Freelancing can be an extremely rewarding way of working. It allows you a pretty unprecedented amount of freedom, ensures you can remain flexible to the demands of different projects and personal endeavours, and generally also involves a degree of location-independence.
Yeah, there’s a lot to be said for the benefits of the freelancer’s way of life.
But, as you might have heard, it can also drive you crazy. The freedom from an externally imposed leadership structure can lead to indecision and apathy. The uncertain and easy-come-easy-go nature of your professional relationships can be a major source of anxiety and tension.
To save your sanity and get the most out of your freelance life it’s necessary to maintain the right habits. Here are a few habits that can help you in this regard.
Get comfortable with outsourcing
Being a freelancer means flying solo, pretty much by definition. But at some point, as you develop your professional brand, bring more clients on board, and have to juggle more balls at once, you’re likely to find that more or less “irrelevant” work comes to take up an inordinate amount of your time.
Admin tasks, such as maintaining and updating your website, and marketing campaigns, are necessary. But they’re likely not your area of core expertise, and they can be immensely time-consuming.
Learning to get comfortable with outsourcing some of these sorts of tasks can free you up to be a lot more focused and potent in how you use your time, whether you’re hiring a virtual assistant, or are paying a physical address company to maintain a virtual post box for you.
Plan your days and record your thoughts in a traditional paper notebook
Being a freelancer in today’s world almost exclusively means working in front of a computer, via the internet, for long stretches of all your waking hours.
The last thing you should be doing when you get “off the clock”, so to speak, is to then spend the rest of your waking hours staring at the same screen, either for the sake of binging on Netflix, or the general time-killing pastime of idly surfing the web.
Switch off the computer when you’re done with your work, and use a traditional paper notebook to record your thoughts and plan your days. You’ll likely find that a little analogue time can do you a world of good.
Avoid the temptation to sink deeply into social media as a substitute for social interaction — force yourself to interact with people face-to-face at least a couple of times a week
As habit experts and psychologists frequently remind us; people are naturally inclined to follow the path of least resistance at any given moment.
Combine the relative social isolation of the freelance life, with the intentionally-addictive format of social media platforms, and it’s all too likely that you’ll end up tumbling all the way down the social media rabbit hole as a substitute for genuine social interaction.
But social media is not real life. It fosters shallow connections and, according to various experts, fuels anxiety and depression.
Force yourself to get out and interact with people, socially, at least a couple of times a week. And use social media in moderation, if at all.