Freelancing Isn’t All About Freedom – You Need a Routine and Focus

bridge-of-sighs-cambridge

I heard a pop and immediately felt the pain.

I thought for sure I’d broken my ankle, but it was just a severe sprain.  An inconsequential play toward the end of a club rugby game kicked off a strange week where I just never got in the groove.

Hobbling around the house on a fat right foot all week, I just didn’t feel like doing anything.  To make things a bit more interesting, the boys were off from school Monday and Tuesday, our daughter was sick Tuesday and Wednesday, and my mother-in-law flew in for a visit on Friday.

Needless to say, I didn’t get much accomplished.

Throughout it all, I realized the importance of sticking to a routine.  On a normal day, I’d get the kids ready for school, freelance for a few hours, eat lunch, tie up loose ends, and hopefully get in a quick workout before the kids returned.  I’d feel productive and satisfied with my day.

On the other hand, last week was all kinds of jacked up and I felt unproductive and lazy.  Obviously taking care of kids and my own well-being is important, but with my normal routine out of whack, it just seemed like I wasn’t getting anything done.

As a full-time employee, your routine is pretty much set for you.  Get up, go to work at a certain time, attend meetings, etc.  As a freelancer or stay-at-home parent, this is no longer the case.  Although I have a lot more freedom over my time, I’ve found that having some sort of structure to my day has been vital.

With my routine disrupted, I only completed two freelancing jobs and made progress on another.  On most weeks, I’d knock one small job a day or several medium-sized jobs a week.  Not to mention, I completely skipped my weekly post!

Part of the reason I missed my post, is that I just didn’t know what to write about.

When I was working, the topics seemed to come a bit easier because I was around people every day and oftentimes these daily interactions would lead to post ideas.  I’d write bits and pieces of posts at work while waiting for a meeting to begin or as a way to pass time and appear busy (you know you do it, too!).

With most days now spent in a quiet house chugging along on the task of the day, my topic well had been running dry.

Then, the other day I was introduced by a client to Sean D’Souza, a marketing strategist and founder of PsychoTactics.  After reading a sampling of his work, I began to think differently about my approach to this blog and other things I’m doing.

One thing he mentioned was to ask your readers straight up what type of content they’re interested in.

Up to this point, our posts have been all over the place.  Some have discussed our personal finance philosophies, investments, passive income strategies, raising kids, current events in our lives, and more recently my first few steps into the world of freelancing.  This site has become a journal of sorts.

But what do you all actually find interesting and useful?

I have a basic idea of what I want to write about moving forward, but I’m curious to learn what you all would like to read or what part of my story you find most interesting.  Knowing this will help me build efforts related to this blog into my daily routine and focus the content a bit more.

So why do you visit this blog?  What insights are you looking for when you spend a few minutes to read a post?  What specific topics are you most interested in (related to the general topic of this site)?

Don’t be shy, I’d love to hear your feedback!

9 thoughts on “Freelancing Isn’t All About Freedom – You Need a Routine and Focus

  1. mrspickypincher says:

    Poor thing! It’s much easier to feel inspired once you’re immersed in a different environment. I know a lot of freelancers use office spaces or go to coffee shops to be around more people, if that helps. But this is very true! You have to set a rigid schedule when you’re your own boss. You can just tinker around online and hope something sticks.

    Like

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      You shouldn’t feel too bad for me, I spent Monday showing my MIL around Cambridge (the picture above is one of the many bridges on the University of Cambridge campus). I should make it a point to get out at least once a week for a change of scenery.

      Like

  2. Maggie says:

    I’ve had several of those funky weeks lately and am trying to snap out of it myself. My blog is all over the place as well, but I don’t see it changing anytime soon. 🙂 People come to read your story. I’m interested in all of your journey. (and cry me a river you get to hang around cambridge!) 🙂

    Like

  3. Graham @ Reverse The Crush says:

    Hey DTG,
    I can certainly relate to those off weeks. Once you slip out of the routine, it’s hard to get back on track for a couple weeks in my own experience.

    I can also relate to jotting down blog post ideas while at work. A lot of my blog posts start off as a note in my phone that I created at work.

    In regards to why I visit this blog, I like your writing style and I think we stand for similar things. I enjoy the freelance updates and to hear how your blog is progressing. I enjoyed hearing about the move and some of the life changes you’ve had to make. I just like the realness and authenticity of your blog. Your story is inspiring. Keep it up.

    Like

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      Thanks, Graham. We’re definitely on the same wavelength and if I’m ever out in your area we’ll need to meet up for sure!

      I’m always jotting down little notes. Sometimes a simple word or phrase sparks a bigger idea. I’ve been experimenting with different writing styles lately just to get some extra practice.

      I’ll probably just keeping doing what I’m doing and write whatever comes to mind.

      Like

  4. Donna says:

    I like your writing style and I like your webpage – easy to read, concise articles, interesting posts about your life in general. I like travel pictures, family-centric posts, posts about how someone did his/her own home improvement, human interest posts, etc.

    I tend to dislike the following (and either skim so quickly that I don’t retain it or just don’t bother reading it to begin with): (1) lengthy posts that take more than 3 minutes to read – like they’re getting paid by the word; (2) blogs that have ads all over the place and look “loud” and “busy”; (3) blogs that you just start reading and get a popup screen with an invitation to follow – I already figured out how to look for the place to put in my email address if I want to follow, that’s how I got there in the first place, so every time a pop up disrupts me when I’m trying to read a post, I get annoyed (esp. on my cell phone where it’s hard to hit the ‘x’); (4) blog posts that are more like ads to get me to buy the blogger’s book, or are full of click bait – e.g., really tired of seeing Personal Capital; (5) posts that really don’t have anything to say, but are there just to fulfill an arbitrary # posts/week; (6) I take the time to write a comment and the blogger doesn’t respond (this doesn’t happen too often, but still, since I don’t really care to comment most of the time and am just doing it to support the bloggers/posts I like…)

    In the beginning, I liked blog posts like “10 ways to pay off debt”, “5 things you must do to retire early”, “How I made $100,000 _____”, “20 side hustles to earn money”, etc., but now I’ve graduated beyond that point (although I can see where someone who just discovered the FIRE community would get some benefit out of it). I also find that I don’t bother with posts that list every bit of monthly income and expenditures – probably would have followed those more closely if I’d found them 20-30 years ago, but I’m too old to retire in my 30s or 40s (that ship already sailed 🙂 ) and I don’t have any debt, so they’re just not that interesting to me.

    I do enjoy some of the posts that have information wrt phone/cable alternatives because I don’t know about that sort of thing.

    Anyway, to answer your question – I don’t have any particular thing I want you to write about, but your blog is one of the first I always read when I sit down to catch up on my reading because you don’t seem to do any of the things I DON’T like. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      Wow, thanks Donna! I’m similar in that I don’t like reading super long posts and that’s why I keep mine fairly short. I also can’t stand those pop up boxes or ads, hopefully I don’t have one!

      I really do appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback. Sounds like I should keep doing what I’m doing. Sometimes it’s tough to stick with it and knowing people actually look forward to reading our posts helps a lot!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s