Ah! The grass is always greener on the other side. If you are in the corporate world, you dream of working for yourself either as a consultant or having your own business. As a consultant or business owner, you long for the simplicity of an 8-5 job with its predictable income, insurance, and assumed stability. The dream of escaping corporate drudgery to freelance is often envisioned with copious free time, barrels of money, setting your own schedule, recovering vacations lost to corporate deadlines, quality time spent with the children, and cutting the yard while advising your client via cellphone for an outrageous hourly fee. The truth of the matter is that a consultant/freeagent has to plan for 20% more time than a regular employee. Yes, that means working for yourself you should plan for a 6 day work week OR 5 ten and half hour work days.
Attitudes change also. The corporate world might have some flexibility in hours. Some people may work 7-4 while others work 10-6 but the world generally expects the business to be open 8-5. When you work for yourself, the world generally expects you to be open 24/7. The world is also shrinking. Right now I am working on a project for a client who is 6 hours ahead of me. That means their day is over one hour from now and if I want that critical progress payment I have one hour to show them the milestone has been met. A couple of weeks ago, I was working with a client 11 hours ahead of me. I also had a client whose corporate offices were 8 hours behind me while their US offices where 3 hours behind me but I received the work through another office which was 1 hour behind me. If you do not set your business hours then it is easy to be sucked into world time and you can easily find yourself trying to be that 24/7 person (ie. exhausted). As a 24/7 person, if you work from your house, you could find clients coming to your door to interrupt dinner, find you in your pajamas, or sunbathing naked in the backyard. Set hours! Most importantly, respect the hours and keep them. If you declare an 8-5 day, you had better be working 8-5. Setting communication hours for IM, email, and phone will also help your productivity (I don’t follow any of these suggestions).
Now, time to defy the laws of physics and make an impossible amount of progress in the next hour. Thank goodness for the television babysitter!