Flexibility and Routine

Several years ago, I stated that one of the greatest perks to the freelance writing lifestyle is the freedom of time it affords me. I’m not bound to a traditional 9-to-5 schedule. If I want to enjoy some personal time on a Wednesday afternoon, I can do that. If I want to get some work done late on a Saturday night, I can do that too. This presents a double-edged sword, though, as it also means my life can be incredibly unstructured and unpredictable.

Some people have said that even though entrepreneurs and freelancers have this flexibility, it is still in their best interest to adhere to a regular work schedule. They say this helps to improve productivity and focus. They say it provides greater life-work balance. They say you’ll be all the happier for it. And while there may be some truth to that, I don’t think that a rigid work schedule is for me. However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t value structure and predictability.

Earlier this week, my post highlighting a quote from photographer Tomasz Wagner was featured in Damien Riley’s Blog Safari. In that roundup, Damien comments:

Michael is faithful to his weekly routines. I’m amazed we get along so well because I really struggle with them. Just the same, you should follow his blog because over time, these ritual posts strike gold.

Beyond the Rhetoric is not my primary source of income, at least not directly. What it does help to provide me is a sense of structure in my blogging life. It reinforces my sense of work ethic and dedication, because I know I “need” to publish something new every day (except Saturday). I know I “need” to scour the web for some great posts to share for What’s Up Wednesdays and that I “need” to find an awesome quote for the Sunday Snippet. In a largely free-flowing work life, these anchors offer routine.

Absolutely, I still treasure the independence and flexibility that my career choice has afforded me. That’s why I was initially taken aback by Damien’s assessment. I asked myself whether or not I really am faithful to my weekly routines. I suppose I am, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy some spontaneity too… so long as I can plan for it in advance.