A Day in the Life of a Writer

A Day in the Life of a Writer

(Featured image credit: StockSnap)

And so I’m back. ☺ Hi there beloved reader of this post!

As promised, my next article will be about my “remote working feels.” God gave me the grace to have just a few hours to squeeze this in. 

To those who will be reading this for the first time, this is a “sequel article” to my previous articles about remote working, freelancing, telecommuting, and the likes. It was a total career shift for me from the field of education to my first love which is writing. If you will ask me why the shift from being a teacher to a writer, let’s just say classroom management is my waterloo. But I do love teaching. Yet, I love writing more. It was actually one of my prayers to God to give me a career opportunity where I can pursue both my passion for teaching and writing.

The answer? GOD MADE IT POSSIBLE. (Yay!)

How did it happen? I’ll explain later. 😀

This will be my first-hand experience on remote working and if you are already a remote worker like me, maybe you can relate. But if you’re still considering the option to work remotely, this might give you a heads up.

So, how do I go about my day being a writer/remote worker?

1. Start with a routine.

When I wake up, I do my devo first, do household chores, take a bath, then have my breakfast. I sometimes start working on my articles while eating breakfast. Or sometimes, I don’t eat breakfast and start working right away. 

2. Weigh your tasks.

This will mean prioritizing what you are going to do for the day. If I need to do errands on that day, for example, I have to assess if that errand will consume more time. If yes, I would need to finish my pending articles first. But if the errand has a time deadline too i.e. banks, bills payments, etc., then I would prepare everything I needed for the article the night before so I wouldn’t have to cram in finishing it the next day.

3. Create a deadline for yourself.

This is, by far, the most difficult. Because if there’s one challenge that any remote worker faces every day, it would be this – procrastination. So yes, beat yourself to that deadline and practice discipline at all times. Even if that bed looks so comfy and the weather is all gloomy and pretty much a bed weather, never forsake work over comfort. 😉

4. Check your productivity.

This will make it possible for you to keep track of your work’s progress. Always make sure you’re getting towards your goals and not falling behind.

5. Always look for online crash courses which could help you advance your skills in your area of expertise.

Ah yes, this, I totally love. And I just discovered this with LinkedIn. Yup! They offer a “free” trial period of their online courses and I haven’t used mine yet. 😀 Let’s just say I am still waiting for that right online course. 

6. Continue to challenge yourself to do not just the given tasks but be proactive in what else can you do to help in the betterment of your team’s performance.

Let’s admit it. Your team leader and the rest of your teammates are balancing priorities left and right too. So, it’s not just about getting things done but making sure you are also contributing to your team’s progress.

#1 and #2 are interchangeable depending upon your current needs. For example, in my case, I am currently juggling two jobs as a remote worker. Yes, the answer to my prayers. ☺

But before I get on with the how, the when, and the what, I just want to mention that before I finally got what I prayed for, it required me to seek first and foremost God’s wisdom over my plans. Honestly, I went through several job rejections too. I had a hard time balancing my priorities. I also had to give up my master’s degree. And a whole lot more of struggles left and right.

There were also things which I insisted I will do and I so wanted to have for as long as I put my 100% effort and will-power and yet, God closed those doors a thousand times too. So I finally got it that that door is not the one that God intended for me no matter how much effort and sacrifices I make just to have it. This verse reminded me of that:

“Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” – Proverbs 3:6

So I came to those moments of placidity – a moment of idleness. Those moments where I had my “serious” heart-to-heart talk with my Father.

“What do you want me to do? Where do you want me to go?”

Answers did not come as fast as I’d expected. The enemy played a part in it too by deceiving and tempting me with other opportunities. Sometimes the temptation comes in the form of my own motives.

But it’s a good thing the Scripture is around and the Spirit is greater than he who is in this world. So, God won, of course. 😉

You may read another similar article/testimony here in this link: “Is God Wasting My Life?”

