We know that most freelancers are adept (if not already experts) at working remotely. At least it looks like that, from the outside. But while some may have perfected their daily routine and may really be as on top of it as they look on social media, others are finding themselves in a juggling act between managing family responsibilities and still having to meet client deliverables or simply feeling a bit ‘blah’ during self-isolation or Lockdown.
As most freelancers will say ‘It is all on me’ to make it happen and sustain a steady income. We’ve put together some top tips to help you restore balance and help keep you physically and mentally motivated during these uncertain times:
Set aside hours for work – not tasks
Set aside your dedicated working hours and stick to them. For example, you might set aside the hours from 09:00 – 17:00 from Monday to Friday, but for those caring for their children or family members, you may want to consider two-hour sessions with breaks in between and/or subsidize a few hours for short yet focused evening sessions. This is key to help you manage your time and can also improve your productivity as you’ll be forced to stick to a schedule in order to meet deadlines and ensure you enjoy home and personal time for what it should be.
Get dressed every day
Let’s face it, it is easy to fall into the habit of working in bed cosied up in your ‘comfies’, but this can decrease your motivation to get started for the working day ahead. Also, you might just forget to switch your camera off during that big virtual workshop and well… nobody wants to be ‘that’ person. You might want to fit in a living room workout before freshening up for the day.
Have a dedicated workspace
You may be lucky enough to have a home office, but if not, you may want to set up your workspace in a quiet part of the house. The important thing is that once you’re set up, be strict about using it. If you move around it will be difficult to settle into a routine and increase your risk of experiencing burnout when you feel like work follows you from place to place.
You can’t sit in front of your PC all day and night. As a freelancer, you are your only team. By setting realistic expectations for deadlines and deliverables with your clients, you will allow yourself enough time to avoid the all-nighters and over coffee consumption.
Finally, stay motivated. It is no secret that poor diet, lack of exercise and mental stress are all linked to decreased productivity. It is so important to plan time for health, wellness and personal care. If you find your social media feed is making you feel anxious and depressed, rather be intentional about looking away if you can. Your pages will be there when you get back, we promise. In addition, dedicate yourself to a bigger goal, this will give you a sense of control when things feel uncontrollable. Besides, the best way to predict the future is to control right? Last but not least, spend time working out, prepping healthy foods and meditating on your future goals.
Freelancing can often feel like an isolated career, and now people are feeling it more so than ever. Without colleagues to interact with and vent frustrations to, stress and even depression can creep in from time to time. We encourage you to seek out other freelancers (there are enough of us) to connect with. Stay connected, stay inspired and use this time to innovate with other like-minded individuals to avoid burnout.