The Freelancer’s Guide To Survival: Being More Productive

In this episode I discuss amongst other things, the tricks I use to get myself to start doing more.

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I’m enjoying making these and I just want to say before I start on the topic, I want to encourage you guys to have a go at a podcast yourself, because it’s really therapeutic. I didn’t think that talking into a microphone on my own, in a room was going to be, I didn’t even know what I was going to talk about, but I didn’t think I’d be sharing this kind of stuff. And I honestly didn’t think that it would be so beneficial. But I’m finding that I’m really enjoying these. I find it that I actually want to make these. And while the  first few I was struggling at season one was all about trying to come up with the concept episodes, what do you do in a podcast? What do you talk about for so many things? And really I did it totally wrong. It was scripted. So if you go back, It was thoughtfully scripted. I tried too hard and this is like just me talking now and I’m really getting the benefits and there’s something so liberating about sharing your mind, sharing the things in the deepest, maybe darkest parts of your brain and your experience. And you share that, knowing that, just knowing that you listened to. If you think about it, when people complain, if you ever work in sales, if you’ve got clients, freelancers, so you do entrepreneurs. Usually when a client has a complaint, as soon as you know, all they want is for the complaint to be heard. I will never forget this quote from Deepak Chopra. And he said, even a thought wants the right to exist. 

Even a thought wants the right to exist. So that’s the power of a thought. Cause it won’t go. So all this baggage, all the stuff that’s in the back of your mind, you don’t think that you’ve got anything to share, I’m telling you, you have just the way I’m talking about my experience and all you’ve got to do, you can document your experience to date. And do you know what will happen? You’ll learn so many skills. You’ll learn how to talk without saying, um, uh, uh, because it’s real, you’ll learn to construct your thoughts in a way that is palatable for other people and that they can benefit from it. Gosh, my wife says that I talk so much. She said, Oh, and she used to talk a lot, but me, for me, it’s always been deep, meaningful things, soul shaking things, you know, things on a real level. I was just telling another friend of mine today, I was telling him to start the podcast because he’s got so much content. He’s been a tennis coach and because of the field he’s been in, tennis is one of those things that you get all people from all, but predominantly, probably good backgrounds. Quite a few high chiefs are playing tennis. So he’s had amazing stories and I’m like I said, you need to start a podcast and share and really even if nobody listens, it doesn’t matter. What you’re doing is you’re sharing your stuff and you’re getting it off your chest.

We want to be heard. That’s the most important thing, right? And we want to voice, we want to voice our opinions, are little bit, two pence worth so we can help others. I was speaking to my dad just the other day and he said he was talking about two of his best friends who had passed away. Two too young, one died of a brain tumor. He was a little bit older than me, I guess right now. So I’m 45. So he’s probably about 45, 50. I don’t know, maybe 40, maybe 40 ish. Very young. He died very young, all of a sudden. And then there was another friend who died in India. And it was a horrific accident. What happened was they were at, him and his wife, my auntie, in the asian community we call our family, dad’s friends. We don’t call them by their name as a sign of respect. We call them uncle or auntie cause it’s like, they’re a senior figure. There are different level than me and they have experienced, we respect them. He passed away very sadly him and his wife. They were in India, in a car, and they were stuck on a train crossing. And they couldn’t get off it because there were cars in front and cars behind. And this idiot driver had just been in a rush, he parked it there and they couldn’t go anywhere and the train hit them and he killed them. They died instantly and you know,I always believe that we, we tend to go. I miss when Romantica, when we’ve done, what you meant to do, experience what we were meant to experience, we go. And, but what it leaves is a hole in somebody else’s life. Although that person moves on, everyone around him is impacted by the loss.

I said to dad, I said, you know, dad, that talking to your friends, is such an important part of life. I said, I found a friend on the microphone. I found a friend in me. I know there’s something that some people might think, you know, that was really sad, but it’s so liberating. I’m not reliant on other people because I’ll always be here for the whole length of my life. And I don’t need other people to share and to bounce off. Everyone’s so busy and nobody cares. They’re always going to give you their opinion about something. Nobody really cares. There’s going to be judgment. Maybe there’s empathy, but people are so busy these days. You know, back in those days, my uncle used to tube down to my dad’s shop and he used to come in and help behind the counter and I would work and it was wonderful, and his son became a good friend of mine. But it was, what I’m saying is you don’t have to be on your own just because there’s no be around to talk to. And that’s increasingly going to happen guys. Cause there’s only so many zoom calls. I mean, with zoom, I don’t think it’s, it’s kind of a headache. Right. But people are busier. Have you notice, before people used to pick up their phones now it’s like, text me, let me know. You know, before it was like, I’ll tell you what happened, right. Let me share this. When I was a kid, people just used to turn up to our house. It was like no calls. Forget that. They just turn up and they would get fed. It would be wonderful. Everybody just got on with it. There was enough food. There was enough time. It was just wonderful. And then it became, Oh we have to phone up people before we turn up. It’s rude. It’s rude to turn up. You have to plan it and arrange it. 

