Building Habits in 21 Days, or Why Smoking is Bad for Freelancers

Search for this post’s title on Google, and you’ll see that what I once heard from a mentor is true: It takes 21 days to build or break a habit.

We’re almost done with our self-imposed holiday. But even before we all get back to work on January 2, I plan to start keeping a resolution tonight: for new year, I resolve to stop smoking. We all know the health risks associated with lighting up (surgeon generals and governments all over the world have made sure of that), but I plan to quit tobacco because I’m also affected as a freelancer:

Cigarette Breaks Break Your Flow. When I feel the urge to smoke, I rush through the task I’m currently doing before taking a break. So that I can claim to myself that I’ve finished something before leaving the desk. But recently I realized that my dependency has created a need to interrupt my work. In other words, if I didn’t feel like smoking so often, I’d stay put and get more work done.

Working While Smoking Also Breaks Your Flow. When I’m “fortunate” enough to be able to smoke while working, taking my hand away from my keyboard to take a puff represents another interruption. Without having to “make the most” of a cigarette, I’ll be able to concentrate better on what I’m doing.

Again, Back to the Health Risks. My family has a history of cancer. While I’m young (I just turned 25), I want to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of my body. As I smoke, I’m raising my blood pressure and increasing my risk of cancer, two diseases that are robbing me of my youth.

So, wish me luck this new year, and pray that I break the habit. Hopefully, when I get back to you on January 21, I’ll be as smoke-free as a drenched fire. Happy New Year to you all!

The Long Term Prospects of Freelancing

We freelancers enjoy a more flexible schedule (at least those who make a living exclusively through freelancing), and the opportunity to earn more within the same amount of time. But like corporate workers, it’s easy for us to fall into the rat race, where making money depends solely on our efforts. In other words, if we’re not careful, we’ll forever be working for money. What happens when we’re too old to work, or when our ideas are no longer on the money?

As we make a living through contract work, we should strive to reach a point where our hard-earned money works for us. One way to do this is to create money-generating assets along the way, so that when the time comes to retire, we’ll be certain of our financial future.

That’s not to say that freelancing is a dead-end career path. In fact, I believe freelancing provides greater opportunities to attain true wealth because being control of your own schedule makes it easy to pursue lucrative, asset-building opportunities.

Jun de Leon is currently the most sought after photographer here in the Philippines. He’s the favorite of local celebrities, and getting photographed by him is a status symbol of sorts.

Using the money he made as a freelancer, Mr. de Leon founded Wings Photography Inc. This company employs other photographers and artists, and is able to rent an office in a high-end commercial district, because of the income it generates—not solely from the efforts of Jun.

Wings Inc. represents an asset. Even if Jun decides to stop accepting freelancing projects, the company will continue earning money for him. The rest of us don’t have to start with such a big-scale operation, especially when we don’t have that much capital to work with (yet). Some small ventures, like vending machines, could prove a lucrative way to invest your money.