Today I spent some time with my podcasts, listening to fun ones (The West Wing Weekly) and one that I always enjoy listening to as a freelancer, Free Agents with Jason Snell and David Sparks.

The latest episode was about how freelancers and days off, and also how to account for the work we do every day, especially when it doesn’t feel like “work”.

Most freelancers will identify IMMEDIATELY with this entire podcast, as the notion of time and how we spend our days is something we often struggle with. I know I do.

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time working on side project websites, so when the end of my day comes, I often feel like I haven’t “done” anything. To counteract this feeling, I will pull out a trick I used to do with my employees when I was a senior manager at a big 5 Canadian bank: write down the activities I did that day in a giant list.

What this list helps me realize is that while I might not have finished any “deliverables”, I got through a ton of things. For example, I might have:

  1. Finished a logo or image.
  2. Uploaded said image.
  3. Tweaked the fonts on the site so they appear just the way I like them.
  4. Researched some of the other CSS code I’ll need to tweak other things on the site (but which I’ll implement another day).
  5. Wrote a blog post for the site.
  6. Researched some backlinks for that post.
  7. Created drafts of another 10 posts I need to write, complete with research links.

That’s seven things that I have knocked off my To Do list and moved the site forward. Huzzah! No small feat for sure.

Another thing the Free Agents fellas talked about was the idea of giving yourself a day off. Do you ever actually pick a day and “do” nothing? As a freelancer it can be hard to do that, as you’re probably always thinking about your work and your business.

David said he had a hard time doing this, but that it’s something he’s more open to doing now.

I hear you David, it can be a hard thing, but sometimes you may not have a choice. Personally, I find it hard to NOT give myself time off or time away from my business, because if I don’t, my stress level creeps up and eventually triggers my anxiety issues (usually at an inopportune moment). I need to make sure I take time away from my computer and business and just focus on me, or at least focus on something else outside of my business.

That’s why I’ll go out for runs in the middle of the afternoon a couple of times a week.

Or why I’ll end work at 3pm and head to the movie theatre to catch a movie.

Or run errands at 1pm on a Tuesday.

Or visit my chiropractor on a Thursday afternoon.

I NEED to get away from my desk and do something else for a while for my mental health.

Not only that, I need to incorporate some form of exercise on a regular basis each week in order to get rid of my stress so my anxiety doesn’t pop up. (There’s a great Italian word for this notion, smaltire, which has one translation as “walk off” or “drain”.) I like the “walk off” definition, as that’s what I’m doing when I go for a run or do my grocery shopping or watch a movie. I’m walking off the stress that being a freelancer gives me. It’s not necessarily bad stress, but it’s stress nonetheless.

How do you deal with your freelance stress? Do you have to change up your freelance schedule at all in order to ensure your mental and/or physical health? Hit the comments and let me know.

A few weeks ago I got rid of Facebook from my smartphone. I was a little disgusted and slightly frightened at the ease with which Zuckerberg & co. let third-party companies access member’s information. I tend to never do these kinds of quizzes because they always wanted to “post on my behalf” on my timeline, which struck me as odd.

Turns out I was right to be a little wary.

Thankfully I never took that Cambridge Analtyica quiz, so my info never got out there, but still, it had me wondering.

Any time you install an app on your phone, it often asks for access to your contact list. I never give apps access to my list if they don’t need it (seriously, my grocery shopping app doesn’t need the email address of all my friends and family, now does it?) But what about you? Have you given apps access to your contacts? Well, then that means my information is now out and about in the interwebs.


The other reason I got rid of FB is that I found I was simply repeating myself. That is, my preferred social media platform is Twitter, so I was already following all the people and entities I wanted to hear from there. Why did I also follow them on FB too? I was seeing the same content over and over, and frankly, it got annoying.

So I unhooked everything from FB, deleted as much info and photos as I could, and got rid of the app on my phone. I didn’t delete my account entirely, as it’s a great way to stay in touch with friends and family in far away places, but I don’t need to see them every day.

