At my old 9 to 5, I would regularly put in a 8 – 10 hour day and then come home and continue to work until bedtime. I was on salary, so this gained no overtime pay — just made it possible for me to stay on top of the monstrous workload. Eventually I got totally burnt out and had to ban work from coming home with me at all. At first, I (and my former boss) expected this to mean that I wasn’t going to be getting as many things done. But what ended up happening is that I was less tired, less burnt out and less bitter during my 8 -10 hours in the office — therefor way more productive!
As a freelancer it can be really tough to keep a wedge between work time and personal time. They are so interconnected. Not only do many of us work out of our homes, but we ARE our brands. That can mean a lot of late nights and long hours.
Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been tackling client work during my regular business hours, then returning to the computer after dinner to hash out the final stages on the new site design — I’m exhausted! And If I wasn’t a total nerd for all things web, then I would hate my life. But I’m making an investment in my brand and to me, that’s worth the dark circles under my eyes!
We’ve all sacrificed some precious hours to get things done, it’s just part of the freelance life, but I wondered how far some of you would go – so I asked…
“What is the longest you have ever spent working*?”
* Stopping work to go to the bathroom, eat a meal, feed the cat, shower, check email, (+ other such comparable things) or take a nap under 2 or 3 hours does not count as STOPPING work.
“I once waited so long to proofread an 800 page book that I had to proof for pretty much 40 hours straight, with my housemate bringing me meals. He was not pleased. That was 15 years ago.” – Michelle Goodman (Writer/Blogger)
“when I wrote my first book, I worked on revisions for three days straight to meet the deadline, which I’m not entirely sure I met. ;) The whole time I kept thinking about how an officemate once told me that Quincy Jones worked on some composition for 72 hours straight and had an aneurysm when he was done.” – Michelle Goodman (Writer/Blogger)
“I started working on it at 8AM and stopped working at 10PM; only taking breaks to use the bathroom, shower, and eat. Even worse, I still wasn’t done after all that. I ended up doing the same amount of work the next day!” – Jake Mates (Designer)
“one day I had to be up at 7am to take care of something that took minutes and I don’t like going back to sleep once I’m up.. So I started working at 7:30am — and throughout the day I was working on new projects, making revisions, sending invoices to clients, sending orders to print and then I’m sure a lot of my time was spent being distracted on sites like Facebook and other spots – but I ended up just going all the way to around 4:30am which is pretty bad!” – Andrew R. (Designer)
“I had a huge deadline for a client. I’m a web developer, who was working from home at the time. The problem was that I had been really busy with my personal life, got a new girlfriend, was buying an apartment all this stuff. So 3 days before the website was supposed to be delivered, I realized that I hadn’t done anything… so from that point on, there was a crazy scramble to get this thing done. I first took a day straight… I mean some 22 hours. Then I slept about 5 hours, guess I wasn’t panicked enough at that point. After I woke up, there was no sleep for the next 48 hours… as I just finished the project for the deadline… and slept for 3 days after that ” – Gissur Simonarson (Developer)
“I have this friend, he is a businessman. I think he owns 3-4 businesses now, but the thing is, that after he launched a new company recently (an accounting firm) he needed some sort of channel to actually get to new companies that might possibly need some accounting service. So he asked me if I could do a web app for sending out ads. It had to contain an ad uploading option, creating groups for different firms, statistics about the clicks and whatnot. So, I’m the if-it’s-a-new-and-exciting-project-I’m-all-in type of guy. So I actually spent 26 hours straight behind my computer. Of course I took short breaks (15mins.) to go to the toilet and eat, but mostly, I just sat there and wrote.” – Karl Sutt (Design/Dev)
“When I first started freelancing, I had about two weeks where I would quite literally wake up, make coffee, work, pass out on the keyboard, wake up, make more coffee, continue to work, get a phone call from my mother to make sure I was alive, work, realize I hadn’t eaten in roughly 36 hours, work, finally eat something, and eventually pass out.” – Jason Lengstorf (Design/Dev)
“Longest spell was eight months at 80-110 hours a week working for a start-up marketing and promotions company into Toronto.The longest single workout was a 48 hour stint creating a web portfolio in a desperate time, not having any experience whatsoever with web, so basically learning and building as we go.” – Brad Choma (Designer)