Up until recently, I have spent my career life working a Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm job. Upon graduating college in 2012, I accepted a generic "desk job," and became stuck in that rut for about three years. I went to work, I sat at my desk, and I typed on my keyboard and answered phone calls until I was finally free to leave for the evening. Then, I would get up the next day and do it all over again. Did I love it? Heck no. Most days I felt smothered. However, the schedule was consistent, and the work was the same every day so I knew what to expect. While it may have been boring, it was also somewhat comforting to know exactly what would be happening each day.
Over the past few weeks, I have been adjusting to a very different career schedule. Teaching English as a foreign language rarely comes with a normal classroom routine. Since most people obtain jobs teaching classes in businesses, the work comes in the form of a much more "freelance" schedule. Therefore, my days now consist of rushing to every corner of the city to teach group and individual lessons to people in their offices. Then, in the free time that I'm not teaching classes, I find a coffee shop or café and lesson plan my life away.
This type of schedule can be stressful. It's all about the "go go go," and constant worry of potentially getting lost or being late. Yet...I am really enjoying it. I have the opportunity to meet and interact with a lot of really awesome people. My students are involved in a variety of careers, from meteorology to hotel management to non-profit work. Every day is new and interesting, and I tend to thrive so much more in a work schedule that involves a bit more freedom.
Still, it can be a bit difficult to figure out exactly how to stay organized and make sure that you don't forget anything. There are directions to remember, multiple lessons to plan, and what seems like millions of different attendance sheets and handouts to keep up with. I, as someone who enjoys being organized, was actually pretty excited about figuring out my "system." I thought that I would share some things that are working really well in terms of helping me stay on top of things. Stay tuned for:
3 Freelance Work Schedule Essentials
1. A Good Planner
Planners are really popular again, and I love it. I used planners while in college, and before I moved to Prague my mom bought me a new planner and some accessories to bring with me so I can keep organized as well as record memories. I know a lot of people prefer to keep up with things via electronic calendars or cell phone reminders, but that doesn't really work for me. I like being able to open up my planner and see the entire month in writing.
Some people think that you have to go all out and spend a ton of money to obtain a decent planner (ie: Erin Condren or Filofax), but mine is actually just a $7 planner from Marshall's...and it's awesome. It does everything that I need, and more. It has definitely been my saving grace in terms of creating my teaching schedule.
2. An Accordion Folder/Binder
When you are working a freelance schedule, you most likely have numerous different clients and projects. In my case, I teach a lot of different classes, and each class has different stuff for me to keep up with. Accordion folders are awesome because most of them have at least 12 different compartments. And, the best part is you can label each compartment so you know exactly where to look each time you open the folder. Plus, when you need to change the label, you just remove the tab and put a new one in. My personal favorite thing about using these to organize is...it's a cheap option, and you can find them pretty much anywhere.
3. A Dependable Bag
Thanks to this type of alternative work schedule, I have a lot of stuff that I have to haul around with me every day; the planner and accordion folder I just mentioned, markers, pens, a notebook, my cell phones (Czech and American), my personal items, sometimes my laptop...the list goes on and on. My original plan was to just use my backpack on a daily basis, but I found myself wanting something a bit more professional. So, when I was offered my job I celebrated a bit by buying a nice structured bag.
The one I chose is from H&M and I got it for around 999 crowns, which is about $40.00. I loved the pockets and compartments and generous size. (I also really love that it's garnet and gold, which reminds me of my university's colors. Go 'Noles!) These types of professional bags are extremely popular now days, and there are so many affordable options out there.
Well, there you have it...the three things that keep me in line on a daily basis. Going from a desk job to this type of schedule has certainly been a change for me, but at this point, I can honestly say I wouldn't have it any other way. Do you have any tips for staying organized?
Happy Sunday! I wish you all the easiest upcoming Monday possible.