Things to Consider When Choosing Freelance Working Hours

One of the biggest perks of freelancing is the fact that we can set our own schedules. But how should you set that schedule? How do you determine what your working hours will be?

My "normal" working hours are 5:00 am - 12:00 pm, Monday through Thursday. But that doesn't mean I always stick to that, especially now that I have my husband's schedule to think about. Despite that, it's my best working time, and my goal is to get back to it 100% in the near future.

That doesn't mean your best working hours will be the same. There are a number of things that can influence your choice of working hours. For example, you might consider:

  • The hours you're most alert or able to focus on work;
  • "Quiet hours" (very important for me due to a neighbor who causes extreme levels of noise frequently);
  • Choosing hours when family and friends are less likely to stop by;
  • Your immediate family members' schedules (from a child's school schedule to your spouse's work schedule);
  • Other obligations you have (such as full-time or part-time jobs, school, or volunteer work);

Do these things come into play when setting your own freelance work schedule? Which ones? Are there other factors in your case? Tell us about them so other freelancers can decide how to choose their optimal working hours too.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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7 thoughts on “Things to Consider When Choosing Freelance Working Hours”

  1. I have to consider my 3 month old son’s schedule. I try to wake up at 6am to work, but it always seems that he wakes up during that time. When I decide not to get up that early, he sleeps until 8am. I try to get my hours in while he is sleeping and in the evening when my husband can watch him. Just when I try to get a schedule together, it seems my son changes my plans. I do love the flexibility that allows me to be a parent to him all day.

    Reply
    • lol Maybe he’s trying to spend more time with mom by sharing your schedule. 🙂

      The flexibility to be with your children must be nice. It’s one of the big reasons I went the self-employed route. I wanted to be established working at home before having kids, so I could be here for them without struggling too much with the parental and work adjustments at the same time. Even if my schedule can’t stay as regular when that happens, I imagine is must be well worth it. 🙂

      Reply
  2. All I can say is thank goodness we don’t have to stick to “normal” hours. 🙂 I get up at 5 AM, but usually don’t get on the computer until around 6 AM. I knock off at 4 or 5 PM, but that’s because I schedule a sit-down lunch with Mom of maybe 30 minutes and 1 1/2 hours for walking.

    The weather has a lot to do with my schedule (believe it or not) because I may have to adjust my walking time. For example, now with the triple-digit heat, I walk early in the morning. When it gets colder, I walk in late afternoon (typically after I’ve finished working).

    Reply
    • Back when I used to walk regularly (far too long ago), I was the same. Work was adjusted so I could walk when the weather was nicer. I can’t imagine walking in the kind of heat we’re getting lately.

      It sounds like you have a nicely broken up work day, with solid breaks. 🙂

      Reply
  3. My schedule varies if I need to drive my nephew to work or one of a friend’s house. I’ll get up around 6:15 or sometimes 7 am if I was up late the night before. I finish about 5 pm or 5:30 pm.

    I’m like Cathy and adjust my working out time, but I’m the opposite. I’m the one you’ll see running and walking in 90+ degree temperatures. I love hot weather! When I lived in Arizona, I would start writing about 8 am, but then would take an hour or hour and half ‘lunch’ and hike South Mountain in Phoenix. Temps at noon or 1 pm would already be in the 100s. It was fantastic. Weight loss tip: if you want to lose weight fast, work out when it’s hot. You can work out for 20-30 minutes and drop weight in no time. Back to the mountain … There would be about five cars in the parking lot. It was awesome!

    I like the flexibility that freelance writing offers. No one tells you when you have to take lunch, start or stop working. It’s why I’m gently pushing my nephew and his friends towards being entrepreneurs. They still need a bit of motivation. 🙂

    Reply
  4. On occasion, the client’s schedule can impact my work schedule. I once had a client who worked late, so I found myself working with her into the wee hours. This can also happen when the client or a member of your team is in another time zone, and you have to work together for certain aspects of the project.

    Reply

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