Suddenly it’s become really complex because that simple thing which was spontaneous has now become planned. And it’s really difficult to plan like a great night out. You can’t plan it. I mean the best nights out I’ve had, are ones where I didn’t even know I was going to go out and there was no plan. It was just like, it happened and the dynamics of the people around us and the energy, there was something magically in the air. And it just happened. And that’s actually what my topic is about today. Funny enough. So it wraps up nicely.

It’s about finding the magic. I mean, finding the magic in your life, finding that spark. Because otherwise we just become slaves to a to do list. And to me that’s not humanity. That’s just, we’re behaving like robots. We have to achieve something. We have to do this and have to that. Right. And to me that’s sad. That’s really sad because it’s missing the whole point of humanity, which is meant to be an adventure. If you plan everything, where’s the fun in there? If you just go, you’ll live so much more free. If you just get up and go, if you don’t know where you’re going and just let the path take you, I know I’ve been on the most wonderful, wonderful adventures with people when it’s just unplanned with friends. I remember once I went for a pub crawl with my cousin. You know, these pub crawls were great when we were allowed to do them. Fantastic. Oh my gosh. It was like four people in one bar, but they had a singer. And I was singing away with this guy just on two pints, walking. It was the best night I had. It was like in my local area with my cousin. Nothing planned. It was just like, should we just do a little pup on this, go to this one. I have two points here. Let’s go to the next place. And it’s wonderful. And it’s free. 

What I want to say is start living your life like that. I want to challenge you. Yes the list is powerful. Yes you’ll hit your targets, but you’ll miss the point of light. Which is to live. You know, there’s not a formula. You can’t get a bunch of things together and have that magic in life come up. You have to live it and you have to live it freely and spontaneously. Bashar says, follow your highest excitement. And that’s what I want to say. When you have to do something, are you following your highest excitement? Winter is starting to come now with, this is like the last few weeks of summer. It’s going to start getting darker earlier. It’s going to start getting colder. Those of you may be, we might have to start going back to the offices. Those of you who work in offices or on a Monday.  So on a Monday, think of it, what do you want to do? Would you want to get up? Or you just want to stay in bed? Because you have to get up. Have to sucks the life out of us. That’s my point. When you have to do this, you have to do your homework. You have to eat your greens. You have to exercise. You have to, I don’t know, donate 10% of your wealth. You have to watch what you say. You’re not living, that’s not life. You don’t want to do that. Right? I would say it comes at a great price and people won’t tell you this online. I’ve not seen this where they say, oh, follow your freedom or follow the light. The light is part of life, as opposed to having to do this and having to do that. 

And as freelancers we are in control of our own parts, of our own destinies, of our own jobs, of our own clients. We’re in control of that, of our own schedules. We have that power and because you work for someone else doesn’t mean you don’t have that, but there is more of a noose around your neck. My dad used to say, he was always telling me we were raised by wonderful business people. My dad, my uncle, a wonderful businessman. And they were like, Oh, you work for someone else. You can’t even font. Excuse the expression. It’s a punjabi and punjabi is like a pretty honest, ruthless, vile language. We just say it as it is. And there’s usually a lot of reference to fonts and bodily noises and all that stuff, but it’s true. It’s real. It’s the fact that you work for someone else and you are too worried about getting sacked or what do they think of you? What’s the image. I’ve been in meetings where people have been so bloody serious. And now we’re doing meetings at home in front of zoom and you’ve got your kids walking in and they might be screaming at you. Because they can’t find something right. They need our help. “Help me” as a kid says. But they don’t really say help me. They don’t say it in those nice words, right. That desperate they need. You know, it’s like that’s real life. 

We were telling this story to a recently married couple, friend of ours and they were like, yeah. I can see in their eyes they were both very corporate. It was like Ooh, that’s a boundary that you don’t cross because you have to keep this pretense at work and this professionalism. And this is the thing, you know, we do keep it. We put on these masks wherever we go. We’re constantly wearing a mask. And when we’re at work, talking to other people, when you are with clients or with your boss or everything else, that’s another mask we’re wearing. It’s not the real us.

So when we do this have to thing, have to get up on a Monday, you’re not going to want to get up. So what’s the solution Amrit? What’s the big idea? What’s the advice you can give us? Well one of the ways is you can flip it. You can turn the whole half to psyche. The fact that you do not want to have to do anything, even though you feel good about doing it afterwards, but you turn that on its head.

What do I do sometimes? I don’t want to get out of bed. So then you say, okay, you know what? I have to stay in bed. I have to stay in bed all day. And suddenly uh I don’t have to stay in bed all day. It’s like, suddenly your back feels a bit more glued. There’s suddenly that residue of stickiness and confinement and the fact that you have to do something and you don’t want to do it. So that’s one simple way. So you flip the switching or you flip it on its head and you say, okay, you have to do the thing that you don’t want to do. So if you’re trying to get out of bed and you can’t say I have to stay in bed, if you’re trying to, this is a good idea. If you’ve been drinking too much, if you’re trying to give up alcohol or drink less, so you have to drink more. Soon if you put the have to in front, there’s something magical about it. It just puts me off. I don’t know about you guys. You have to eat that cake. You have to do this and you have to do that. So use that, use how the fact that we’re wired to not, and that works for me. Because I hate doing things that people tell me to do. I hate being told what to do. I think most people are like that. Cause that’s not a normal human state. You’re supposed to have, you know, being able to think for yourself and make your own mind up, decide for yourself. But actually we’ve been conditioned so much. We’ve been told, we could put your hand up to go to the toilet when you were a kid to, you know, speak. You have to put your hand up. It was like, I get, because the teacher has to control the class. But the thing is maybe a classroom isn’t the best way to teach kids. Maybe the best way for them to learn is by following others.

How many kids at school actually use all the subjects anyway? I’ve never used so much maths I’ve done. I’ve never used that physics other than talking about it. I’d never really used it. Is the education system even worth? I thought that education is a big waste of money, especially the way universities, people are going so much debt. It’s a stupid system. And I know that’s a controversial topic in itself, but the education system is full of have to’s. You have to do this work. You have to attend lectures. You have to finish your assignment by this time. You have to take these exams, which are pointless. Exams are the most ridiculous thing, I think that humanity has come up with as a way to  measure intelligence. And this is what we’re saying, we’re saying, Oh, you can learn and recite a bunch of things and interpret it. Okay, fine. We’re going to test you and mark you on this based on one exam. Each of us has potential. Each of us has value. 

I’ll never forget this story a friend of mine told me, he worked for a bank. I think it was Morgan something or another. It was one of the other, doesn’t matter. It was in Canary Wharf somewhere. He was doing right. It’s just started on the graduate scheme. And he phoned me up and he said, Hey Amrit. I said, aren’t you at work? He said, no, something’s happened. I said, what do you mean? He said, I don’t understand. He said, everything was fine. And suddenly HR called me into a meeting and they said, it’s not working out. You need to sign this document and go, cause I don’t understand it, I said, mate you’ve pissed off somebody quite senior. Think about it. What did you do? I said that doesn’t just happen. You’ve pissed somebody off really senior. What have you done? So he thought about it and what was happening at this graduate scheme, and it often happens at graduate schemes, a bank will basically get a whole of graduates all from different backgrounds who pass the long interview process. You’ll do tests. You’ll do all that stuff, malarkey and suddenly you’re good enough to work there. And then they’ll allocate you a department. And in most cases, I mean, I remember when I was at credit Swiss, I was in their graduate scheme and they were people with PhDs in physics in the it call center, doing support calls. And they had PhDs in physics. What a bad way, what a waste of resource. There you go. That’s what a PhD in physics got these days. They were IT support, phone call trackers, loggers, and how humiliating.

Anyway, back to this guy, he basically said, Oh yes. He said I was, I was talking, he said there was a managing director, you know these banks, they’ve got like a million managing MDs which is a really bizarre concept managing director. But anyway, I thought there’s usually just one, but they, the Americans have loads of it and these were MDs and this MD was saying, basically all the graduates were coming waning. They were saying, Hey, it’s not fair. We’re not being allocated jobs according to our skillsets. And he basically tendered and said, Put up or shut up. He said, you need to, if you don’t like it, there’s the door. And my friend, he’s got some balls. He stood up to this guy and he said, hang on a minute. He said, every one of these people has a unique value that they bring to the table. They’re not worthless. They’re not just easily replaceable. Each person is unique.So they should be allocated according to that uniqueness. And this guy, the MD just looked at him, didn’t say anything. He just stayed quiet. And he raised his eyebrow and he went, huh? Who was this guy? Well, we know what happened after that. My friend was asked to leave.

