The latest episode was about how freelancers and days off, and also how to account for the work we do every day, especially when it doesn’t feel like “work”.
Most freelancers will identify IMMEDIATELY with this entire podcast, as the notion of time and how we spend our days is something we often struggle with. I know I do.
Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time working on side project websites, so when the end of my day comes, I often feel like I haven’t “done” anything. To counteract this feeling, I will pull out a trick I used to do with my employees when I was a senior manager at a big 5 Canadian bank: write down the activities I did that day in a giant list.
What this list helps me realize is that while I might not have finished any “deliverables”, I got through a ton of things. For example, I might have:
- Finished a logo or image.
- Uploaded said image.
- Tweaked the fonts on the site so they appear just the way I like them.
- Researched some of the other CSS code I’ll need to tweak other things on the site (but which I’ll implement another day).
- Wrote a blog post for the site.
- Researched some backlinks for that post.
- Created drafts of another 10 posts I need to write, complete with research links.
That’s seven things that I have knocked off my To Do list and moved the site forward. Huzzah! No small feat for sure.
Another thing the Free Agents fellas talked about was the idea of giving yourself a day off. Do you ever actually pick a day and “do” nothing? As a freelancer it can be hard to do that, as you’re probably always thinking about your work and your business.
David said he had a hard time doing this, but that it’s something he’s more open to doing now.
I hear you David, it can be a hard thing, but sometimes you may not have a choice. Personally, I find it hard to NOT give myself time off or time away from my business, because if I don’t, my stress level creeps up and eventually triggers my anxiety issues (usually at an inopportune moment). I need to make sure I take time away from my computer and business and just focus on me, or at least focus on something else outside of my business.
That’s why I’ll go out for runs in the middle of the afternoon a couple of times a week.
Or why I’ll end work at 3pm and head to the movie theatre to catch a movie.
Or run errands at 1pm on a Tuesday.
Or visit my chiropractor on a Thursday afternoon.
I NEED to get away from my desk and do something else for a while for my mental health.
Not only that, I need to incorporate some form of exercise on a regular basis each week in order to get rid of my stress so my anxiety doesn’t pop up. (There’s a great Italian word for this notion, smaltire, which has one translation as “walk off” or “drain”.) I like the “walk off” definition, as that’s what I’m doing when I go for a run or do my grocery shopping or watch a movie. I’m walking off the stress that being a freelancer gives me. It’s not necessarily bad stress, but it’s stress nonetheless.
How do you deal with your freelance stress? Do you have to change up your freelance schedule at all in order to ensure your mental and/or physical health? Hit the comments and let me know.