Another relevant daily post here and right up my street considering the week I have just had – coming out of the busiest week of my freelance writing career. One contract came to an end last week and the client was so impressed with the work, and being due to launch the site next week, I was immediately requested to take on six more articles to do in the next week. I also had a trial run to be completed by next Tuesday, and two contracts that were put on hold in February have resumed… all in the last seven days and all on top of other ongoing work.
My working week started on Sunday and it meant a three late nights this week writing, rewriting and making requested changes. It is now just gone 4pm and despite having done very little work today (completing one article), having taken out over an hour to go for a run early this afternoon, I called it a day around 3pm. Why? Because there comes a point when your brain no longer wishes to function and you must obey.
In short: mellowing, winding down as a freelancer is bloody hard but we have to do it and we have to make ourselves do it. It is too easy to check your work emails late at night and respond to them. It’s all too easy to make a quick change to an article because “it’ll only take fifteen minutes”. It’s all too easy to have a Skype consultation at 11:30pm
No, stop it!
There will be times when it is advisable to work late at night, if a deadline is approaching and the client hits a snag and desperately needs your help then by all means do so. It will look good for you professionally and the client will be grateful. You should not, however, be doing it every night.
Your home is your office and that means you cannot physically separate yourself from a place of work as you can with an office block, a factory floor etc. You must emotionally separate yourself from the work – put it out of your mind entirely. You need to relax, you need to wind down. This is what I usually do:
- Exercise – it’s good for you anyway. It helps with the frustration and energy build up of being tied to your computer. I run (see pic – this is me at my first 10K last year!)
- Read – I can’t ever fully separate myself from my work here because I write fiction and review self-published books at this blog. A good book is one of life’s few pleasures and one that has me hooked can easily make me forget about work for a while
- Meet friends – Go out for lunch, even during the week if you can. You’ll appreciate the break and catching up with somebody who works a normal job. That could remind you why you got out of the rat race 😉
- Go out for the day – with company or on your own go out for a long country walk. The weather is getting better so you have no excuse not to
- If you write for a living and write fiction for pleasure or sale, use a different machine to write your fiction – aside from the benefits of a non-internet ready computer, the lack of work material on the alternate machine creates a pleasure space
- Have a night in. Get a takeaway, have a drink (alcoholic preferably) and watch a film or play video games
- Relaxation techniques – I don’t do enough of this but next month I’m attending a course on Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques which I am hoping will help me chill out a little
Remember, that Freelancing can lead to depression so it is important to go that extra length to force yourself to do the above- especially the parts about getting out of the house.
What’s my plan for tonight? I’m having a beer and watching a film 🙂