A few weeks before I struck out on my own, I used a pre-scheduled Friday off to have a long-overdue brunch with a friend who has a few freelance years under her belt. We caught up, talked a bit of shop, hit up a few stores, and as we parted ways she joked: “Look, you’ve already got the whole freelancer thing down by spending your Friday afternoon having brunch and shopping. You’ll be fine!”
We laughed, but she had hit on something that I had hoped would be true when I quit my job. That my work-life balance would vastly improve and, with it, my overall mood. Six weeks in, I can report that both are true.
Last Friday, I did something that used to require advance notice, permission from my boss and the loss of a precious vacation day. I took the day off.
In the morning, I went to yoga and took the long way home. It was a sunny, warm day that marked one of the first that made it truly feel as though summer is just around the corner.
I later met a friend at the AGO to catch the Basquiat exhibit before it closed, followed by an iced tea on a patio. The Whitehorse show at Massey Hall rounded out a day where, while I was never far from my phone and so easily accessible by email, I didn’t actually sit at my desk and do so much as a moment’s worth of work.
In recounting my day to a friend, also a small business owner, we agreed that while there are many challenges to working for yourself, one of the greatest advantages is that you aren’t bound by the traditional work week and can take a Friday (or a Tuesday, or whatever day, really) to have a little fun. A last-minute assignment had me spending much of the previous weekend at my desk, so I figured I’d earned the day away from my laptop.
I know I won’t always feel so relaxed about the fluidity in my schedule. A lot of extra time to goof off means I’m not worried about deadlines, and if I’m not worried about deadlines that means I don’t have a lot of assignments, and... you know what that means.
But, when friends ask me how I’m adjusting to freelance life, I tell them about my new contacts, diverse assignments and the joy of having a 30-second commute. But my favourite part is that each day, rather than working my life around shift work and a long commute, can take a different shape. And better still, I’m the one who decides what that shape will be.