I can’t remember exactly when it was. But I do remember how awful I felt.
I was working on a freelance assignment that required me to trawl the Internet for a list of websites. I was to look for certain features and take note of them.
It sounded easy enough when it was proposed to me, and that was the reason I agreed.
Soon, I discovered that the task was tedious, time consuming and no fun at all. I found myself slaving over it at any free time that I had — in the mornings before I went to work, after work and even on weekends. This was on top of the workload of my day job that I already had.
Thinking back, I don’t know how I managed.
But one day, the stress caught up with me. I was doing juggling my work and freelance job at a Starbucks near a college. I parked myself there hoping to get some unsuspecting college students to interview (for an assignment that I had). When there were no students in sight, I was back searching the Internet.
I remember suddenly stopping what I was doing and feeling absolutely depressed. I was on the verge of tears. I thought to myself, “Is the torture of doing something I totally hate really worth the money? I should really be doing what I want and enjoy. It’s the weekend for goodness’ sake!”
The payment I got for that job was honestly not worth the effort I had put into it. But funnily enough, that painful experience didn’t stop me from accepting more freelance jobs after that. No matter how much or little I got paid in return, regardless of how I enjoyed or hated the jobs.
It took me only a few months ago to realise that when I already had enough on my plate, I should just refuse any “extra” work. Things got so busy that I missed my freelance deadlines and I felt awful about it.
So in the end, I just told the people who hired me that I couldn’t commit anymore. I don’t think they were too happy about it. I haven’t heard from them since. And I also didn’t mention the payment for the amount of work that I had done.
I’m not about to ask for it because I feel that I don’t deserve it. I can’t take the money, I would feel really bad about it.
So it has been a couple of months since I am “free” of freelance jobs. And guess what? I’m so much more happier because of it.
Sure, I could use the extra money to support my online shopping addiction 😛 and I do have more free time now. I spend my nights reading books for pleasure or watching DVDs or my favourite TV shows (downloaded/on tv).
If I’m on the computer at night, I’m not working on an article (unless I WANT to) or a freelance job. I’m surfing the Internet for whatever topic that interests me.
My nights are purely ME and family time. If I NEED to meet a deadline, I’d rather turn in early and wake up at 4.30am to do it. Daytime is for work and night time is for rest, which is the way it should be. But don’t be surprised, I used to work day and night, whenever I felt like it. Very bad habit, really.
Now I’m training myself to be disciplined. To be as productive and efficient in the day and to enjoy myself at night. So far, so good. The fact that I’m blogging now (during my well-deserved down time) means I am doing something right, right?
I have to give credit where it is due. The 4-hour Work Week has inspired me to make changes to my re-balance my work/life. The book has a lot of useful tips but I have benefited most from the ones that suggest that I eliminate distractions, weed out the time-consuming and boring and delegate where possible.
I’ll talk about the book some other time — what I like and dislike about it — WHEN I am actually done with it.