I waited patiently. Always keep in mind that when you seek God’s will in your life, it requires patience. Why patience? Because patience is required for you to have faith. And faith is believing in the things that you do not see. If you aren’t “seeing” any outcome and you don’t have patience, your prayers, sad to say, are useless. Because most likely, you’ll easily give up and move on to your next prayer request.

As they say, believe in the power of your prayers, seek for God’s wisdom and His will over your plans, and lastly, be patient. This, I guess, is the formula in making sure in everything you do, you are assured that you are honoring God with everything.

So let’s now proceed to the job opportunities and I will lay them down one by one according to how each one has played a role in my decision-making.

First, I have a high tolerance for traffic congestion, long lines in the jeepney and taxi stands or walking far just to get to work and to get home. For me, they all require will power. As they say, “if there’s a will, then, there’s a way.” Unfortunately, my body can’t keep up. 😦

The first time I tried going back to the corporate world, my first week at work welcomed me with a cough and flu which went on for about several weeks and I had to take antibiotics for a week because it became severe and it just won’t go away. Another thing, I am a possible candidate for breast cancer. Yup, you can read more about that here in this link: https://chinginete.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/the-borrowed-life/.

Last Friday, my husband and I went to this mall in Makati’s business district to buy birthday gifts. When we were about to go home, heavy rains poured, and as expected, the traffic jam was a killer. It was also around rush hour so our usual 15-minute travel coming home was extended to an hour and a half. Pretty saddening, right? Oh, and so exhausting too. While inside the jeepney, I was staring at all the corporate employees and all their haggard, tired, and sullen faces and I was praying silently to God for more options to us working and commuting people.

Better options.

I cannot speak for all as we all have our own reasons why we work, why we chose that kind of work as well as our goals and dreams. We’re all different but for me, my decision to be a writer and work remotely certainly falls for only one reason: health.

I am not really the pro-promotion kind of employee as I am aware that promotions are most often equated to heavier responsibilities which require more of your time and more of your effort. It requires you make your career as your #1 priority. However, there are those who were really called to be in higher positions at work. But personally, I do not see myself as one of them. It is not even my main reason why I pursued a master’s degree.

My goal as to why I work is to earn money to provide for our needs and to use the extra money to help those in need also. Now, the latter is part of the reason why I can say that one of my jobs right now answers this. I am a content writer for the Emerging Business team of an e-commerce company. I have never thought about writing business articles or anything related to business.

But I am very eager to learn some business concepts even before I started this job. I have this feeling God is leading me towards this field from opportunities to interests. I cannot see clearly now what His plans are for me in this area, and yet I trust Him that I am right where He wanted me to be. 🙂

I have one guess why it has to be in the field of business. When we say “business,” oftentimes it has something to do with money. Yes, money is the root of all evil, as they say. And yet, it will only be regarded as such if you have the wrong reasons for having it. But if you are using the money to honor, glorify, and expand God’s kingdom, then money, in that sense, cannot be regarded as something evil.

I want to sponsor one or even more scholars in the Real Life Foundation in our church; I want to help send missionaries all over the world; I want to take part in every community outreach/medical mission event; I want to put up my own SpEd school which will cater the needs of Special Education students here in the Philippines; I want to put up a foundation for all the children with special needs who cannot afford to have the therapies; and a whole lot more of other advocacy.

I cannot do all those if I lack in finances. Volunteering, for me, can only do so much. I want to help in a way that I can see these people slowly reach their dreams and see them aim towards better opportunities in life.

The recent killings of juvenile delinquents here in the Philippines are very alarming. If only the spiritual family can reach out to them before another young life becomes a collateral damage again, the better opportunities for these kids to have another chance in life. Poverty is not reason enough why these kids should resort to crime, robbery, and drugs and vice versa. Poverty has an end. Education can be a tool for that – financial education, family planning education, livelihood education, and regular schooling. Faith makes it all happen.

If money is the problem, there are foundations willing to provide scholarships to students as long as students meet a certain criteria and fulfill a set of obligations. Just to mention a few, we have in church the Real Life Foundation. World Vision and Operation Blessing also provide that. These kids don’t actually need a one-time volunteering outreach event. What they need is serious mentoring making sure they’ve been given the right opportunities towards a better life through empowerment.

