An Observation on Self Employment

A few months ago I wrote about how having a schedule really helps a nomad keep a good work/life balance when working remotely for themselves. Today I’d just like to briefly interrupt your holiday weekend to point out one other related point that has come to my attention since I started working from my computer more and work-camping less.

When you start working for yourself, if you keep track of your time (like I do) you may become depressed when you find you can’t really work eight hours a day – mental stamina runs out before hitting that magic number. Especially if your work is creative in nature.

At first it really bothered me that when I was writing my books for instance, I couldn’t put in eight hours a day on it. I felt like a fraud. Until I came to a certain realization.

Most work-camping jobs pay hourly. You show up, and not matter how good of a job you do or how productive you are (or aren’t), you get paid for your time. You’re theoretically working 40 hours a week for a standard full-time job.

But you’re not really working 40 hours.

Of the regular eight hour work day, some of it is spent preparing to work. Some is spent packing up at the end of the day. You get breaks, both sanctioned ones in a break room and unsanctioned ones – zoning out while thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner that night, or whether your coworker is going to finish that thing they said they’d finish, or wondering if you could have done something different on that last project, or a million other things. Some days your mind just isn’t with it and you kinda-sorta work, but it’s more like going through the motions.

No one puts in a full eight hours of work in an eight hour work day, and realizing this made me feel a lot better. There’s a limit to our attention span and energy, and while mindless work in a warehouse or at the beet harvest can be done after that limit is reached (although let me say, I make far less mistakes at the beginning of my shift at those kind of jobs than the end), work that requires brain power cannot.

These past couple weeks staying with my friend Misty, who also works remotely, we discovered that we both put in about the same amount of work in a day, six hours of real work for what we consider a full, standard work day (which usually requires sitting my butt in the chair or at least engaging in a work mindset for eight hours). Days where we do more than that are considered extra productive.

Any other remote working RVers out there? I’d love to hear your numbers for what you consider a good work day. I wonder if six hours is pretty typical, I bet type of work changes that number too.

It’s good to share:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *