The Pros and Cons of Freelance Flexibility
Many freelancers have unique workspaces, either by design or by necessity. But as I sit at my coffee table writing this piece and experimenting with different word processors along the way, I realized something: I’m doing this my way!
There are the obvious benefits of self-employment, like no half-hour time limit on lunch breaks, assuming you start work before lunch, or a computer timing every second your spend in the bathroom. But lately, it’s the smaller things that have left me feeling more free.
I’m not forced to use a computer set up the way someone in management told the IT department to do it, everything is set the way I like it and no web sites are blocked by a company. Thinking back of working in cubicles, I remember some fierce restrictions. One place I worked in forbid the use of web-based e-mail (What?!? I can’t use Gmail here?!?)
Ditching The Man means no one dictates whether I use a Mac or a PC, the software I use to do my job and I don’t have to worry about getting issued a cell phone with all the features locked-down.
I can completely re-arrange my work area without having to submit a formal request and then waiting a week to see if it’s approved or not.
But then a question dawned on me: just because I can, does that mean I should?
This leads me to the Con issue of the unlimited flexibility. As I experiment with the bare-bones text-editors Leo suggested, I also have to own up to the fact that I’m spending more time tinkering, and less time working. Or worse, playing with all the features on my phone that weren’t locked to make sure I only use it for company business.
Creating a better system to organize documents is great, as long as it doesn’t become a new procrastination tool (“No, I can’t start a new project until I have a system in place for it!”)
Sometimes simplifying isn’t really simplifying if the process is more work than using what we already have.
So, as someone whose self-employed, it’s time to consider cracking down on my employee and setting aside tinkering and full-on organizing time in my schedule, in order to curb some of my obsessive-compulsive tendencies. That time toying with new software, ideas or systems can be valuable, as long as it’s not taking away from tasks at hand.
For example, I’m finding this text editor (JDarkRoom) kind of inspiring, with it’s Apple II-like look. Plus, I don’t need to worry about it being compatible with the company’s system, because I am the company!