Do you remember December 2019? It seems like ages ago, doesn’t it? Well, let me refresh your memory:
- You were probably all stressed out thinking of last-minute Christmas shopping, so you’d find yourself scrolling through online shops to see if you could find the perfect gift without actually having to go out and spend endless hours searching.
- At work, it was awful. No matter if you were a freelancer or employed. Why is it that all companies need to get 80% of the work done in the very last month of the year? Wouldn’t it be enough if we just worked in December then?
- If you were a freelancer, you were probably reviewing how the year had gone. What you did right and what you could change. You were planning out your next year – 2020, ahem. At least, you were planning it in your mind, ’cause you most likely had hardly any time to sit down, reflect, and write down your plan for the next quarter.
- And on top of that, you had to decorate your home so that it looked like a peaceful place – even though you only felt like screaming out loud.
Now, fast forward to the present. How does last year sound now? How much do you miss that Christmas? Who would have told us, right? The problems back then were lack of time, family meetings that you knew weren’t going to be as peaceful as you could expect, and being stuck in a lot of work you’d wanted to have ready like ages ago.
This year, everything is so odd that we’re hoping to get up one morning and realize that it was all just a bad dream. We don’t know if we’ll be able to celebrate as we used to. We don’t know if we’ll meet our people for Christmas Eve. You may have lost your job. You may have lost someone. And we don’t really know when all of this is going to stop.
But you know what’s certain? That we’re still here. That we’ve survived. That what seemed like a “can’t do” turned into a “will have to.” We were told to work from home, not to go outside, to homeschool our kids, to stop traveling. Even worse: We were told not to meet our friends and family if we loved them. Not to hold each other. No hugs, no kisses, no nothing.
Say what???? Can you imagine such a dramatic situation if this were a movie? 100% unrealistic, right? And yet, we’re living it. Right now. And we’re surviving. We’re trying to make the best out of it. Everything we took for granted. That’s what we miss now.
What can freelancers and bloggers learn from 2020?
Pivoting – If there’s something that we’ve managed to master this year is to pivot. We’ve adapted our timelines, our marketing strategies – and even our tone of voice! We couldn’t keep on working on business as usual as if nothing had happened. And not only because that would have come out as inconsiderate. Nope. We were feeling different, too. And we still are different. Something clicked inside when we realized that our daily life was going to do a full 180.
Prioritizing – We’ve also learned that we were doing too much unnecessary stuff. And we only learned that because we saw ourselves forced to stop. At least us parents. We had to let go. What used to be an 8-hour workday became the most productive 2 hours – if we were lucky – of our lives! The word “stress” got another meaning. And no, we couldn’t go outside and meet other people after work.
So we had to learn to prioritize. To distinguish the important from the unimportant tasks that we had been doing without even questioning them. What do we really need to get done to move forward? What can wait? What should completely disappear? If you’re a blogger, ask yourself this question: How many tasks do you do that wouldn’t change anything at all if you stopped doing them? So why do you keep doing them?
Flexibility – We soon had to realize that planning long-term wasn’t going to take us very far. We had to suffer continuous interruptions. And we could never be 100% certain of what would change from one day to the other. We were all hoping those changes wouldn’t affect our or our people’s health. So we’ve learned to be flexible – the hard way. Also, we’ve learned that we have to give ourselves some puffer. We’re so used to plan our days and weeks so full-packed that getting every to-do item checked off the list has become mission impossible.
Batching. This one can help us. A lot. And not only during this period of pandemics – which I really hope is a one-time thing!! Getting repetitive tasks done ahead of time and setting them on autopilot can do wonders. I’m an advocate of batching, which is just setting aside a specific period of time to work on just ONE type of activity.
What you get with batching is getting your mind to focus, without any other distractions. Let’s say you publish a blog post or a podcast episode per week: Batching will help you get a month’s worth of content in a couple of hours! The next thing you need to do is just schedule the content you created and let it auto-publish every week – It’s like magic!
Learn How to Start Batching Easily
Recap – What we’ve learned this year
As freelancers, we’ve learned that:
- we need to prioritize and get the really important work out as soon as possible.
- if we want to reach our goals, we need to continue planning but still be flexible for any changes that may appear.
- batching to get work done ahead of time can give us that flexibility we need to change our daily routines without it affecting our business.
And you know what? This may have become crystal clear due to COVID-19, but it’s something that we should always be applying ’cause we never know what tomorrow may bring. So take a break from the typical December stress and start putting into paper what you’d like to accomplish next year.
Do you know the nice side of December? The New Year is awaiting, all full of new chances. It’s a fresh start we embrace with so much hope and expectations that it makes the all-stressed-out person that you were in December be a positive woman full of energy and plans.
This blog post might be interesting for you: Batching 101 for Freelancers & Bloggers
What have you learned this year? Leave a comment below and let us know!