Arabela and Elle of the Weekend Creative agency, Per Our Last Email podcast, and Little Sunday Studio are living the dream. They are running three insanely successful brands AND they get to do it all together, shoulder-to-shoulder with their best friend.
While listening to the podcast this week, I was impressed with both the way they complement each other and how easily they accommodate their differences. Elle, for example, is an early bird. She likes to get up early, get to work, and wrap up by 5. Arabela, on the other hand, is your quintessential night owl. She works best with a late start, putting more hours in at the end of the day, even when it means burning the midnight oil.
These different schedules can sometimes leave both women feeling like they’re not pulling their weight, but overall, they’ve found ways to make it work.
For me, listening to the podcast after 10 p.m. (when I work best) after getting up at 8 a.m. (the latest I can wake up and still be ready to work around 9 a.m.), it was an important reminder: <tweet-link>9 to 5 may be the cultural working norm, but that doesn’t mean it has to work for me.<tweet-link>
Heck, if I’m not going to do the things that make me most productive, why am I even freelancing in the first place?
Keeping traditional business hours has always been one the ways I’ve tried to meet the hustle-culture, go-getter entrepreneur persona. But, as I’ve come to realize over the past few months, it’s killing my productivity and energy.
Even though I start work on time, I spend most of the day fighting to stay focused and productive. I work out and eat dinner around 5, maybe watching an episode or two of TV, then I go back to work to finish everything I wasn’t engaged enough to finish earlier. And surprise surprise, I get way more done in those late hours than I did earlier. High off that success, I go to bed late and try to get my eight hours in (Spoiler: I don’t). So then the next day, I’m unmotivated AND tired and the cycle continues.
Throw in social events, unexpected interruptions, and working my side gig and burnout is just a bad day away. I’m also really frustrated that I can’t just seem to focus when I “need to” and keep to a healthier schedule.
If this sounds at all familiar, I’m sending you virtual hugs. I’m also giving you the reminder every freelancer needs every now and then: <tweet-link>You define your success. As long as you are meeting your responsibilities, how/when/where you work is unimportant.<tweet-link>
For some, that means greeting the sun and quitting early. Others, like me and Arabela, work best with late mornings and late nights. You can use naps to bridge early mornings and late nights. Or work fewer days with longer hours.
And this doesn’t just go for your own work time. Don’t be afraid to ask clients to accommodate your needs, the same way you compromise for them. If your meetings are often too early/late, for example, ask to reschedule. While it’s best to stick within their scheduled work hours, find a time that works better for you. You don’t have a boss to answer to, so give yourself the opportunity to perform at your best with the schedule you need.
As a final note, I want to offer a bit of encouragement for anyone who feels like they can’t focus or be productive until they hit a certain point of the day. According to “Why We Sleep” by Dr. Matthew Walker, our prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for logical reasoning and focused thinking, follows your natural rhythm. When you wake up too early for your body’s schedule, your prefrontal cortex takes longer to kick into gear, leaving you foggy and unfocused. So, to work with a clear, motivated mind, pay attention to what it’s asking for.
Listen to Arabela and Elle’s full story here, where they talk about building strong business partnerships, working with the right clients, and how they got involved with freelancing.
Connect with them online or through social media here: