FREELANCER NOTES | VOL.2 DRAWING BOUNDARIES

Este es un tema de interés no solo si eres freelancer, también lo es para gente que trabaja en oficina de lunes a viernes. Creo que hablar de definir límites tiene que ver no sólo con la organización y la gestión del tiempo, sino también con subtemas como el trato con los clientes y defender las horas de descanso./ This is an interesting topic not only if you are a freelancer, it could also apply for people who work in an office from Monday to Friday. I think that talking about drawing boundaries is related not only with organization and time management, but also with subtopics such as dealing with clients and defending rest hours.

✏️ Freelancer (or not) and drawing boundaries ✏️

Internet ha traído un montón de ventajas (sobre todo para el trabajador freelancer). La posibilidad de trabajar con gente de cualquier parte del mundo sin tener que tomar un avión me sigue pareciendo maravillosa. Pero con recompensas laborales tan jugosas como ésta, llegan algunas responsabilidades como establecer horarios y no sólo cumplir con una fecha de entrega, sino con tus tiempos de descanso./ Internet has brought a lot of advantages (especially if you work as a freelancer). The possibility of working with people from anywhere in the world without having to take a plane still seems wonderful to me. But with these rewards, you have to assume some responsibilities like setting schedules and not only meeting deadlines, but also take breaks.

Mantener un balance en el trabajo y en la vida personal es una misión abrumadora, sobre todo con las redes sociales y las apps de mensajería instantánea donde algunas personas dan por hecho que hay que contestar de inmediato, así sean vacaciones o la hora de la cena./ Keeping a good work-personal life balance is an overwhelming mission, specially with social media and instant messaging apps where some people take for granted that you have to answer immediately, whether it is vacation or dinner time.

En lugar de flexibilizar las jornadas laborales, muchas personas terminaron odiando el trabajar desde casa (home office). Lamentablemente esta modalidad no es bien entendida por todo el mundo. Creo que el problema es que ahora las líneas entre trabajo y vida personal son casi imperceptibles, lo que hace que dibujar barreras entre trabajo y descanso sea cada vez más complicado./ Instead of making working hours more flexible, many people ended up hating home office. Unfortunately this modality is not well understood by everyone. I think the problem is that now the lines between work and personal life are almost imperceptible, which makes drawing boundaries between work and rest increasingly difficult.

Un par de consejos que no son la solución final, pero ayudan muchísimo. Porque ser freelancer tiene que ver con aprender a domar a la bestia, pero si otros han podido y yo lo estoy consiguiendo, tú también puedes:/ A couple of tips that are not the final solution, but they help a lot. Because being a freelancer has to do with learning to tame the beast, but if others have been able and I am doing it, you can also learn how to do it:

🤓 1. Imita a una oficina / Imitate an office 🤓

Copia el ambiente y el modus operandi de un trabajo de oficina: levántate a una hora concreta cada día, vístete y arréglate (si te cuesta separarte de tu ropa cómoda, ten una pijama fancy y una pijama para dormir) y establece un espacio específico de trabajo concreto porque la laptop en la cama es el peor para comenzar a desarrollar malos hábitos laborales, ese es sólo un lugar para descansar./ Copy the atmosphere and modus operandi of an office job: get up at a specific time each day, get dressed (if you want to wear comfortable clothes, have fancy pajamas and pajamas to sleep) and establish a specific working space, because using your laptop at the bed is the worst to start developing bad work habits, that’s just a place to rest.

🙅🏻 2. Aprende a decir NO / Learn to say NO 🙅🏻

Aceptar por puro compromiso cosas que no te compensan es una costumbre que a muchos nos insertaron en la niñez. Pero lo más saludable es pasar unos minutos de timidez rechazando las ofertas que no nos convencen del todo: desde no aceptar trabajos que no son nuestra prioridad hasta identificar cuando un cliente comienza a estirar más allá de lo acordado al comenzar el proyecto./ Accepting things that do not compensate you is something that many of us were taught from childhood. But the healthiest thing is to have a few minutes of shyness rejecting offers that do not convince us at all: saying no to jobs that are not our priority and identify when a client begins to ask for more things than what was established at the beginning of the project.

📱 3. Las aplicaciones correctas / The correct apps 📱

Estoy en contra del uso indiscriminado de apps de mensajería como whatsapp, telegram o messenger para la organización del trabajo. Hay herramientas específicas para esto como Slack, un mail bien redactado o una llamada concreta. Siento que un mensaje de whatsapp a ciertas horas puede parecer invasivo e interrumpir tu momento de ocio o tu cena. Yo intento, en la medida de lo posible, decir no a trabajar por whatsapp o similares./ I am against the indiscriminate use of messaging apps such as whatsapp, telegram or messenger for the organization of work. There are specific tools to work such as Slack, a well-written email or a specific call. I feel that a WhatsApp message at certain times can seem invasive and interrupt your leisure time or your dinner. I try, as far as possible, to say no to working on WhatsApp or similar apps.

