A lot has happened in the last 18 months, both on a professional level and a personal one. I’ve worked on lots of brilliant projects for some lovely clients, expanded my portfolio a lot – I’ve decided to specialise in map illustration (not exclusively) I’ve met lots of excellent people – many fab local artists and illustrators, painted some dragons, had some exhibitions and have taken part in some great local markets and street fairs. I’ve been to more funerals than I’d have liked too. (I shan’t go into that here)
I’ve also just reached my three year anniversary of being freelance, and it seems to have gone in a flash. I’ve now been freelance longer than I’ve spent in employment, and it’s been a really enjoyable learning curve. I’m happier (and more overworked) than ever. I would recommend it to anyone though, and it’s really not as scary as it seems at first. The fear of having no work, quickly turns into worrying you might have taken on too much.
There’s a few things that being freelance, I’ve had a bit of an ongoing struggle with. Once of which is my routine, and managing to fit in evenings and weekends. From the amount of articles I’ve read about the issue, I get the impression this is a common problem with people who work from home. The monthly planning whiteboard, and calendar have been essential for scheduling work.
Lately, I’ve been trying out some new ways to tackle my constant working – one is a little online time tracking website called ‘Toggl’ (You can sign up to it here) You can set up clients, projects and tasks, and run the timer when you’re working, to track the time you spend on projects.
It’s been really useful in finding how much time I’ve actually been working on a project and also to see how much time I’ve racked up over the course of a day or a week (Or month/year even) After about 8 hours, I know it’s time I should stop working.
|This week’s stats|
|This years stats – I started using it in Feb/March, and spent April painting a dragon (I didn’t track that time)|
Another thing I’m trying to build into my routine is a morning walk – or a walk to work – as I’ve been calling it. After working elsewhere for a few weeks and having to drive to and from work (like normal people do). I realised that I really missed having some time out to think and plan the day ahead. I’ve been doing it for a week and once getting back I’ve found it’s a bit easier to focus on work. It’s also cheaper than renting a studio, and if I task myself with taking a photo every day, it’ll give me a small creative challenge.
Fingers crossed it makes a lasting difference, and becomes habit.