I am never a fan of spoon-feeding when it comes to succeeding in life in general. Just the way my parents have taught me, it is all about personal effort which consists of persistence, patience, and resilience. And yet faith has taught me too that it is only God who provides EVERYTHING we need and to trust in God alone.

So this, I am guessing, is one of the reasons why I am learning a lot from all my research in business, finances, and entrepreneurship. As much as I hate money when it becomes the root of all evil, I also know I needed it that much to help others. I did tell my husband a few months back that I wanted to take up a business management course. He told me that we are not financially capable for that. So he asked me why. I told him that one day I might have to take over our family business in Bicol along with my other siblings.

My guess again is that this job sort of hit two birds with one stone: I get to do what I love and I get to learn all about business and finances for free from all my research. 

So I did mention that I love teaching. I love literature. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in this field and I have the passion to share knowledge or pass it on to anyone who is willing to learn. The next job opportunity came in the form of an English content specialist for an e-learning platform. This job is project-based and it gives me the opportunity to impart what I learned from the academe to the younger generations and help them achieve their goals as a student through additional learning supplements in the form of lesson plans. Teachers also get to benefit from these lesson plans (calling fellow teachers out there to check it out). 🙂

Now isn’t God amazing? All it took was persistence in prayers, more personal time with Him, more immersion in the Scripture, and complete trust in His leading alongside disappointments, failures, and sacrifices. 

As this verse goes on to say:

“Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3

Those were the good opportunities. The not-so-good ones came, for example, in the form of a teaching opportunity abroad. I am not saying that working abroad is a bad opportunity. But let’s just say that it isn’t for everyone. I, for one, can’t see myself working abroad if my husband will be left here all alone. I will be going against my marriage oath and commitment to God to be with my spouse AT ALL TIMES. The compensation is far greater than what I’d be earning here but I am also thinking about the collateral damages and the consequences.

This now brings us to priorities. As a wife, the mandate from God when it comes to priorities is God first, second is the spouse, third is family, fourth is the career, and last is the ministry. One of my prayers to God during the whole decision-making process is to help me align my priorities right and balance everything making sure each priority is getting its intended attention, time, and effort. The article below is a favorite of mine as it shares how women can both be successful in their careers and their family lives.

Forbes: “Five Ways Working Women Really Can Have It All” by Candice Lu

That is now my current prayer – to be able to balance all my priorities well as a wife, as a content writer, as a content specialist, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a sister-in-Christ, including weighing of tasks and managing of time. I know God has brought me in this certain season for a purpose which includes serving Him and others and though I may have a few doubts and worries, He will lead the way for sure. 🙂

As God has promised:

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

And as my life verse says:

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4: 13

P.S.

My special thanks to my family for all the support and to my sisters in Christ for all the prayers. ❤

 

 

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The Digital Age: Remote Work and Telework Defined

The Digital Age: Remote Work and Telework Defined

Hurrah to those who are planning to be stay-at-home Moms or are stay-at-home-Moms already! 😀

This is really good news to me too even though I am not a Mom yet but also transitioning from being a corporate/office employee to doing remote work or work-at-home setup.

I haven’t considered this thought of working at home until circumstances compelled me that working in an office or a classroom is not part of the option. Back in 2002, the concept of working remotely isn’t that unfamiliar anymore. But during that time, only a few companies promote the work-at-home setup to its employees.

Modern technology and its rapid advancements made all this sudden switch from the office to home possible. The increasing trend on social media marketing, for example, challenged businesses in their advertising strategies from print ads to what we call now as ‘digital marketing.’

I have conducted ‘extensive and intensive’ research about the options to work at home and a lot of websites are offering work-at-home opportunities which suit my qualifications, work experience, skills, my interests and more importantly, the working hours. I have highlighted in my previous blog post that the reason why I have decided to make the shift is partly because I intend to prioritize family time and health issues.

Praise God, after how many months of browsing and waiting for the right opportunity to come along, it did come. I was hired by a company and went through the normal hiring process by taking an exam and having an interview. I underwent training and currently in a probationary period.

