Welcome to the freelance club. Now sit back and watch the money roll in. Take it easy and enjoy the amount of free time you now have. Put up your feet and fall in love with working to your own schedule.
Wait. Not happening?
Freelancing is a tricky business, there are many positives and many more negatives which come with this work adventure. And if you know me, I talk all the time how this is NOT a shortcut to get money. Like for real, work is work, and just because you can choose your own hours, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to do the work. Things will hit the fan if you don’t discipline yourself and create a productive routine.
1. Create a space. And actually work there
If you are anything like me, then you are easily distracted by your surrounding area. You are sat on the couch, but the cat walking through your yard is acting very suspicious. You try your room, but Netflix has been left on from this morning and, wait, THERE’S A FRIENDS EPISODE YOU HAVEN’T SEEN?!
Take the time to create your own space, hire an interior decorator or do it yourself, but designate a space where you can work and do nothing else. A desk, a lamp, paper and a pen, your laptop, a coaster for your coffee mug and an adequate view. Now when you sit down (or stand up) in this space, you are here to work. You will notice the distractions less and will be more focused.
2. Eat, sleep, and be enthusiastic
As a freelancer you need to be aware of your health. We usually work from home and do not leave the comforts we have created for ourselves (I sometimes don’t even roll out of my bed all day unless I have to). The health or a freelancer can suffer. Don’t let it happen.
- Eat well. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean protein, fibre and all the other stuff like nutrients and minerals, etc, etc. Eating well = healthy body = healthy mind = good freelancing.
- Drink lots of water. Or drink lots of water based drinks which are also low in sugar. Keeping hydrated means our brains are working well.
- Sleep. Take the time to wind down at night and get 6-8 hours sleep. A rested freelancer is a productive freelancer.
- Meditate. Take the time out of you work day to focus on yourself for a few minutes. Clear your mind and achieve a sense of wellbeing. It has been shown that people who meditate are happier than this who do not.
- Be comfortable. If you are going to be sitting for long periods of time then invest in a chair which will support your back,. Your health should always be the number one priority.
- Exercise and stretch. Sitting for extended periods can be detrimental to your health. Take five minutes every hour to either walk or stretch. Together we can show pain and fatigue who is boss.
3. Create a schedule and stick to it
You were working a nine-to-five job, but now you have left the rat-race, so why should you conform to working hours?
So often as a freelancer you will find the distinction between work and play becoming blurred. When you are working you will stop and play and when you are playing your mind will drift towards work. By setting defined work hours you will be more productive, focused and energized within those hours, and you will be able to enjoy the ‘me time’ guilt free. There’s a good chance your clients will be from all around the world and sometimes you’ll have to stick to different working hours. Make sure you have a clear idea of what those hours will be to avoid ugly surprises.
*Pro tip: take the time to plan a commute for your work day. When working at the office you would not get out of bed and begin work straight away. Take the time to wake up, grab some breakfast and perhaps even take a walk around the block to ready yourself for the working day ahead. Believe me, it works!
4. Utilize productivity tools
Productivity = good.
Tool = helpful.
Productivity tool = Invaluable (or good helpful if you’re a math person).
- Management and productivity tools will help to integrate your work and calendar to better manage your day and help to set a task-based schedule.
- Time management tools can help you to keep a record of all the tasks and activities completed throughout the day.
- Make sure to set some overall goals for yourself. If you can set and visualize your goals, you can become more focused, motivated and time conscious.
- Writing is an enormous asset as a freelancer. Writing tools can help to proofread, edit and format your work. Your grammar so bad? Bad, writing, style? Productivity tools will help.
- Cannot make a decision? Or can you? No? Don’t worry, there are apps for that.
Productivity tools can be an essential part of a freelancer’s repertoire.
5. Reward the good & embrace the bad
There will be many times throughout your freelancing career that will be incredibly positive and rewarding. Celebrate these times for you have deserved it. Acknowledge the good work you have done and it will become more motivating to put in the effort to do this again and again.
There will be also many, many, many, many times during your career that you will face rejection, heartbreak, and clients disappearing before they pay you (AND STILL USE YOUR CONTENT AFTER *cough* *cough* not putting anyone on blast, but karma will come and get you…). Happens. All freelancers have faced rejection and negativity at many points of their life. The best of us will take this rejection, accept it, use it to better ourselves, learn about ourselves and move on. If this was complete and reasonable injustice, karma will take care of the rest. Don’t beat yourself over the bad.
*Pro tip: get used to rejection. Interviews are a fun way of socializing and networking, don’t always expect a positive outcome.
6. Hold yourself accountable
Working from home and for yourself can be hard and demotivating. If you are finding it hard then set up a network or community of accountability around you. Your family or friends, other freelancers online or just your cat. If you have someone watching, waiting to see you complete your work then you will find a natural drive to not disappoint.
One thing you can also do, if you’re really struggling (like I did a month ago), is hire a life coach to smoke out the bad habits out of you and really hold you accountable to your stuff. Trust me, it’s working.
If you have read this far then well done to you. You are ready to be a productive member of the freelancer community. So what are you waiting for, go on get out there and do some work. 🙂