Since I spent (almost) five years working in sales, I have a lot of experience splitting things up into quarters of the calendar year. Like any other corporate organization, my company set goals for Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4, and much of our day-to-day language was based around making the most of those time periods.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve now officially made it through “Q1” of my freelance life. For some reason, the three-month mark feels so much more significant than the two-month mark — maybe because I’ve been trained to think about my professional life in terms of three-month increments.

Last week, I was catching up with one of my closest friends, and as I was updating her about recent developments with my work, she said, “So, basically you’re constantly applying for jobs, right?” And with that, she described the way I feel so perfectly. Being a full-time freelancer means that you’re on a hamster wheel of researching new work opportunities, making the right contacts, and preparing to sell yourself for those opportunities. It’s a never-ending learning experience, and even three months in, it feels like I’m figuring out new things every single day.

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Just like I did at the other monthly milestones since leaving my old job for the last time, I’m happy to be sharing a little three-month recap with you (you can read the other recaps here and here). Here are some updates from the last month:

  • Some of my old workaholic tendencies are coming back. In high school and college, I was almost annoyingly competitive. I LOVED the adrenaline rush of throwing myself into work. Although I was grateful for my old job, I never felt 100% connected to it, and I was more than happy to work hard at the office but keep that separate from the rest of my life. I missed the feeling of loving what I do so much that I couldn’t help but blur the lines between the personal and professional, and it feels good to be tapped back into that part of my personality.
  • I’m trying to care less about telling people how busy I am. Early on, my insecurities about leaving the corporate world came out mostly when people asked me how work was going and I would just say, “So busy!” I didn’t want people to think that working for myself from home meant that I was sitting around watching TV, so I overcompensated by leading with my busy-ness instead. I’ve noticed that it’s become a pattern, and one that I would like to break. With each day that passes, I feel less like I have something to prove.
  • I’m feeling comfortable in my own skin. I’ve struggled with anxiety and body image issues for most of my life, and I always find that when I’m fulfilled in the important areas of my life (work, relationships, etc.), those inner demons get a little quieter. While I don’t think I’ll ever be totally “healed,” I’m happy to report that I’ve been having more good days lately than I was a few months ago.
  • Taking time out is important. One of my favorite things about the end of the year at my old job was taking random weekdays off in order to use up my remaining vacation days — and I miss that! Just like telling people how busy I am, hustling constantly has been a way for me to show others that the work I’m doing now is legit. Since September, I’ve done at least some work every. single. day (weekends included). With the holidays upon us, I know it’s time to cut myself some slack and allow for at least a little planned downtime. Working from home, it’s so easy to get involved in projects even if I have every intention of taking a break for a few hours here or there, so I think I need to learn how to better designate real “time off.”
  • I’m better understanding my goals. When I first started on this journey, people would ask me what my writing goals were, and I wasn’t sure how to answer — I just wanted to get started! As my portfolio of clips grows and I continue to better understand my strengths as a writer, I’m starting to have a clearer picture of where I’d like to go next.