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Jun 18, 2019 22:36:57

How to get a year's work done in 6 months

by @jasonleow | 558 words | 289🔥 | 327💌

Jason Leow

Current day streak: 289🔥
Total posts: 327💌
Total words: 149303 (597 pages 📄)

I wrote about how I'm done with work for the year, and @keni asked: 


Sounds beautiful Jason. I would love to trade places with you. I hope you will write about how to get a years work done in 6 months.


Tl;dr - Freelance + an 'enough' financial target would do the trick. 


I do design consulting for governments, so in practice it is like being a freelancer. I can pack in lots of work within a month to be crazy busy, or I can be slack. This degree of autonomy is the benefit of working for yourself. And packing in work means you can earn more for the same time you spend in a typical job where you're employed by someone else. The funny thing is, when I was employed, I always thought we should work through the year, bar our annual leave. That's the way life is. I never questioned that idea before. But about 2 years ago, after I had been freelancing for some time, it occurred to me that this work-all-year rule was invented by others. It doesn't have to be so. At least not for everyone.    


Because what are we working for? If it's to make a living, then what is enough? Often, we take a job that pays us a predetermined amount of money, and that job dictates that we give our whole year to it. We have not much choice to say, I don't need so much this year, so can I work less and take the rest of the year off? It's possible, but not likely that the employer will let you work only 6 months, every year. But what if you could have the flexibility to determine your own level of 'enough'? After you had earned enough, you can then be free to go do anything you want. Everything you want. Or nothing you want.


But ultimately, it depends on what work means to you. In this case, it means revenue-generating work, work that gets paid. Because in the broader sense of the word, I'll still continue to work even though I'm 'done' with the year. I'll be working on my own side hustles and passion projects, that's all. If your day job IS your passion project, maybe you feel that you don't need to ask how to get a year's work done in 6 months. The thing is, my consulting gigs are my passion too. But I recognise that my interests are varied and complex, and I don't need my day job to provide everything, nor should it. It doesn't need to be my one true love, forever and ever more.  


I'd come to realise that I enjoy working in seasons, to the cadence of months, peaking in some quarters, slacking in others, instead of day in, day out the same thing for the whole year. There's a sense of groundedness to being able to work in seasons, like circadian rhythms but for work, and longer. I imagine this connects me way back to the past, when our farming ancestors seeded fields in the spring, toiled in summer, harvested in autumn, and rested in the winter.


There's a deep satisfaction and contentedness, to feel this connection, all the way back in time, from my city-born disposition, to the nature-attuned hands of my ancestors, all the way to Mother Nature's embrace through the seasons.   

From Jason Leow's collection:

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    @jasonleow finally have time to read about this, my question is do you start to reject take in new project when you think is enough of the year?

    Knight avatar Knight | Jul 08, 2019 06:57:43
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      @knight yes I usually reject them, though I don't have to if I like the project/mission/organisation. The point of having an upper limit, of making enough is that I don't have to feel compelled to accept, that I have the freedom to say no or yes based on other than money. :)

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Jul 08, 2019 20:25:50
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      @jasonleow got it, more like after earn enough for the year, you just choose what is interested you.

      Knight avatar Knight | Jul 09, 2019 06:48:50
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      @knight or go surfing for the rest of the year! ;)

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Jul 09, 2019 21:01:02
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    @jasonleow love this idea. I will consider it when I plan Q4. What would have to be true to only work nine months of the year so that I can hibernate? Hmmm.

    Rosie Odsey avatar Rosie Odsey | Jun 19, 2019 16:58:48
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      @rosieodsey hmmm... what has to be true = flexibility and autonomy in your work (could be freelance or if you job allows) + a financial target that's enough for you (if not, you'll just want to keep working to earn more beyond what's enough). ymmv

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Jun 19, 2019 19:57:38
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      @jasonleow I work for myself and I have no employees. What has to be true? Delivering high end services so that I can charge high end rates. This means narrowing my focus on specific clientele. I know the monthly "enough" figure. Multiply by 12, divide by 9 and I have my new monthly income target. I'm not sure this can work for me yet (other priorities come higher than taking 3 months off) but I had never considered it and I think it's definitely something I want to try in the next three years.

      Rosie Odsey avatar Rosie Odsey | Jun 20, 2019 07:30:21
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      @rosieodsey yes charging more helps for sure. Good luck with it! Love to hear back when you do try it out :)

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Jun 20, 2019 20:22:37
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      @jasonleow I'll keep you posted, definitely!

      Rosie Odsey avatar Rosie Odsey | Jun 21, 2019 09:35:44
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    @jasonleow - I think you are another undercover efficient beast. How long did it take you from planning to execution of this move to freelance and recognizing "enough"?

    What types of design do you like to do? IT related only or do things like physical products, house deign and drawing interest you? I have no design skills.

    What's the plan for the rest of the year? Do you have any plans or are you free as a bird to do only things that move you?

    Keni avatar Keni | Jun 18, 2019 18:01:53
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      @keni the first time I did it, I just planned to do it at the start of the year, then achieved it that year. But of course, the fact I thought about it came from after having worked freelance for a few years. Not difficult to calculate how much is enough, once you had a few years being freelance and managing costs. I do consultancy for governments, more in UX and service design, so it's quite niche. Thankfully, there's still a market for it so there's gigs to bid for. But I imagine anyone with a set of skills that's freelance-able - writing, programming, marketing - can do this. Rest of the year is for my side hustles and passion projects! :) Learning coding, actually coding my product, traveling, kintsugi. Or I might switch it up anytime I want. Free as a bird, as you said! ;)

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Jun 19, 2019 19:55:39
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      @jasonleow - Thank you for the details Jason. This is very respectable.

      So you are on top of your expenses and you know your revenue pretty accurately I gather.

      When and if you can please share these in as much details so we could learn from you:

      1) How you got your expenses under control.
      2) How you developed the skills that got you where you are
      3) What productivity tools do you use and recommend
      4) Books and podcasts you recommend
      5) What side hustle and passions you have - more on kintsugi please.

      Thank you Jason.

      Keni avatar Keni | Jun 19, 2019 12:12:58
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      @keni wow you're really into this haha. Cool. Happy to share more:

      1) No big debts besides a home loan. No car to upkeep (in Singapore it's possible to take public transport). Not big on material consumption, so that helps. I find I spend less on shopping after I found passions and work that fulfils me (so that I need less fulfilment in other material ways).

      2) Over 5 years of being employed as a designer in government. Built up the skills and confidence to venture out on my own after that. But the years needed will vary per industry.

      3) Erhm not sure how this matters to this topic....? Maybe for freelance work, you can look up Upwork or other niche sites for that? Start moonlighting anyway and build a base before even quitting.

      4) 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris was the book that got me thinking about this. It's a little dated now, but might be worth a read. I like Company of One by Paul Jarvis, Make Book by Pieter Levels. Also try this TED talk - https://www.ted.com/talks/stefan_sagmeister_the_power_of_time_off

      5) Learning coding. Coding a product that I could make monthly revenue from (still thinking), so that I can move away from consulting. Traveling more with the extra time. Eager to work more with my hands, via kintsugi. I went to Japan to learn it and eager to pick it back up again, and maybe sell off pieces in the future!

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Jun 20, 2019 20:33:42
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