Stop Worrying and Start Working
Freelancing is great.
I’ve been freelancing for a few years, and I love it. I love the freedom it affords, I love being my own boss, and I love being able to pick and choose my clients at will
But freelancing can be extremely stressful if you aren’t careful how you manage things.
When it comes to what a freelancer can worry about, the list seems endless. It could be anything from worrying about where your next contract will come from, to worrying whether or not you’ll bring in enough money with the contracts you already have, to wondering whether you’re putting enough money away for retirement. It doesn’t matter much what field you freelance in, from web design to photography, you’ve got plenty to worry about – and pretty good reasons for being a little worried every so often.
Really, though, being stressed all the time defeats the purpose of freelancing!
Honestly, you became a freelancer at least in part because of the freedom it afforded, right? If you’re allowing yourself to be stressed all the time, you’ve lost that freedom!
Being stressed is also extremely counter-productive when it comes to work, especially as a freelancer.
I can say from personal experience that when I am particularly stressed out about my next contract, my performance is negatively affected on my current contract. If you’re constantly thinking about future (or current!) problems while you work, the quality of your work will suffer. That’s why I find it so important to avoid unnecessary stress both in my personal and professional life.
That’s all well and good, but how are you supposed to avoid stress? I mean REALLY.
How to stop worrying and start working:
There are many answers to that question, and there are numerous tools that can help you save time and effort, and therefore cut down on your stress level. But I’ve found that, while these tools are definitely useful, my attitude toward my work has a more noticeable effect on my stress level than anything else.
I’ll just come out and say it here and now, I have workaholic-type tendencies, and I find it very easy to let them control me. If I’m not careful, I will pull completely unnecessary all-nighters working on a project just for the sake of getting that project done faster.
Now, imagine how things go when I’m especially stressed about work!
However the key to managing work-related stress as a freelancer, I’ve found, is rather counterintuitive. In order to be less stressed about work, less stressed about getting my next contract, and less stressed about making ends meet, I take a break.
Think about it – when you get really stressed about work, what do you more than likely do? You work harder
If you continue this cycle, you get to the point where you’re devoting too much of your time to work, and not nearly enough time to caring for yourself. If you’re trying to finish a website after not sleeping for three days, the project will NOT end well. Take some time for yourself. Go watch a movie, take a walk, take a nap, go grab coffee from your favorite restaurant. Anything that will help you stop worrying about what’s on your mind and get you thinking about something else for a while.
By taking breaks regularly and allowing your mind to get off of work and naturally release the stress you’ve built up, you’ll be able to come back to that project with renewed focus. Obviously, this doesn’t mean you should blow off work for a week because you’re “Too stressed.” But you should certainly take the time to live a life outside of your job. It will make for a more enjoyable home life, and a more fulfilling professional life.