Sometimes It's Okay to Be Selfish

When I started as a freelance writer, I would take on any project that came my way, even if it paid next to nothing (or nothing at all). I was thrilled to have the experience and to get my name out there. But eventually I was working until midnight every night, and didn’t have much to show for it. That’s when I started to realize that it’s okay (and necessary, actually) to be selfish with your time. You don’t have to be a diva or have unrealistic expectations about what you should be paid, but you also don’t have to slave away until the wee hours of the morning for $15.

It doesn’t matter whether you run your own Etsy shop, do freelance graphic design, or babysit. You have to be selfish with your time and make sure that the projects and commitments you’re signing yourself up for are worthwhile. This means having self worth and weighing the positives and negatives of an endeavor before you say yes.

Self worth is hugely important when it comes to doing freelance or part-time work. If you don’t think you’re valuable, you give away your time for no real reason and get nothing in return. You’ll be afraid to charge for your services, and will start to apologize when it’s time to collect money from people. But when you truly believe in your services and your talent, you have no problem asking to be compensated accordingly. Then, instead of working for hours on end and still waking up with a negative balance in your bank account, you’re working hard but earning a living for yourself.

Being selfish with your time can also apply to social situations too. Instead of saying yes to every dinner, happy hour, and other event, choose to participate in things that make you feel good, with people you actually like. You don’t have to go to lunch with that Negative Nancy who leaves you feeling drained. You don’t have to go out with friends who want to party the night before you have a major presentation to give. Do what makes you feel good, and don’t feel bad about politely declining so you can get done what you need to do and still have some time to relax.

When you’re selfish with your time, you can fully commit to a few projects and social obligations, instead of wearing yourself thin trying to make all of them work.

How are you selfish with your time? Do you have any tricks for focusing on the projects/people that matter most?

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  1. Sarah Eutsler says:

    Love this! It’s been a huge struggle for me the past few years, but I’ve been slowly weeding out the things that aren’t worth my time, meaning I rarely write for free anymore. Another bad scenario: I’ve taken projects that look great upfront and come with a big paycheck, but at the end the client has sucked all of my energy and made things so complicated the money isn’t worth it. Those are harder to avoid, but it’s good to work toward ditching them.

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