I love Autumn. There’s nothing like the first time I feel a slight chill in the air in the mornings. As a Brit, I’m almost programmed to yearn for warm and cosy things. As a freelancer, though, there are certain autumn organisation considerations to make, all of which I’m going to talk you through today.
I find summer to be quite an unproductive time of year for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still do the work, but I don’t do it with my usual military efficiency. There’s a reason my friends call me Monica, and it’s not because my hair gets frizzy in the humidity.
Not quite sure what I mean? I spent an entire day, which compromised of two conference calls, sitting in a paddling pool this summer.
If you’re a parent, freelancing will look even more fragmented. Many of my freelancer friends who are parents have had to take huge chunks of time off to facilitate for their children being at home.
Regardless of your situation, autumn, for all of us, represents a time of bedding down and getting stuff done ahead of the festive period.
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Adjusting your work style
I’ve been known to go for a run before I start work in the summer. This isn’t something I typically do in the autumn/winter. In fact, I often exercise at lunchtime (or you know, not at all).
I also wake up a bit later. Many of you will know I wake up at 5am a lot, I’m a bit looser on this in the winter for various reasons. Mainly, it’s because I struggle a lot with seasonal depression (SAD) and adding a 5am wake-up call into the mix isn’t always what my body wants. Sometimes it is, but I’m just a bit more flexible to what I need.
Sit down and think about how your mood and behaviours change with the seasons. We all have idiosyncracies when it comes to the changing weather. Write down what you’d like to achieve – a later wake up time, an earlier finish, a longer lunch, then plan your weeks to suit your shifting workstyle.
A work style tip
You don’t have to available all the time. Luckily we’re coming out of the #hustle phase and into the slow-working phase and I’m so here for it.
I’m guessing you work for yourself for a very specific reason, don’t forget what that reason is. Each week I update my email signature and my Slack status (most of my client work is done over Slack) with the times I’ll be working. If somebody asks me a question outside of that time frame, I feel no pressure to respond until I’m back.
And hey, I still have clients. The world has not imploded and what’s more: people respect it.
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I prefer to do an autumn clean over a spring clean. I feel a lot more homely in the autumn; like I want everything to be just so. It’s not a feeling I get in the spring time.
I also can’t work in an unclean home (hello, Monica). If you’re like me, outside of your work try to schedule some time for home-related jobs. This can be difficult, especially if you’re somebody who likes to compartmentalise your home and work life, but I see myself as lucky to be able to work from home.
I prefer to do my house jobs during the day, so that I don’t have to eat into my evenings and weekends and I try to focus on one room each day, spending about half an hour. It won’t work for everyone, but I prefer to see it as a perk of working at home and it gives me the freedom to have more time in the evenings.
Getting out and about
There’s a local deli that I love to work from. It has juices, coconut lattes and avocado on toast; everything my basic millennial self yearns for.
Come autumn, though, I find myself staying in more and more. I use excuses like it’s raining, I can’t possibly go out and next minute I haven’t been out for a week.
Having a dog has really helped with that for me. If you don’t have a dog, though, I’d recommend going for a walk in the morning (autumn mornings are always so peaceful) or taking yourself out to brunch.
Also, go Christmas shopping, food shopping, get your haircut or your eyebrows waxed outside of evenings and weekends. Don’t put yourself through that torture if you don’t have to.
I know WFM guilt is real but so is driving round and round the carpark on a Saturday with every other human being on planet earth. Pick your freelancer battles.
Oh, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back – if that isn’t reason to go out, I don’t know what is.