More tips on freelancing after 9 to 5 and not go crazy

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Michael Martine from Freelance Folder wrote a great article on Balancing Freelancing With A Full-Time Job Without Burning Out. I have some extra advice of my own:

Take Notes

Of course you’re going to come up with ideas for your freelance gigs during your 9 to 5 job, you can’t stop your brain from thinking, but don’t expect to remember everything you thought about during your working hours by the end of the day, so just take notes of everything and review it when you can.
This is pretty basic advice but just make checklists for everything, come up with some kind of system, either being a web service or a piece of software, just write everything down somewhere, your brain is the worst place to store information.

Check email first thing in the morning

I recently started to this, get up 10 minutes earlier and check your email before you leave the house, this way you’ll answer yours clients more frequently and he/she won’t think you’re a night owl (even though you very possibly are!).
If you commute consider getting a mobile device that has email capabilities so that you can minimize the wasted time.

Don’t overwork and save some time for yourself

Realize that you can’t work 7 days a week, 16 hours a day, you’re not superman (or girl), plan your projects wisely and leave some free time for yourself.
I tend to work more on weekends than during the week, this is when I do tasks that are more creative, during the week I do more “maintenance” tasks that don’t demand too much.
Another rule of mine during the week is not to exceed a certain number of hours of consecutive work, unless you’re on a creative streak, set a time limit to go to bed, most certainly the task you’re completing can wait until the next evening, You’ll be thankful the next day after having a decent number of hours of sleep, rather than walking around in zombie mode all day and not being able to continue working on your gig because you’re just too exhausted.

I try to follow these rules as much as I can, but of course there are ectic periods when I just feel overworked, but once the project is over I just take a break from freelancing for a while until I feel like there’s space for it in my life again.

Graphics: JB Insomnia Collection

Acomplishments 2007/2008

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Time to look at the things I wanted to achieve in 2007 list:

  • Drop some weight: In 2003 I lost almost 20Kg. I felt great, but 3 something years later some of that weight is back and I’m starting to feel a little puffy again. – Somehow I forgot about this! Wooops!
  • Find some sort of professional upgrade: this may mean a job change, learn something new. – Done, changed job, dropped OutSystems and embraced PHP
  • Buy a new computer: I cant imagine to continue working with 768MB of RAM for much longer… – Same old machine at home, I’m thinking about getting a mac mini if Apple doesn’t decide to kill it!
  • Buy a new car: my 1997 Fiat Punto did a good job but it’s time to find a replacement. – Done. I drive a Renault Clio 1.5 Diesel
  • Leave my parents house: this could mean move in with somebody or find a place just for myself. – Nope, still here
  • Redesign this blog: and maybe change domain name, It’s about time I let alternative youth die… – Done, already thinking about changing it again

Things I want to accomplish in 2008:

  • Get a membership at a gym, I want to look better
  • Read more books, technical or not, just read more
  • Leave my parents house
  • Go to Sapo Codebits 2008 if it takes place
  • Travel, inside and out
  • Do more freelance work
  • Buy GTA IV when It comes out
  • Make more podcasts
  • DJ somewhere
  • Get some training on something!
  • Spend more quality time with friends and family
  • Be happy

Camp Adventure

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So today I’m going to this camp called Campo Aventura until Saturday, the company I work for is organizing an event so that collaborators get to know each other better as we are always working apart. It sounds like a good idea, I just hope the outdoor activities are not hardcore… it will be a mix of business/outdoor activities, so it should be fun. I just hope it doesn’t rain, or else everything gets kind of screwed up.