And he did really well actually. He did really well. Cause I said, listenmate, you’ve got some serious balls. You’ve got serious potential. Don’t lose that. You did. You acted on your instinct and you did the right thing. Most people are too scared to do that. They’re just too scared to stand up and live because they’re afraid of losing their jobs. That’s the society that we’ve been raised in. You put up or you shut up. You know, the whole humanity is like that. The whole work system. You didn’t like it, go. That’s the way it is. And you know that’s cool. I’ve got people who work for me. And I say to them, I want you to be inspired and excited about what you do. And I said, find your excitement. I said, yes there, and this is going to be a boring job, this job, but we can have fun. We can do the stuff that makes us interested, you know, things that we find interesting. And put them on training courses in whichever ones they want. I asked them to allocate 20% of their time on learning, 20% of their time on learning. Who does that? Which companies do that 20% of your time on learning? If we did that, do you know that’s one of the secrets behind my success? 

So a little bit about me. I actually run two businesses. I’ve always kept one business quiet. I haven’t wanted to share anything about that. It’s real estate, property rental. It’s a portfolio I manage and it’s a family owned portfolio and I need to, you know, I’m the one who’s responsible for managing all our responsibilities in my head and I found that to be incredibly boring because I’ve been, I do not like people with people’s complaints rather. I love people, but I do, I can’t stand the moaning. So I put processes in place tomake my life easier, you know. I could have saved some money and done everything myself. Or I could pay somebody else, teach them how to do it, make a process. And the process is simple. If this, then that, if this happens, then you do that. That’s how computer programs work, if this, then that and a business isn’t that complicated believe me. It’s always the same stuff. Always the same stuff. So, you break down the processes into if this, then that and you map it out. You could ask your employee to document it themselves, but usually in the beginning you need to do it for them. You need to do it with them and process flows. And the beauty is when you’ve got a process flow, let’s say one employee drops dead or goes ill or whatever goes missing, finds another job,your whole business won’t go on put because you can take on another person to do that. If this, then that. Look at the documentation. 

So we’ve got, we’ve got out the whole Monday have to thing. It’s great isn’t it being able to just share and talk openly and I hope that you’re having as much fun as I am making this. Cause there’s so much to share. I did the last podcast, I think two days ago. And I’m thinking, well, I can release this next week and I’m done. I could do two a week. It’s just nice. It’s nice being able to talk, being able to share this stuff. I’ve covered quite a bit today. I did have other things to say. For example, other topics, but they’re so big. They were big enough for their own rights. 

One of the things I was going to cover was being a super learner. One of my friends, he calls me, he says, Amrit, you are a super learner. He said, I don’t know anybody who can grasp the concept as fast as you and just take it on. And I’m like, anybody can do this. He goes, yeah. But you do it consistently. So, what does that mean? You know, you get people who say when I retire I paint or learn music, or compose, or learn to write a book or whatever they want to do. Right. It’s all possible, but you have to lend the skills and that’s for another day, I will share all that stuff, but this topic today was about staying in really using the power of have to and flipping it on its head. I think that if you just do that this week, that’s enough. I think if you just see the power of that, you know, one thing at a time ago, like a million things to talk about, and the beauty is, you know, I do, I’ll use other examples to bring the stories to life. 

So if you think about it, if you look at any great speaker, they always use stories and parables because people can relate to stories. They say humanity was built on stories and survived as a species because of stories and the stories we told each other where don’t go in that direction because that’s where the lions will eat you. And they’ll tell you stories about how villages are being wiped out. So it was like the survival of humanity was based on telling stories. So there’s something deeply rooted in our essence, in our core, in our being related to story. In another topic I might talk about flow, states of flow, which is what I’m doing right now. I mean, how can somebody talk for so long and not even have it scripted? Because it’s real, because it’s in my gut and I want to share it. 

