Working for yourself might sound like a dream. No-one to answer to, work the hours that suit. Only work for those clients that give you a buzz or work in a sector you’re interested in. However, it can be very isolating and lonely at times. It can also be a tricky act to balance. One minute you’re mad busy with not enough hours in the day. Next minute you’re scrabbling around for things to do. So, how do you handle the peaks and troughs of freelancing? How do you keep motivated with no boss to crack the whip? How do you stop all that freedom from going to your head and knuckle down and get things done?
A great motivator is to set yourself a daily/weekly or monthly goal. You want something not to easy but not impossible either. Maybe there’s x amount you want to earn in a month or maybe you want to bring in x number of new clients this week. Whatever it is write it down and display it somewhere that you can see every day. It’ll remind you of what you’re aiming for. Maybe even pop a reward down if you achieve it. Like a glass of wine or coffee with a friend.
Work in Short Bursts
You probably used to do it when you were an employee but didn’t even realise. Working in short bursts of time can increase productivity and can stop the mind wandering. It’s also great for self-preservation. There’s nothing worse than sitting in front of a computer screen for 4 hours solid. Set a timer if you need to, start with hourly slots, then break for 15 minutes, go for a walk in the fresh air, make a cuppa, do some meditation. Whatever works for you. Then repeat. Try and have a slightly longer break midday.
Don’t Forget to Eat!
It’s easy to get into the habit of working through lunch and dinner and tea. Don’t! Your body and brain need a break. They need time to recharge and refuel. I’ve got a cupboard stacked full of cuppa soups. Great midday snack. I often find after lunch that I get a second wind. I’m back and raring to go.
To Do Lists
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love crossing things off a list. Whether it be a computerised list like Asana or Trello or a good old fashioned written list (I do both. I find a computer list makes me organised, but I do like to physically cross off on my paper list too. I know bizarre isn’t it! I’m not, alone am I?). The sense of accomplishment when you’ve crossed off all your daily tasks is so uplifting. It makes you feel like you’ve succeeded in something.
Now, this is an interesting one and can be a source of great debate. Be accountable to who you might ask. I work for myself who could I be accountable to. Well, I have a great support network, not just from family and friends but also from the wider VA community. If I feel that I need motivation and the proverbial ‘kick up the arse’ there are a great number of other professionals I know I can go to that will do just that. Yes, it might be a virtual one but nine times out of ten it works. It stops me feeling sorry for myself and gives me the motivation I need to ‘get on with it’!
There is also a place for a physical accountability friend. Now I’m content with my virtual arse kicking but who knows, in the future, I might feel the need to venture out into Oxfordshire and find a physical one.
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