There are two types of people in this world: people who like the structure of a 9-5, and those who prefer to set their own hours. Until last year, I was a strict 9-5 gal who hated working from home (I love a bit of water cooler chat), and if I’m honest, stable was my middle name. Then a cute thing like COVID-19 happened and suddenly I was forced to leave my job, move back across the world to Sydney, and I’ve been living the contract life ever since.
Do I love it at all times? Nope. But let me tell you, sweet friends — you learn a lot about yourself when you suddenly don’t have a boss to answer to and take up a life of leisure. Or, as the case was for me, a life of freelancing.
The thing is, along the way, I’ve learned that a little bit of free time never hurt anybody, and suddenly being the master of your own schedule isn’t so bad either. In fact, it’s pretty awesome. I know it isn’t forever, so while I can, I’m making the most of it.
Keep reading to find out all the best and, shall we say, character-building aspects of ditching the full-time grind and going it alone.
1. I love a bit of time off
This sounds obvious, but for a lot of people, taking the time to just chill out and have fun is easier said than done. I’ve always enjoyed taking annual leave (obviously) but taking time off when you don’t have a job to return to is a whole different story. I’m not going to tell you how to relax, but personally, I find taking time to go for a walk outdoors when i feel cooped up is key to enjoying my relaxation time.
2. I’m a pro at procrastinating away a day’s worth of hours
Some days, it just doesn’t work out. And you know what, that’s okay. If you’re freelancing, then hitting your deadlines is always a must — but on those days when you just have bits and bobs to do, procrastination is simply unavoidable. And I’m okay with that.
3. After procrastinating, commuting is life’s biggest time suck
The first thing I noticed when I dove into my new freelance life was that it felt like there were more hours in the day.
Even a modest half-hour commute to and from work takes so much time from your day — between the literal commuting part, but also the getting yourself presentable for the outside world part. At first, I slobbed hard. But quickly, I decided it was better for my own mental health to get up in the morning, shower, and put real clothes on (yep, activewear counts).
4. Life is, quite literally, what you make it
You know those people who say their meteoric career progression was just a case of “right place, right time”? Firstly, it’s a lie (those people probably work hard behind the scenes, so don’t be fooled). Secondly, that doesn’t really happen when you say CYA to full-time work and decide to go it alone.
Opportunities really are a product of the work you put in. On the one hand, working hard will often result in more opportunities and, therefore, more cash in your wallet. But the flip side is that getting yourself to that point takes serious hustle.
5. Being social takes effort
When you’re not getting your chats throughout the day from colleagues dropping by your desk, it’s easy to go a whole day without speaking to anyone. For me, calling a mate while out for my daily walk or locking in regular catch-ups over a delightful glass of wine are absolute musts. Because remember, playtime is just as important (ahem, or more important) than work time.
6. I thrive when I have a routine
Over the past year, I’ve realised that having a routine is almost more important than physically going into an office, which I once thought was the key to my productivity. But while I seriously miss having a chat throughout the day, forcing myself into a more structured routine has helped to give me a sense of purpose in the day, whether it’s a work day or a free day off. That means, I set a modest alarm most days, make sure I take time out to eat a proper lunch, and try to keep working to the daylight hours.
7. One word: freedom
Whether you’ve punched out of work to live a lavish life of leisure, or are transitioning into a less-traditional work-life, freedom is a huge plus. Creative freedom, complete control over your hourly schedule, or having the space to take a midweek day off to play with the knowledge that you can make up the work outside the 9-5 is just *chef’s kiss*.
Of course, having real freedom hinges on being able to financially afford to let go without the worry of affording rent next month. To help you embrace a life of having fun and feeling free for a whole year, Brown Brothers Moscato is giving away a prize that almost sounds too good to be true (but is very much real, promise).
They’re giving away $50K so you can take a year off. Yep. All you have to do is buy any bottle of wine from the Brown Brothers Moscato, Sparkling Moscato, Cienna, Dolcetto and Syrah or Crouchen Riesling 750mL ranges, hold onto your receipt, then enter over here, on their website. There are also a bunch of instant cash prizes up for grabs, so you can find out all the ways you can win over on their website.Image: 20th Century Fox