I’m a Workaholic Freelancer

I'm a Workaholic Freelancer

As a freelancer, the line between whether or not I’m working is VERY blurry. I love my work, and I’d be doing a lot of the things I do on a daily basis regardless of whether or not it was making me money. I’d still be making themes and plugins. It just so happens that I currently get paid for it.

I think it’s because the line is so blurry that I end up working ALL THE TIME.

I work most of the day, every day

My days consist of:

  • Coding/designing for clients
  • Working on my pre-made themes and plugins
  • Writing, launching and supporting e-courses
  • Responding to support tickets
  • Answering emails (potential new clients, existing clients, etc.)
  • Going to the gym
  • Cooking dinner
  • Watching TV
  • Learning new skills (I’m working on learning InDesign for my future ebook projects)
  • Coding for my own website (check out my new resources page that’s still kind of a secret)
  • Reading (less of this lately πŸ™ )
  • Writing blog posts and responding to comments
  • Reading other blogs/websites/articles
  • Taxes/accounting

This is what I do from 10am to 10pm Monday through Sunday. And yet, only a few of those clearly fall outside the realm of “work”.

No client work on weekends, but…

I don’t do any work for clients on the weekends, but my weekends are still spent working! This is usually when I spend more time on my pre-made products (like UBBv3!). I’m constantly doing things related to my business.

That being said, I don’t feel like I’m being overworked, and this ties back into the idea of having such a blurry line. Yes, I’m working, but I love what I’m doing. I could take weekends off, but I’m EXCITED about these projects! I’m eager to get UBBv3 out there. I’m eager to get my newsletter plugin out there. And I’m super eager to write my first ebook.

Coding isn’t just my job. It’s a hobby. It’s something that I want to do for fun.

Take time off where you need to

The important thing is to have some downtime on the weekends and after dinner. If that downtime means still doing work, but doing the work you really love and WANT to be doing, that’s fine. But if there are certain projects or types of work that really feel like a job, you need to take a break from those.

For me, that’s client work.

Pre-made products are MY ideas

When I create a pre-made plugin or theme, it’s something that I love and want to share with the world. Since I’m so passionate about it, I’m eager to work on it, and thus I want to work on that during my off time.

Client work is someone else’s vision

That’s not to say that these projects aren’t exciting. They certainly can be! But when it’s not a project FOR ME, it’s not something I’m dying to work on in my free time. So these are the things that I take a break from on weekends. I stick to “business hours” here.

How many hours a week do you work?

Would you say you’re a workaholic?

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I'm a 30-something California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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  1. Wow, this post seems to be writen by me. I do the same with my templates and I totally get the client work thing, specially when the style it’s not my preference, it’s a challenge but I get tired faster when working on them and need to take breaks every two hours…

    1. That’s a great way of putting it, Maira. I definitely tire faster when I’m working for someone else. I also have to work in small chunks. But if I’m doing a project for me, I can easily go all day without looking at the clock. πŸ™‚

  2. This is really important advice. I feel the same way just being a grad student. I don’t have fixed hours, and there’s always “something more” I could be doing in terms of writing, research, class, preparation, etc., so it’s really easy to just spend ALL my time working. Some days I dream of having a nice 9-5 job that just clearly ENDS each day. But then I remember I kind of like what I’m doing and having a flexible schedule can be really great, once you learn how to make it work for you.

    Briana @ Pages Unbound recently posted: Call the Midwife: Season 4, Episode 3 (Mini Review)
    1. I remember feeling similarly when I was in school. In school, I felt like the work never ended.

      * You go to school for 7 hours.
      * When you finally go home, you have homework to do.
      * When you finally get a vacation, they assign you a packet of homework to complete.

      You NEVER got a real break. (At least I didn’t at my school.) I hated that. At the time, it made me so eager to graduate and get a 9-5 job that actually ENDED when I left work and ENDED when I took a holiday/weekend.

  3. I tend to fall on both extreme sides. When it comes to school and newspaper, I’m obsessive, spending hours and hours on single projects to get them perfect. I love newspaper, and even though balancing it with school and other activities can be stressful sometimes, I enjoy perfecting stories, taking/editing photos and designing pages. On the other hand, on lazy days, I literally do nothing but curl up in bed and read all day.

