in Thoughts

Working And Freelancing

It’s no easy feat.

Working and freelancing at the same time, if not done and managed properly, can burn you out, deprive you of precious sleep, and mess you up really badly. But if done right, it’s an opportunity for accelerated and learning and exponential growth. In a nutshell, that’s what I’m trying to accomplish.

I’ve recently completed my degree and started working in a Digital Innovation Studio. I’ve been there for slightly more than a month and am really enjoying my work. While it is mentally exhausting, it’s also extremely interesting and fulfilling. No regrets whatsoever.

The thing is, right before school ended for me in May’13, I challenged myself by agreeing to take on a freelance design job that would have me putting in several hours every day on top of my full-time job up to the end of 2013. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into.

“Work is tiring, work is tough.”

I ended up going to work for 8 hours every day, coming home dead tired, having to work through the night till two to three in the morning to get my design work done for the freelance job. On top of that, I also had to factor in my twice weekly dance training sessions that more often than not, left me physically exhausted for the rest of the day, and pretty much zonked out the next day.

It was really tiring at first, but I’ve since gotten quite used to the current pace of things. I guess it’s really all about better time management, greater focus and increased productivity.

While there have been times where I found myself questioning why I even chose to take up such heavy workloads, working and freelancing at the same time does have its fair share of benefits.

I’ve learnt so much in the past two months, definitely more than what a normal job can offer. My full-time job has me learning more about design thinking frameworks, user experiences, product management and innovation on a daily basis. While my freelance job has me meddling with user experience and web design through the night. All this goes on with me constantly trying to manage my time better and increase my productivity.

One thing I’ve realized is that I’ve been making better use of empty pockets of time, that used to go to waste. You see, I used to laze about and not do anything if I had half an hour to spare. Not any more. Even if I don’t find myself doing something work related, I try to make a conscious effort to spend my time more productively.

I’ve also started using several productivity apps like Asana and Evernote. Asana helps me to keep track of every thing that I’ve got to be on top of. And Evernote helps me to collate and curate my thoughts within a single ecosystem that’s accessible on my iPhone and my Macbook Pro.

I might actually write a post on how the two apps have helped me boost my productivity greatly over the past two months. You really should give them a try if you’ve not done so yet. They’re both free to use.

I actually started writing this post because I wanted to inspire others who’re thinking of working full-time and freelancing at the same time but are afraid to take the first step, but I’ve realized that it slowly evolved into a collection of thoughts that I’ve been meaning to pen down to look back on in the future.

There is a possibility that I’d be reading this very post two to three months down the road thinking what a fool I must’ve been to consider working and freelancing at the same time.

Well, you’ll never know if you never try.

  • Great post about how to use your time in all different things… Once you get used to it, like you said, it gets easier. Keep going!

    • Thanks Jorge! I’m still trying to find a nice balance between work and rest.

      • Sure thing! Have you done your time budget and zeroed that out?

        • Not quite. Do you do that on a regular basis?

          • I have started to, thanks Dan Miller for that. It’s pretty much just giving every hour a name. Through the summer, I wanted to have 3 different projects going. With a post from John and the time budget, I realized that is truly impossible to do. I want to give my all to what I am doing. So I canceled one project and will probably put another on hold and just dive into the blog and my full time job at church for the summer. That paired with some financial goals I have should do it. Will see where I am over by the fall and re-analyze.

          • That sounds awesome! I like the concept of giving every hour a name. I should probably try that out. You’re doing an awesome job with your blog! I like how you managed to segment it into English and Spanish. 😉

          • Thanks Daniel. It’s been a real pain with the Spanish and English. I sort of wrestled with that… But I have too many friends in the Spanish and I couldn’t leave them out. I’m finding out the right split of things. Some posts do work well in English and Spanish. Some just don’t and you don’t see them. I’ve also seen how the Spanish or Latin people like Facebook better than twitter. So, I leveraging that. I link mostly the Spanish side with Facebook and the English side through twitter and some google plus which I’m getting a hang of. With all that said, you could see how the blog project is enough to have along my full time job!

          • No worries! At least you’ve gotten the layout and frameworks down pat, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that, and like John says, just focus on producing quality content as often as you can. hehe

          • Agreed.

          • 😉