- Pankaj Tanwar
3 months back, I quit my job, without much of a plan on what to do next. Some of my friends called me stupid, some of them called me brave..... But I was extremely sure about scaling my freelance career like anything.
I had a decent online presence and a good relationship with my past clients. As I had more free time, I jumped aggressively into freelancing as a full-stack developer and technical writer. And fortunately, I got some really good clients super quickly.
So, by the end of the month, I was building like 8 projects at a time, every single day. And it paid really well.
One of my dear friends, Monarch asked me to share how did I manage it so far so I thought of writing about it.
How I manage 8 projects at a time?
Honestly, I tried many to-do apps and other fancy tricks but nothing seemed to be working for me. So, I came back to the most basic method which I used in my school days, and modified it a bit.
I live alone and my day starts at 5 AM. Before leaving for the gym, I prepare a list of tasks that I need to complete in the decreasing order of urgency. And I have made a beautiful scrum-board on my wall. I write down my tasks on paper and paste them onto the board.
I use the Pomodoro technique to complete my tasks. Simply, I pick a task, set a timer for 25 minutes, and work only on the selected task, nothing else. As I have multiple projects so it's fairly easy to get distracted in between. But this trick has worked very well so far.
Most importantly, I keep a gap of 1-2 hours in between so that I can wrap up unexpected meetings or tasks. I push my meetings to the evening only so that it does not play with my productive time-space.
- I make a list of my tasks before actually start working
- I write on sticky pads and paste it onto my board
- Use the Pomodoro technique
Once a week, I analyze my performance to see if it can be improved. With time, I have figured out, that keeping the tasks as small as possible is the key to clearing the task list.
As we are 25% into the year 2022, I thought I would share my financial journey so far. With-in the first 3 months of freelancing, I've made more than my annual salary at my previous job. Everything was beautiful. I gifted myself a programming setup. I almost paid my family debt. I took my family on a trip. They experienced traveling in flight for the first time in their life. I felt like a proud son.
But, something was wrong!
Although I was managing 8 projects at a time, making really good money but figured out it was silently impacting my mental health. My sleep cycle was completely destroyed. I was doing late-night meetings till 1-2 AM with my clients and waking up early at 5 for the gym. Then again, long day with meetings, coding, and sometimes traveling.
I was exhausted. I was not able to think properly. I was not giving time to my family, my friends, and most importantly, to myself. I knew freelancing is not scalable.
I usually don't take stress but it led me to a loss of mental peace and a very less peaceful time for myself.
Fortunately, I realized it very soon and have taken the steps to fix it. So, I'm ready to crush it, and here is my little plan going forward.
I've left not-so-important freelance projects & clients. I'm building my team and I've hired a couple of folks, to take some of the pressure off my shoulders. I'll continue providing my freelancing services as a full-stack developer and technical blog writer.
Anyways, I will be following the 8-8-8 rule. 8 hours sleep, 8 hours of work, and 8 hours for family, friends, and myself. Let's hope it works!
I've set some soft goals too for April'22
Anyway, I guess some of you know that I'm active on Twitter as @the2ndfloorguy and if you are interested in what an unfunny & strange programmer will do next, see you there!
In case, you are interested to join me, I'm sitting behind firstname.lastname@example.org. Shoot hi and we can talk.
Have a great week. Be safe & happy, and stretch your arms and neck regularly.