What A Day Looks Like

I’ve officially been working from home for 2 years now. Okay, maybe a little less. Those first few months were basically Skyrim, caffeinated beverages, and Taco Bell. It’s taken me some time to hit my stride and find a good schedule that works for me and there are still days when all of that gets thrown out the window. There’s some normalcy now though — I’m not always on the lookout for a new project (I’ve got steady work with one company, plus here-and-there work with one writer) and that makes things a whole lot easier.

working

The day starts whenever I feel like starting. I know, there are some people thinking how lucky that is and that they’d sleep in. Well. I’m a morning person. “Sleeping in” usually falls somewhere around 8am.

First thing I do is start the tea kettle or coffee maker. Haven’t been drinking as much coffee recently. Don’t get concerned. It’s out of laziness. Grinding the beans, yada yada. Filling the kettle with water and having tea (peppermint or lemon and ginger) is so much faster.

Next I get down to work. I handle a lot of social media and blogging duties for a company and its CEO, so I make the rounds on Twitter seeing what needs responding and if there’s anything breaking in the world of startups and technology that needs retweeting. I keep in contact with guest bloggers, edit and schedule their posts, and keep all of that in order. Sometimes there’s a lot of work to do, sometimes it’s normal, everyday duties. There are times when a big project falls out of the sky and then I tackle it. I like the steadiness of knowing what needs to be done every day with the occasional new thing. Keeps me on my toes.

That’s all before noon. I stop and have lunch, either here or out if I’ve made a lunch date with a friend. I use early afternoon to get chores done around the house or to run errands and usually begin prepping dinner in there somewhere.

By the time all of that is done, it’s early evening and I’m usually double checking to see if I need to respond to anything else or do anymore scheduling. I’ll check on those things periodically through the evening if I’m waiting on something important or if I see a notification pop up.

Now, all of this can change a lot when I’ve got a manuscript to edit. Those have a “fall out of the sky” nature to them as well and when I get them, I get them and they have to be done. I’ve got a great working relationship with an author and I’ve edited a few of her books and done a tiny bit of ghostwriting. Those are a fun change from the stuff I’m normally working on and a great way to earn a little extra.

That’s my workday. Roughly. I never know what’s going to happen and sometimes on a whim I go looking for some new, quick work and that’s fun, too.

The best part of this whole thing is that I have time. Time to do the things I want. All the travel, writing, and side projects I’ve worked on recently would not have been possible if I hadn’t decided to try working from home. I’m still learning how this freelance thing works, but I have picked up quite a bit over the past couple years. I’ve got a few posts planned about that and I welcome your questions if you have any! This was a scary step, quitting a traditional job to do who knows what. But you know what? It can be done. I’m not stuffing envelopes or answering phones (what some people assume), I’m making more than I did at my old office job, and I have so much more freedom.

Questions about freelancing? Do you work from home or at some other non-traditional office job? How do you manage your time?

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9 Responses to What A Day Looks Like

  1. Ben says:

    Quite a number of people I know have taken the plunge, and the more I hear about freelance work, the more it appeals. However the prospect of leaving a full time job still feels high-risk.

    It’s interesting to read about how your experience is going.

    Cheers.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks for reading, Ben! It was scary and since I quit without even a whiff of new employment in the air, it was a little stupid. It all worked out in the end.

  2. Marisa says:

    Your day sounds amazing. I’m more jealous of your work from home success than I was previously. I do have a freelance question for you, and I don’t know if anyone can truly answer it, but I’m going to throw it at you anyhow.

    Sometimes, freelance clients are ideal little angels who respond quickly and know what they want. Other times, it makes you wonder if you’ve signed up to work with a spoiled toddler. How do you sift through the awful clients to get good ones?

    • Elizabeth says:

      I’m not sure that anyone ever gets that totally figured out. Early on I had some BAD clients. Like, a manuscript written in French, thrown to the Google Translate blender, and handed to me to sift through a colander and turn into a best seller. Was that in the job description when I applied? Nope.

      Paying attention to the details in the job description has been key in helping me weed out the bad clients. This isn’t foolproof, but generally if someone puts in the time to tell you exactly what they want from the beginning, you can count on them to be thorough throughout the working relationship. I no longer take jobs with a 3-line description or ones that contain any glaring typos. That may be a little harsh and I’m sure I’ve missed some decent work along the way, but you’ve got to have some standards. When I first got started I felt like I had to take whatever I could get (and to a certain extent, that was true — to get my name out there and get a good rating), but now that I’m a little more established I don’t feel pressure to apply for or take every bit of work that’s thrown my direction.

      I hope that helps!

  3. Katie says:

    Sounds great, thanks for sharing!

    Do you still wake up wanting to write, or is it just… work?

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hmm. I don’t wake up wanting to write. That’s never been part of it for me. I need to and there’s a difference there. The work I do is very different from my own writing, so it doesn’t really fall into the same category. However, when I was doing a full-time developmental edit on one novel for someone I had ZERO creative energy left over. I didn’t want to write then.

  4. Urban Wife says:

    This is so neat to read about. I love getting another perspective on what someone’s work day looks like especially when it’s a non-traditional job. Maybe you’ve already covered this and I completely missed it but how do you feel your creative writing (not job related) has improved in the past 2 years? I am so in awe of people like you who take risks in pursuing careers and jobs they truly enjoy! :)

  5. Elizabeth, I loved reading about your day… your career… your realistic take on keeping things in check and balancing work with home. I’m in the same boat (mine is only a lil’ dinghy at this point) but I just got offered a project through 2015 (woohoo!) and I love the freedom to take on as many or few projects as I want to handle. What a blessing it’s been, as it has been for you!

    My biggest challenge is knowing when to call it a day. Some projects are time driven, while others are ‘up to me’ — the article you shared in your latest Sunday Morning Coffee had an excellent tip on scheduling tasks rather than working from a ‘to-do list.’ I’ll be incorporating that this week, thank you! Congrats on finding your niche.

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