I realized over the last couple of weeks that the holidays mean much less to the freelancer than to the regular working stiff. I had already experienced the differences with "sick" time, and had applied that to "vacation" days as well, but this was different. My wife would be home, family and friends would be off of work, and there would be things to do, right? Well, in a sense, yes... there was plenty to do.
My upcoming deadlines - looming ever larger - pushed there way into the fore-front of my thoughts the weekend after Christmas. I spent a good amount of time getting my instruction materials together (which i have now finished), and working on some examples and exercises. I was also needed on Christmas Eve to do some support for a client, not that I mind - I don't celebrate Christmas all that strongly - but it would have been unheard of in my career life. And in that other existence, I would have been working on side projects through the holidays anyway, making it seem like something I should be doing during those "days off".
Ultimately I am fine with this arrangement, and I do enjoy working at home - for many reasons, both the obvious and some that are not-so. When I look back on the end of 2008, I see a strongly made decision, not made in haste - although not with complete fore-sight. The coming year will demonstrate whether this style of life will sustain me, and I hope it does.
I don't make New Year's resolutions, I make resolutions all year-round. As I see my deadline for the new web application I am developing slip by (January 1), and my hours for contract work exceeding my estimates by huge percentages, I realize that I need to do a much better job of managing my time. I thus resolve to work at setting more realistic deadlines and estimates, and working to ensure that my time management improves over time. I can do this by monitoring my work better (time-tracking), and doing better post-mortems on projects (even the small ones).