If you’ve ever had a job, you probably know that feeling that creeps up on you coming Sunday evening. That sadness that you start to feel when you realize the weekend is over and another week is about to begin.
But what happens when you are self-employed? A freelancer? When you get to control your own schedule.
In other words – What is it like when weekends don’t mean much?
As a self-employed person, I deal with work anxiety every day. Weekend is not the sign of a break, and Monday does not feel like a new start.
That disconnect people with jobs manage to achieve when the weekend arrives, that “checking out” thing, isn’t as easy for entrepreneurs. We often think about work at different times, and these times are not constricted to the classic work week.
The entrepreneurial battle
The entrepreneurial battle is fought every day. My Monday morning feeling is happening every single day of the week. Not to say I’m feeling miserable or stressed everyday, but it is challenging. Because no one is telling me what to do, no one is also telling me when to stop, relax or take a day off.
It’s just me against myself.
Too much time = Don’t do as much
That’s a big problem for productivity when you are self-employed. Tasks often tend to get done in the time allotted to them. When having a large amount of time, people tend to use that time to complete the work they set out to do.
This could be a catch, because when there is no set deadline, or if the deadline is made up by you, you might be easier on yourself and take longer to finish projects. This is one of the biggest challenges for the ‘working at home’ style.
How to overcome these challenges
Keeping a sane schedule
Maintaining a sane schedule is one of the best methods I found to surviving this ‘weekend has no meaning’ problem. Pretending that you have a regular schedule will help you balance work and life and use your energy correctly.
Tell me if this sound familiar: I have this great idea for my blog or my business and I wanna start working on it at 9pm. This thing might take me a few hours to finish. I’m so excited about this idea I want to start working right now and not stop till it’s done.
When I was first starting out I would run to my computer, no matter the time or what I was doing, and do it immediately.
This is an amateurish approach.
Nowadays, I try to restrict my work to the hours in the day I decided in advanced to work on. This might be less relevant to young 20 year olds than to married people or those with kids, but it’s a good habit to have. If you feel like you work better at night, than decide that this is your schedule. Whatever you decide, though, the point is sticking to it consistently.
I’ll add my own opinion regarding people who feel like they’re more productive working at 3am than during what we call “normal” hours:
I believe working a crazy schedule is always less effective than keeping a basic healthy schedule of waking up early and getting a good night sleep.
Burning the midnight oil, pulling all-nighters or working non stop for 24 hours does not impress me, because I’m sure you could have gotten the same amount of work done in half the time if you got a good night sleep and worked during the best hours for your body.
Treat it like you would a job
One of the best mental notes I keep in the back of my head is the fact that while we work in an office or any type of “regular” job, we never just stop working because we don’t feel like it. So why is it ok to do it for your own work?
I wrote more extensively about this here.
Me and my wife
My wife has a job. She works standard hours, Monday through Friday. Having a partner who is not experiencing the same schedule as I do could have been a challenge, but I’ve learned to use it as sort of a guide. I try to follow her schedule as best as I can and that way I am able to stay sane and not lose myself working crazy hours at crazy times.
I use my time wisely when she’s at work so I can spend time with her when she’s home. This turned out to be a great trick for me.
So how do I feel when the weekend ends?
I get excited, because I have rested appropriately and now a new week comes and I can again work on the things I love and do what I’m passionate about.
I’d say that’s a pretty good feeling.