Work to Live, Not Live to Work: How to Plan Your Work Schedule and Paychecks

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When you’re an independent worker, you need more careful planning to be sure bills get paid and everything stays in place with your financial life. But you don’t want to get into a habit of living to work. Instead, you want to work to live. That can help you break the pattern of picking up any job you can get and scrambling to pay bills and stay on top of the payments that need to be made.

It’s much better to work to live, where you work as much as you want and are comfortable with but also focus on living the life you enjoy and deserve. Here’s how you can get started down that path and have more flexible work as a gig worker in this economy.

Decide on the Kind of Lifestyle You Want

The first thing to do when you want to work to live is to decide on the kind of lifestyle that’s right for you. Identify the type of life you want to lead. Someone who wants a quiet life in a small town will need a far different financial plan than someone who wants to be a jet-setter and travel the world. But both of those goals are perfectly fine, and so is anything and everything in between.

The goal is not to decide on the kind of lifestyle you think you should have, or that others want you to have. Instead, you need to determine what really works for your needs and the future you want to build for yourself. Then, figure out the kinds of expenses you’ll realistically have for that lifestyle and determine how much you need to put aside or save to get it.

Remain Active and Selective When Searching for Projects

When you build your life around gig work, you need to stay active in your job search. That means searching for flexible work and freelancing gigs frequently, but also remembering that you don’t have to take every single opportunity that comes your way unless you literally need the money to eat or pay a bill.

If you have even a little bit of room in your budget, you can focus on opportunities that are better at helping you build career and financial goals. Understand what your job application process should look like, and work out a formula to make it easier. Also make sure you’re prepared for any jobs you do get, so you can get started on them and complete them by their deadlines.

You can land your dream gigs as an independent worker, but you need to stay selective, apply often, and know how to showcase what you bring to the table. Before applying for any gig work, consider the type of job, deadline, pay rate, and other factors carefully.

Plan for and Understand Your Paycheck Cycles

When you’re considering whether to take a job, make sure you understand when it pays and how often. That will give you a way to allocate your funds more easily so you can avoid late payments on your bills. When you work to live you have the ability to make payments on time, and you can get there with careful planning that lets you have the money you need when you need it most.

With proper planning, working to live is much easier. As an independent worker, you’re in the unique position to control the jobs you take and the income you receive to a certain extent. Gig work can help you do that, and when you plan properly you can achieve your financial and career goals on your own terms.


About the Author: Michelle Dakota Beck has worked as a professional freelance writer since the 1990s. During that time she has written everything from product descriptions to full-length books. Her areas of specialization include real estate, home services, legal topics, relationships, family life, and mental health issues. You can find her on WriterAccess.

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