And having the music helps. I might do an experiment because this is kind of nice thought provoking music, and it really does help kind of rewire the brain and encourage you to think more. I’m using music. Whereas if I didn’t have this music on, it would be quiet and believe me, the thoughts, there’s a bit more pressure because then like the silence, you know, people aren’t comfortable with the silence. Now I’ve got music filling in the silence and if it’s kind of slightly more positive music than I might go in a more positive way, if it’s slightly more quiet and then I might lower my voice. It’s like I’m using the music as a tool to come up with these content for the podcast. 

I’m wondering, should I continue talking? Should I continue rambling? Well I think we’ve done enough. I think we’ve done enough for this episode and I really do enjoy, like I said. And I’ll keep coming up with more topics. I had a hundred downloads and I think 98 of them are from me. But anyway I use Buzzsprout to share my stuff. It’s like $12 a month or something. And they upload to Google podcasts and Apple and a few others. If you’re wondering how to start, the other thing that I would recommend is, you know, you can pretty much get any mic, just make sure it’s, could even record it on your phone. Just make sure that the microphone, I mean, a lot of people used to use those blue Yetis. There are better mics out there. But you can just get a regular USB mic. There’s a Samsung C01, it’s quite popular, whatever mic you choose, just get started. Just get started. Do that this week and I will say to you, you have to not start a podcast. Does that work? You’re not allowed to start a podcast. Or say that to yourself.

We’ve got to use as freelancers, as business people, entrepreneurs, we’ve got to use whatever we can to inspire ourselves. There’s nobody else who is going to inspire us. So there’s a set responsibility that we have and we have the answers in us. Voice tells us, Oh, do this, don’t do that. Never really forcefully tells us, but it’s like a very gentle thing. I’ve learned that that voice is usually correct. It tells us, advises us and that’s our guide. Whereas the other voices, which are like do this and do that, that could be from anything it could be from marketing could be from, you know, all these kinds of things.

I really enjoyed this episode four, People productive. I hope you enjoy these guys. If you’re listening to this, do comment. Do reach out to me. Give us some feedback. I think these are good for like car journeys. A friend of mine who I’ve been kind of coaching, I’m not a coach. I’m not a coach. I don’t want to be a coach. I help people and give advice, but I don’t want to get paid for it. I just don’t want that responsibility. But he said, Hey, I had a really nice journey,it was a really nice drive, listening to you in your podcast. And I had another one from actually one of my guys who works with me. He said, your last podcast, It’s really nice. I said, what’d you like about it? He said, well, you were just honest talking about how you miss your wife and stuff. She’s back today, I was having so much fear, like, Oh my gosh, hope she gets back in one piece.

Anyway, look, you know what? We can’t control other things. We can’t, you know, life is not in our control. The realistic thing is that relationships that are in our life are there for a time period. We don’t know when people are going to go. They won’t die because death is just really transformational form. They change. They no longer be in that body though. Things will ever be the same. They’ll still be around. But you  won’t be able to feel them. You’ll still be able to speak to them. But we’ll never be the same. So value relationships, value the people around you.

You don’t know when they’re going to go guys. And then we’d be left with this microphone talking. And that’s one of the other reasons, I mean, me talking, like I said, when I started off this episode, it’s very much about me not relying on other people. But me making my life more self-sufficient. Because as freelancers, we are on our own and we need to be able to cope and enjoy our time on our own with ourselves. If you enjoy your own company with yourself, then you’ll never feel like you’re alone. And the podcast will help you explore your thoughts, your mind, your depths. This is kind of like meditation for me. Hope you like music. I was thinking parts of it might be too epic, but I like the balance. I’ve got three tracks. My tend to do here is three tracks and they just loop, again and again, and again, some of it stops gentle. Yeah, I hope you hope you enjoy. 

Anyway. Any who? That is me done. My wife should be on her way home. One hour, away. Yup. One hour away. No 38 minutes away on find my iPhone. We always do that as a family. We track each other because then they can know, Oh, that’s really good. Wait a minute, she’s home. She’s five minutes away. Yay. She’s five minutes away.I love that girl. She is everything to me. She is so close. I’m going to help her break. Excited to see. I haven’t seen him since Friday. Today’s Sunday, right? You’re saying it’s only two days actually. She said she one whole day. No, she left on, I saw her on Friday, so it’s like a month, anyways she’s back. And I’m going to see her make her a nice cup of tea or something.

So hope you enjoyed this. The final time. I’m going to say goodbye and yeah, I’ve done it about 45 minutes now. So thank you guys. I’ll see you on the next, the next one. Thanks for listening. Bye.

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