I am a freelance writer for the first 1-2 months or until I finished 25 articles. Then I will be paid per article submitted but when I transition to staff writer (if I pass company’s standards), which is a full-time position, I’ll be receiving regular pay given every 15th and 30th of the month. The company also offers SLs and VLs for the employee but it still depends upon the work load. The work schedule is still 8 hours a day everyday or a total of 40 hours per week.

The Digital Age: Remote Work and Telework Defined

But before you decide on making that career shift to become a remote worker too, do read this article written by our Editorial Manager. It’s a very insightful read. 🙂

Making That Career Shift

So are you decided to make that career shift now? If yes, I’ll share these websites which are a great help in knowing what kind of remote work is best for you.

Most of these articles which I lifted from different websites were written starting year 2016 until now. Take note that this was the year wherein a lot of articles about home-based jobs were published. I actually would like to conduct even further research as to the cause behind the boom in remote jobs which, I am guessing, has a lot to do with not just the digitization of almost everything from books to learning but how businesses are making the general shift as well. I thought it would be nice to come up with an in depth explanation that will showcase the development and how they were all interrelated.

But it is going to be business marketing. I should take another course for that. lol I am actually interested to take a short business course but I just have one concern, is it possible to study business marketing, economics or finance without having to deal with numbers? Haha I think that is not possible. I love to learn the concepts and ideas but I am not sure if I’ll be able to do all the Math, if you know what I mean.

Lately, business marketing has expanded enormously in different arenas. Even the fields of education are mashed up with businesses and online marketing. Distance learning used to be just a simple video conference call among students and professors mimicking the traditional classroom setup but this time the opportunities became endless. Now, this teaching setup was transferred to homes and students are given the option to hire a professional online teacher who can assist him hands-on with the subject.

Ah yes, there are countless possibilities bound to happen in the years to come and who knows, sci-fi movies about everything being turned virtual are not far from becoming a reality.

So How Did I Explain This To My Family

The generation gap is harder to bridge than I thought. My now 72-year-old Mom who’s sharper in mind than ever and I, a 30 something young wife, find it hard to make these gaps meet career wise. The only technology that my Mom is adept in using is a regular cellphone, not the smartphone. 😉

My Mom doesn’t know anything about social media, digital marketing, etc. Every time she asks me why I did not take the traditional classroom teacher job though I have taken master’s degree units, I am a licensed professional teacher and started explaining about the work-at-home job opportunities, I know she is completely lost in translation. 😀

It is the social stigma attached to working at home which is less dignified, less professional, less fulfilling if you are a career-oriented person, etc. that ate among the few and common misconceptions towards any transitioning corporate employee to a remote worker. To make it short, these types of jobs were typically looked down as something inferior compared if you work in an office.

I guess the only way to clear these misconceptions is by stating the very definition of what remote work/telework/telecommute means. But I am just grateful though that when the right opportunity came, my family, including my husband, gave their full support in this endeavor. Ah yes, praise God indeed.

What is telework or remote work?

  1. It is synonymous to telecommuting and though their definitions may be closely related, there is still a difference between the two. Here are a couple of excerpts from Wikipedia’s definition of telecommuting but I suggest reading the entire article. I gained a lot of insight from it more so because this kind of working environment is also new to me.

“Telecommuting, also called remote work,[1] telework, or teleworking,[2] is a work arrangement in which employees do not commute or travel (e.g. by bus or car) to a central place of work, such as an office buildingwarehouse or store.

All types of technology-assisted work conducted outside of a centrally located work space (including work undertaken in the home, outside calls, etc.) are regarded as telework. Telecommuters often maintain a traditional office and usually work from an alternative work site from 1 to 3 days a week.[4]

As a broader concept than telecommuting, telework has four dimensions in its definitional framework: work location, that can be anywhere outside of a centralized organizational work place; usage of ICTs(information and communication technologies) as technical support for telework; time distribution, referring to the amount of time replaced in the traditional workplace; and the diversity of employment relationships between employer and employee, ranging from contract work to traditional full-time employment.[7]

Some organizations adopt telecommuting to improve workers’ quality of life, as teleworking typically reduces commuting time and time stuck in traffic jams. As well, teleworking may make it easier for workers to balance their work responsibilities with family roles (e.g., caring for children or elderly parents). Some organizations adopt teleworking for environmental reasons, as telework can reduce congestion and air pollution, as it can reduce the number of cars on the roads.

