habit, and you realise you haven’t picked up a book to read in months.

Sound familiar? Yeah, me too.

I’m pretty certain that before I started freelancing, I had other interests. I used to read plenty of books, I baked the occasional cake, I went for long walks with my husband. And those are all the things that make me who I am, the things that make me happy.

Back in April, I started tracking my time a little better (I mentioned a little bit about that in my last blog post on the Bullet Journal system). I started taking note of where all the hours in my day were going. It was a bit of a revelation, actually. As it turns out, I spent a lot of my time on meaningless tasks during my ‘freelancing’ time, and so I used the information to create a more condensed schedule. And guess what happened? I had some extra free time I didn’t know I had!

For example, let’s take today (Friday). I got up at 7.30am, and got myself and my daughter ready. I’d arranged for my Mum to take her at 9am until lunchtime. In line with my new schedule, I sat down at my desk at 10am. It’s now 10.30am, and I plan to stop work at 1pm, have lunch, and collect my daughter. At around 2pm, I’m expecting her to want her nap, which then gives me roughly an hour to get some chores done around the house. I can see from my schedule that in reality, I have about 6 hours after that of unscheduled time. Aside from normal stuff like feeding my daughter, playtime, bathtime, dinner with my hubby, that still should, theoretically, give me at least a little bit of time for myself.

I bet if you thought about where you spend your time a little more carefully, you’d find that you have that little window, too. And that’s time you can spend on yourself. Not on clients or projects. Just you.

So, I’m planning on starting small. That might mean that instead of sitting in front of the TV after dinner, I go upstairs and read for an hour. Or I spend a Saturday morning baking a cake. Basically, spend some time doing something that makes me happy.

If you’d like to see an example of my time tracker, I’d be happy to share it with you. It might just help you to find the time for your hobbies too.

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