Time Management for Freelancers: My Wired Article
by Chris Hardwick on December 23, 2008
I have the nerdly pleasure of writing for Wired about every other month. This piece chronicles 6 weeks of my life trying to implement time management programs as a freelancer. It was super fun to write and I ACTUALLY LEARNED STUFF IN THE PROCESS. I sincerely hope you enjoy it. If you have a need for instant gratification or a bizarre magazine phobia then start reading it here:
Diary of a Self-Help Dropout: Flirting With the 4-Hour Workweek
Time-management books command huge swaths of bookstore shelf space and sell tens of thousands of copies a year, but I always figured they applied more to stapler-stealing cubicle jockeys than someone like me. I am a freelancer. My services are available to anyone at any time. In a former life I was probably a whore. In this one, I am responsible for two cartoon voice-overs, three writing jobs, a movie soundtrack, my stand-up comedy act, TV hosting gigs, and half of a musical-comedy duo. Don’t get me wrong; in this economy, I’m grateful for the work. But without any kind of 9-to-5 structure, it’s a lot to keep track of.
So how do I handle it? Poorly. My days are like eBay shipments: a few tangible things and a whole lot of packing peanuts. I obviously need help being the boss of me. So I decided to try an experiment: I’d spend two weeks absorbing, in succession, three well-known productivity systems and see if I could find one that worked for those of us who count income in 1099s instead of W-2s. I already owned David Allen’s Getting Things Done; Gina Trapani, editor of the blog Lifehacker, further recommended Julie Morgenstern’s Never Check E-Mail in the Morning and Timothy Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. That made three, and three examples is all you need for a magazine article.