    BTW, I think it’s cool that you’re learning InDesign. InDesign is the Adobe software that I use the most in newspaper and my favorite to work with. I’ve used it so much that I’m not sure if I’m more familiar with InDesign or Photoshop, even though I’ve been using Photoshop much longer.

    Dana @ The Nerdy Journalist recently posted: Review | The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace
    1. Ohh haha! I know exactly what you mean about those lazy days. I definitely have mine too. I go through the day and at the end I’m like, “What did I actually do today?” And the answer is probably watched TV, ate, and blogged. Hah.

      I’d definitely love to get as familiar with InDesign as I am with Photoshop. I’m sure it will come in time. πŸ™‚ I just need to use it more. It’s great that you’re so familiar with both programs!

    1. It’s great that you’re still keeping yourself productive even though you don’t have many projects at the moment. I think that’s what all freelancers should do. πŸ™‚ There are always going to be slow periods, but you can still make good use of them. You can work on your marketing, branding, skills, promotion, networking… There’s always stuff to do!

    1. Awesome, Jennifer! Are you taking a class or something?

      I think Photoshop will always be my fave, but I need InDesign for what I need right now. There’s no way Photoshop could do the job (at least not as efficiently).

    1. Good luck with the job search Kelsey. πŸ™‚ I think a little experimentation will help you figure out what you love.

  4. I can 100% relate, as I am a freelancer as well. I work around 8 hours each day. And then beside that there’s still housework like cooking, cleaning and the laundry that needs to be done. Just like you I don’t feel overworked as I love this work, although having an extra hour to read would be nice now and then. If I didn’t get paid I would still love to do this work, but I wouldn’t be able to afford it then, because we all need money to live, so I need to charge for my work as it takes a lot of time.

    My downtime is when cooking and eating dinner and about an hour or two before I go to sleep. I can’t function on too little sleep and I need 10 hours of sleep each day (I wish I could deal with less hours of sleep). I need an hour of reading or relaxing to calm my mind so I can fall asleep and be productive again the next day.

    I think loving your job is very important and it’s why I am happy I choose to follow my heart and start my own business as I love it and even if I work a lot of hours I don’t mind it as I love my job.

  5. I absolutely relate to this. I talk business all of the time, I’m constantly seeking inspiration, and I love every moment of it. As long as it’s healthy, I think it’s OK to be in love with your business. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  6. Thanks so much for this post Ashley. I’m planning to freelance in the future but since I’m only 19 and still attending college I think I’ll try to save up first. And educate myself. I admit I know little about freelancing but the idea really appeals to . I like to handle my own schedule. I hope you get to read more again πŸ˜‰ And good books hopefully. πŸ™‚

    Paula M. @ Her Book Thoughts! recently posted: Bookish Thoughts #006: ‘them 1 star reviewers’
  7. Wow! I so get it. Even during my “me” time, I find myself noticing designs/inspiration everywhere for projects I am working on. I usually take a pic or write down what inspired me so I can go back to my “me” time. The creative brain is so hard to turn off. I really love how you explained the difference between client work & fun work. I often find that when I am doing the fun work, I get inspiration for the client work! Thanks for the great post!

    Brandy recently posted: She…
  8. Oh man, this is my day 100%. I barely make money right now, but I work on this all the time. When people ask me what my hobby is – NoraConrad.com, when people ask me what my job is, NoraConrad.com.

    It’s all one big blur, but at the same time I love that my passion and work are the same thing!

    Nora Conrad recently posted: Why Your Blog Needs a Plan
  9. I feel like this can be true for many IT people in general. It’s just so easy for us to continue working, even from home πŸ™‚ I don’t usually continue with my job’s work when I’m at home. Instead I jump into my hobby coding that I happen to make money by doing haha. I just love coding so much I don’t get sick of it doing it so often πŸ™‚

    Stephanie@ThesePaperHearts recently posted: I’m Going to BEA and The Bloggers Conference!
  10. It is a really blurry line when your passion and work are so closely related! Thankfully the job I get paid to do stays at work because I don’t have a choice. πŸ™‚

    Blogging is work and I’m starting (after 5 years!) to learn just how much. I’m getting myself organized and whipping my blog into shape. I’m not near workaholic stage yet but can see it happening.

    All the work you do is greatly appreciated! The book community was changed when you came in on the scene!

    Stephanie @ Once Upon a Chapter recently posted: Compulsion by Allison Brennan *Stephanie’s Review*

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