Getting work done in Quarantine – Be the hole in the doughnut!

Everyone has their most productive time(s). That’s given. I know I am most productive before 8 am, and between 2 and 4 pm. I have no idea why; I just seem to get things done faster then. This doesn’t mean that I don’t work any other time, I mean, I successfully wrote a book between 10 pm and 4 am nearly every day for three months in 2018! You just need to find your inspiration, plan your time and deliver. 

So what happens when you need to work against the regular working hours? I have many acquaintances that are budding entrepreneurs, who excuse themselves from their entrepreneurial work because it’s after working hours. The truth is that in freelancing, working 8-5 is no longer the norm. 

Scrap that time

Now, many will say it’s because they mostly work with international clients whose prime hours fall between 9 pm to 4 am EAT. That’s true, and I have worked with such clients too. 

But what about that job that needs to be ready before normal office time? That quick job that makes or breaks your ability to deliver 100%? I call it the hole in the doughnut.

After the completion of the book, Resilience, I developed a stronger sense of resilience myself, especially in dealing with like-minded editors, and, well, others who tried to outdo me haha. Soon after its launch, I began getting requests to edit, write, create and design. I was still employed at the time, but I could easily do it off my duty hours. I realized that in giving of myself during these odd hours, my clients could deliver 100% I was that hole in the doughnut! 

“We need it ready by morning. Can you hack it?”

“I need this in two hours. Can you help?”

I could have said “No, It’s too short notice,’ but I always felt better every time I delivered before their deadlines. The appreciation that came with it was enough to get me going, and in no time, I had projects lined up, each with its timeline, yet all manageable. 

Put it all down

I got my diary out and made my plan for a regular day, but in the order of their urgency, I was able to schedule a time and work on them. I got home at 6:30 played and bonded with my kids while I had a cup of tea and by 6:45 pm, I got into my study and gave an hour to my work. My DM would take care of the kids and ensure they have their dinner. 

While I’d love to have dinner with the kids, I also appreciate that my youngest daughter eats worse in my presence, so it worked well that I spent the next 40 minutes working out. Hubby would be home from the gym too by this time, so we’d both share a prayer and put the kids to bed. 

From here, we take dinner and work till 11 pm, (unless I have more work which we do till midnight or later)

Again on a regular schedule, we strive for 5 hours of sleep so I’ll be up by 5 to work for another hour or more if I don’t have meetings. 

How do you achieve this? 

  • Focus Focus Focus

I give my work 100% focus. This was initially a challenge, especially when I found myself roaming on the corridors of social media after posting content. When I managed to cut that off and increased my focus, I was able to accomplish so much more in a short time.

  • Procrastination? No thanks!

This was, perhaps, my biggest challenge and one I have battled with for years. I learnt to let myself rest when I needed to, research in a given time and deliver a day or hour early. This way, I was able to churn out work in good time.

  • Deliver gold

The one statement I write with a slightly sour taste in my mouth is ‘don’t hesitate to reach out in case of edits or amendments’ why sour? I’ll be honest with you. No one likes poorly done work. Even your client and when they send it back, it is because it has not met their expectations. Now while I’m known to edit work even months after the final draft and (final payment), I prefer to deliver gold so that the client can proceed with other tasks on his table. While this may not work every time, I have perfected my skills and only get a few edits if any.

Last word?

Be part of every organization you represent. Wearing their tag makes you understand them better and provide the needs they want. Always be available for edits and COMMUNICATE! 

Happy Quarantine. Stay safe! Up your vitamins

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