4. Balancear tus horarios / Balancing your schedule

Vale esto es súper personal y eres tú quien lo tienes que decidir. Sí, como freelancer puedes ir a esa exposición un martes por la mañana o ir al dentista cuando más te convenga, pero después habrá que compensar esas horas de trabajo de alguna manera: tal vez trabajando unas horas de más por la tarde o en fines de semana./ Ok, this is super personal and you have to decide how to do it. Yes, as a freelancer you can go to that exhibition on a Tuesday morning or go to the dentist when it suits you best. But then you will have to compensate for those hours of work in some way: perhaps by working a few extra hours in the afternoon or during a weekend.

📧 5. Los emails bomba / Surprising emails 📧

Más de un email he coleccionado mientras estoy viendo Netflix ya en pijama, lo entiendo cuando se trata de clientes que están en América, pero si no es así es una línea peligrosa. Una vez aceptas una vez, das pie a que ocurra más veces y que esto se descontrole. ¿Las urgencias ocurren? Por supuesto, pero a quien le urja algo te a va a llamar y no a enviar un mensaje con algo que posiblemente pueda ser solucionado al día siguiente./ I have collected more than one email while I am watching Netflix already wearing pajamas, I understand it when it comes to clients who are in America, but if not, it is a dangerous line. Once you accept once, you allow it to happen more times and this can get out of control. Do emergencies happen? Of course, but if something really urgent happens, there’s going to be a call and not a message with something that could possibly be solved the next day.

Al final, dibujar barreras entre el trabajo y el tiempo de ocio es una decisión personal y que cada uno decidirá según su estilo de vida. Soy de los que defienden que tu trabajo no te define como persona, pero es verdad que pasamos tantas horas trabajando, que al final tenemos que buscar métodos para hacer que todo sea lo más cómodo posible./ In the end, drawing boundaries between work and leisure time is a personal decision and parameters may vary in each case, especially if you’re a freelancer. I am one of those who defend that your work does not define you as a person, but it is true that we spend so many hours working, so we must find ways to make things as comfortable as possible.

✏️ MORE FROM THE FREELANCER NOTES ☕️:

FREELANCER NOTES | VOL. 1 INTRO

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  • Yes in these times it can be hard to have boundaries in particular here in the U.S. wether home or in the office. But yes when working from home I do have a routine and more of less stick to it. And Sundays I always take off they are my do nothing day wether I am working in an office or at home. Love the coffee giff!

    Allie of
    http://www.allienyc.com

    • Hey Allie, I know! It is crucial to start setting rules!

      As you I try to save Sundays just for me, I had to do it since I was working even on the weekends and I started to feel “tired” all the time :/

  • Hola Pablo! Hope you are having a great week so far 😀

    Such a good topic, but first let me admire these animated sketches of yours for a second. They are so cool, I hope to see more of them in the future!

    I have to agree that working from home can be difficult at times. You do need your faux office space, one that is far away from the noise of your flatmates (if you have any) and even further away from kitchen and bed. These are my key distractions! The most difficult thing for me is to organize my time. Especially if I have say a dentist check up somewhere in the middle of the day. As you have mentioned, you just have to compensate for this time later on and it can be tricky at times.

    Thanks for the valuable tips! xx

    Naya
    http://www.nayatilly.com

    • Hola Naya, gracias por tu comentario 🙂 Your comments always make me smile!

      As you mentioned it is crucial to set up a different space while working from home, it doesn’t matter if it is a small desk in a corner, but having a separation is important to don’t mix up things or spaces haha.

      All the best!

  • Such an important article Pablo!! Agree that it’s so important to imitate an office and set some boundaries for yourself. It’s definitely not easy to ignore emails and new messages, but it’ll give you a peace of mind if you do it. What’s great with being a freelancer though is that you can be flexible with your time and how you create your schedule. Some days you might want to skip working at all and other days all you want to do is to get the work done. It’s important after all to remember why one wants to be a freelancer. There are challenges indeed, but the possibilities are also endless! Xx

    • Hey Mia, thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      That’s what I try but sometimes it is difficult to escape from the temptations you have at home, but I try to imitate an office as much as possible. There a lot of challenges but I am happy to know that little by little I am achiving the work I want 🙂

  • Hey Pablo! How’s going your week?
    Are you (safely) enjoying the early spring days in the sunny Barcelona? I really hope so! 🙂
    Here in Italy we are again in a total lockdown (the 3rd) and it’s so annoying!!!!
    But I have to say that I’m even pretty used to it right now, so, until I can go to the park for my daily run (you can do it but alone and only near your home) , enjoy that small pleasure is enough for me. Last year at the 1st lock down was worst!