Now I check in to FB on my computer, when I remember. So maybe once every couple of days now.

I typically get all my news and gossip from Twitter, which I look at frequently throughout the day. (either on my phone or computer) But I still wanted to be able to read from a wider variety of places, so I downloaded the Flipboard app.

What’s Flipboard?

Flipboard is a way for you to “create” a “magazine” in the app, based on all the things you like, read, and follow online. Sounds just like any other social media app (or echo chamber, as they’ve been called lately). If you only ever follow certain subjects, you’ll never hear about anything else.

I wanted to avoid that too, as I don’t *just* want to hear about the things I like or am interested in. I also like to hear opposing points of view, stories adjacent to the ones I’m following, that sort of thing.

I feel like Flipboard does that for me. Sure, it starts with you entering all your likes, sites, and whatnot. You can even connect your Twitter account to bring in information that way, but I didn’t do that. I wanted to make sure to get other points of view too. (Note: I’m not actually sure if it *does* that, but it feels like it does.)

And I feel like Flipboard does that. The app notices the articles I skip past and the ones I read, bringing in more of the ones I read. So I’ve been going down some interesting rabbit holes as of late.

But in a good way, not the “frak me, I just lost 3 hours on the interwebs when I should’ve been writing that client project!” kind of way. I’m getting a bit of a wider lens view of my world and am feeling more *whole* for it, if that makes sense.

Before you tell me I could just put down the phone and start watching the news, I have to say I’m a little frightened of the news lately. There is just so much anger and negativity on there that it makes it impossible for me to watch straight through. I can maybe watch a news item or two before I have to switch the channel.

That said, I don’t want to just ignore all that information, as it is good to know. But I prefer to consume it on my terms, in a way that works for me.

How about you, what are you doing to escape the echo chamber that we can create for ourselves online? Joining any IRL groups or meet-ups? Getting out for more runs/walks/hikes with your neighbours to hear what they have to say? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear.

Supposedly it’s spring time outside, though the freezing rain, sleet, snow, and rain falling outside begs to differ.

Today should have been a day for visiting with old friends, having a good meal in a local restaurant, swapping stories of silly things our kids did, and explaining the plot to the latest TV show we watched.

Instead, I’m stuck inside. So I decided to do a little writing.

I’m trying to start a new habit of writing a little bit for myself each day, so I’m going to do it on this blog. Since I work as a freelance copywriter I can’t just say I’m going to “write everyday”, as I already do that. Hence the qualifier, “for myself”.

So here we are.

Last night I started watching the latest season of Bosch on Prime Video. I’ve really enjoyed the show so far, as it’s well written, well cast, well acted, and well shot.

Titus Welliver is perfect as the eponymous LA detective, bringing that film noir feel to the small screen. I really like how he infuses his portrayal with the weariness of a big city detective that’s seen a lot, and that’s ON TOP of what he’s gone through in his life. While he’s not the classic hero we usual root for, nor the current anti-hero so popular in a lot of shoes (Dexter, Walter White, et al), he’s still a “gray” hero, to me at least.

The use of jazz music is also really well done. I’m not sure if jazz plays a big part in Michael Connelly’s novels, but it really works on TV. (Apparently Connelly does mention a lot of music in his writing in general, but I haven’t read enough of his books to remember. Check out the Bosch playlist on Prime Music.)

In recent years I’ve started noticing how film and TV makers actually shoot their work. The lighting, shot choices, blocking, etc. While I haven’t been able to discern a particular director’s style just yet, I am enjoying all of the attention to detail. It’s interesting to see how shots are framed based on the storyline or scene. You really get a sense of the emotion that’s running through the scene, bringing another layer of understanding (and in my case, enjoyment) of the show or movie.

The next time you watch something, whether it’s a TV show or movie, pay attention to how it’s shot and lit. Notice if there’s a lot of sound or music in the “major” scenes. Then see how it affects you in the moment and with your enjoyment of the show/movie overall. I’ll bet you’re surprised at what you notice.