Telecommuting is also called “remote work”,[1] “telework”, or “teleworking”.[2] A person who telecommutes is known as a “telecommuter”, “teleworker”, and sometimes as a “home-sourced”, or “work-at-home” employee. A telecommuter is also called the “telecommuting specialist”, as a designation and in a professional context. Many telecommuters work from home, while others, sometimes called “nomad workers” work at coffee shops or other locations. The terms “telecommuting” and “telework” were coined by Jack Nilles in 1973.[11]

telework allows employees to better manage their work and family obligations and thus helps retain a more resilient Federal workforce better able to meet agency goals.

Telecommuting individuals, or more specifically those in “work from home” arrangements, may find that it improves work-life balance, reduces their carbon footprint and fuel usage, frees up the equivalent of 15 to 25 workdays a year (time they would have otherwise spent commuting), and saves thousands of dollars per year in travel and work-related costs.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommuting

Here are a couple more websites to help us understand better what telework encompasses and how different it is to freelancing/telecommuting. Although I do get the notion now that if you are a teleworker and still doing other jobs on the side, then you are a teleworker who is also a freelancer. 😀

Forbes magazine has this feature article on telecommuting as the future of work. Do you agree? Yes, I totally agree that it’s going to be for the betterment of every telecommuter/teleworker/nomad worker. 🙂

If you’ve been reading my previous articles, it’s been my constant prayer to God to lead and equip me in fulfilling His will and His plans. I always ask for His instructions over my life, my decisions, and my choices. I cannot boast about my “superwoman” abilities because it was all God from the very start. With the flexi time that remote work/telework offers, I can squeeze in errands for my family, help out friends, spend quality time with hubby, and do ministry work while earning at the same time.

Yup! You read it right. God answered my prayer this time in having a ministry to serve with through the communications team of Minkah Ministries Inc. I am just loving their advocacy which is all about reaching out to the communities (not the usual community we live in) and share about faith. Moreover, Minkah‘s founder Tita Beth also shared another good news – the organization has been now officially approved by the SEC as an NGO.

2017-07-21-21-14-22-430

w/ Minkah Ministries Inc. founder, Tita Beth and Communications Lead, Jam. 🙂

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Minkah Ministries Inc.

I’m like, “wow, Lord” indeed it is all you. I just can’t believe everything that’s happening right now wherein they’re all aligned perfectly just the way they should go. Yes, not a coincidence but all orchestrated by God for the fulfillment of His plans and His will. And yes too, all glory to God as always. ❤

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

“Commit your work to the Lordand your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3

Part of my research at work also brought me to watching these great videos of famous entrepreneurs and I was agreeing the whole time to what the speakers have shared. Please do find time to finish watching the videos, I am sure you’ll be inspired by the end of it. 🙂

 

Here’s Bill Gates‘ Harvard Commencement Address in 2007:

 

The video below is Mark Zuckerberg‘s Harvard Commencement Address in 2017:

 

So I will just end this article with this awesome two-liner from Mark Zuckerberg and a bible verse quoted by Bill Gates both in their Harvard Commencement Speeches.

“To create not progress but purpose – a sense of purpose….The greater successes come from the freedom to fail.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-Founder

“…When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” – Luke 12:48 (As shared by Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder)

P.S.

I will be writing in another article about the necessary things needed to process your change of employment status at the BIR, SSS, Philhealth and Pagibig should you also go for remote work or work-at-home setup. For the health card, hubby suggested that he’ll enroll me under his health card so I need not apply a new one.

That’s it for now. 🙂

*Feature Image Copyright: Shutterstock