I started out my QA (Quality Assurance) career working full-time. After 2 years, I tried a freelance remote job. A constantly changing client base and the lack of financial security was rough and difficult compared to a stable full-time contract.
But I did it - I went freelance and was testing software for many clients. Along with a high volume of work, a need of uber-productivity and perfect time management kicked in. I started to look for the best solutions, and soon I found Nozbe… First, as my top productivity tool and then also as an employer who hired me as a full-time QA person.
Having an 8 hour work day and still managing at least part of my freelancing was challenging but rewarding. The contract ensured security and regularity. The freelance assignments from many various clients allowed me to quickly develop my skills and stay up-to-date with the latest technology trends.
After some time, mostly thanks to a trial-and-error method, I worked out a few basic rules that let me keep and remain efficient in both jobs:
Never do both at the same time
Multitasking is okay… providing you’re a computer processor. As a full-time employee trying to work on multiple extra projects after-hours you should always give each task you are doing 100 percent of your attention.
On a typical day, I process one or two things from my freelance work, then I focus entirely on my full-time job. When I finish my eight hour day-job, I return to my freelancing job; finding new clients or working with my existing customers.
If you really need to do something in the middle of the day for your second job, take an hour off, do it, and then go back to your day-job. Never try to “save time” by doing both, or you’ll shortchange both worlds. In my case, this would make me overlook bugs, forget to do things and such.
Never put too much on your plate or you’ll burn out
I’m just 22 and I’ve already learned what burnout means. How? Working a 16 hour/day schedule. Luckily, I was able to realize it soon enough - I stopped accepting too much responsibility and found some time for my family and leisure.
Take breaks between your full-time job and freelance projects
This again helps you to stay motivated and disciplined. Working constantly will make you burn out quickly. If you’re about to change what you’re currently doing, take a 5-10 minute break, go for a walk, play with your pet or talk to your partner.
Chatting to my girlfriend works great for me. When she’s not around, I play one or two songs in Guitar Hero - it really gives me more energy, especially when I play my favorite songs :)
Be honest with your boss
When I was starting my full-time job, I informed my employer that I would keep some of my freelance projects. I was a little bit scared that I’d soon find myself in the same place I had been before, but fortunately, it turned out to be a wrong assumption.
Anyway - honesty is a rule. If you want to freelance while working full-time, be honest with your boss, otherwise some misunderstandings and confusion might arise.
As a final word, let me advise you: don’t give up too quickly!
This double amount of workload is of course not for everyone. You really need to master your time-management if you want to pull it off, but in the end it will be worth it.
And remember that there are always better and worse times (unfortunately I’m going through a hard time at the moment, so I’ve dropped some projects to get back on track). But there’s also much space to improve! And that’s what everyone should strive for - be better each day, both in your private and professional life.
Question: How do you deal with different projects?
Written by Patryk, VP Testing