Future of Work: Getting Things Done as a Freelancer
Chris Hardwick is a freelance writer, musician, voice over artist, stand up comedian and TV host among other things. That’s a lot of hats to wear and activities to juggle for any mere human. As a remedy to this busy, schizophrenic lifestyle of a freelancer, he recently tried to apply some of the methods of today’s popular self help books to make his work flow more efficient. It’s a humorous (yet informative) side note to our recent discussion about the future of work that sheds light on the unique, hectic but rewarding lifestyle of being your own boss and trying to do it all in the freelance economy.
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.