    Anyway, about the today topic: as usual you really hitted the spot! Working at home or being freelance sounds all freedom and fun, but that’s not!
    And good oranizationa and setting strong boundaries among your private life and work is fundamental if you don’t want to end working all day long and sacrificing everything else! In this case protecting your private and personal time and space should be a priority for your mental health!
    Not to mention the clients that want you available 24/7: no way! better to make it clear from the start the times and the meduim when they can contact you and never accept job just for “visibility”: I did this error years ago, when i’ve started to work as freelance, and had to learn quickly to select what to do and what no….
    Anyway, your post was super interesting and useful: I could really feel every point you listed here!

    And this time a special mention to your superb illustrations: even animated!!! Looooved it! Super cool!

    Take care and stay safe, dear!
    XO
    S
    https://s-fashion-avenue.blogspot.com

    • Hello Silvia! I hope you are enjoying the first bits of Spring!

      The situation is starting to feel a little bit tired, so I don’t have a lot of plans for the “free days! I know you are facing a new lockdown but I hope you manage to find interesting options of things to do at home 🙁 Good to know that at least you can go for a daily run, keep enjoying that!

      Thanks for your wonderful feedback as usual, I really appreciate that! As you mentioned it is better to set rules from the beginning in order to have a healthy relationship with the client 🙂

      All the best and thanks for your lovely compliment!

  • These are good tips and I agree with you it’s important to set boundaries around work even if we are working in an office 🙂

    Hope your week is going well! It’s a rainy one here!

  • This seems like very sensible advice Pablo. Not only for freelancers, but for people who are working remotely as so many do now since the pandemic. And drawing boundaries is skill one needs for life in general. Excellent – post!

    • Hey Michelle, thank you so much for stopping by! Yes, I wanted this to be helpful also for people that had to move from an office to home 🙂

  • Thank you for bringing up this important topic, Pablo! I personally struggle with work life balance. I juggle school (where all of my classes are online), work, and my blog of course. I put so much pressure on myself to do too much and then I get burnt out so frequently. I love your tip about having a consistent schedule and knowing when to say no. I definitely feel really guilty saying no. It really is something we’ve been taught from a young age to give out endless favors instead of protecting personal boundaries and rest.

    Also, your graphics are so cool! I literally got so excited when the graphic with the book and phone was moving!

    Jill
    https://jilliancecilia.com/

    • Hey Jill, thank you so much for visiting and for your comment.

      Yes, I know you have to mix school with work and other things related to your life. I think it is really difficult to get the right balance and we have to play a lot with time and some tools in order to get time to do “almost everything”

      And thanks for your compliments about the graphics! 🙂 Glad you liked them!

  • Hey Fungi,

    Happy to see this series continuing. I like the points you made on here. These is so much to take into consideration because everything falls on you and your work ethic. This is where discipline is super important and necessary.

    Hope you have a happy weekend! And Happy Spring!!!

    http://www.fashionradi.com

    • Hey dear Radi! Thank you so much for stopping by!

      Discipline is not only important when it comes to a job office, I’d say it is crucial when you have to work as a freelancer or when you have your own company.

      Happy spring for you too!

  • I love your Freelancer Notes series and I’m happy to read the second part. I do agree that it is important to set boundaries between work and personal life. I think being available 24/7 is really bad option for most people. Maybe some people have such jobs that they have to be available- presidents or some managers/ coordinators but for most people it is harmful and counterproductive. Those people that have to be available all the time usually have some help. For a typical freelancer being available all the time will probably just lead to a burn out. I agree that it is important for us to set boundaries with clients. We don’t have to answer everything right away.
    A lot of people have found themselves working from home in this pandemic- and I think it has opened their eyes to the complexities of working from home. Everything has its pluses and minuses. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this. I think we should be careful with our time.
    Your illustrations and photo collages are always lovely. I really like your gif illustration with the coffee.

    • Hey Ivana!

      Thanks as usual for your wonderful feedback! For me it is difficult to be there 24/7 but I had to set some boundaries and rules to my own schedules in order to stay energized and with mental health. As you mentioned there are a certain kind of jobs that requires to be there all the time, right? But for many of us, specially for creatives it is not the rule.

      Great note! Working from home is showing us many ways to improve our working methods, right?

      Bestxx

  • Hey Fungi!

    I hope you have a beautiful weekend! Those images are so wonderful, and I really love your portrait!
    It is so fun that your phone is moving:)

    Your thought about keeping a good work-personal life balance is true! You always write clearly and humorous, so I feel like that my confused brain is tidied up. Thank you so much, Fungi! I have been a freelancer for about 25 years, and I couldn’t say “No” to my clients for a long time.. but now I can say “No” a little! Is it late? Hahaha.
    I am looking forward to seeing your next post, too<3

    akiko

    • Hey Akiko!

      So happy to read this message and glad to know you liked the post and the illustration! I’d like to do more animated illustration in the upcoming months.

      All the best from Barcelona to Japan!