My rates are somewhat of a moving target, so I’ll cover that in a different post. My schedule, however, that’s easy. Here’s why:
For starters, I use Google Calendar to organize my schedule. It’s free, I can access it anywhere, and it works like a gem. I keep three calendars (or labels, if you will) that I call Personal, Work, and Tentative. The Personal calendar is for hanging out with friends, the Work calendar is for confirmed work, and the Tentative calendar is my way of penciling-in things until I get a confirmation from my client.
My idea of a crappy day is one where I feel like I’ve done nothing but answer emails all day. That’s what scheduling feels like to me. It’s a bunch of back and forth and how bout this and I’m good ’til 9:00 and you meant PM right? So one day I made one change that changed everything for me. Thanks to the good folks at Google I was able to embed my calendar directly onto my website. Any time I make a change to my calendar it automatically updates on my website. No additional work required; I’m simply getting better mileage.
Now when I get that email I simply say, “Take a look at my calendar and let me know what days work for you.” I have effectively removed myself (i.e. the bottleneck) from the process. Do yourself a favor and try it out.
For some of you the thought of sharing your calendar feels more like exposing yourself. You may first have to overcome the fear that says, “I’m faking it…” Let me remind you that people will judge you by your work, not your calendar. After nine years of working as a full-time freelancer I still feel like a faker. The sooner you drown out that voice the better off you’ll be.
Moral of the story: Make your calendar publicly accessible, and don’t over-think it. The benefits are well worth it.