As many people appreciate, freelancing can provide a great number of benefits. However, it can also be extremely stressful. In order to be successful, it is essential to manage your stress levels so you are able to work effectively and productively. There are numerous ways to reduce your stress levels, but these are some of the most effective for freelancers.
Create a Workable Schedule
Many freelancers become stressed by simply committing to too much work. This can cause compounding daily stress as you are pulled in numerous directions and feel overwhelmed by an overload of commitments. Create a workable schedule which can maximize your efficiency without taking on too much.
Finish the activities you’ve set for the day and lay out the tasks in the order you want to work on them to help maintain your focus and reduce stress. It is important to stick to your schedule, and knowing that you will get to your other tasks later in the day will allow you to focus on the present moment and task. This simple approach can immediately reduce stress, since you are spending less time worrying about other tasks and effectively deal with the task at hand.
It is also important to factor in time on your schedule for breaks. If you push yourself too hard until you are desperate for a break, you are more likely to take a longer break simply to try to recover, or in a worst case call it a day.
You will be more aware of your own limitations, so plan your schedule for your working day to accommodate breaks before you reach the point of snapping. You can also schedule these breaks to coincide with your less productive times of the day. If you are an early bird, focus on working with a break later in the morning. If you struggle concentrating for a full working day, schedule frequent short breaks to revive your energy.
Make Your Rest Breaks Count
Many people use their rest breaks to distract themselves from work. For a number of freelancers, this will usually involve web surfing, browsing social media or visiting YouTube. However, if you become caught up in this type of activity, you are unlikely to feel refreshed after your break.
Make your rest breaks count by taking them as an opportunity to balance work with play. Take a little time out with a novel you have been meaning to read, do some exercise or go for a short walk. This complete change of activity will allow you to feel that you have actually had a break from work and help you to feel more content. A better balance in your daily schedule will help you to feel happier and make you more productive.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with work, it could possibly be because you are actually working at a slower speed. As fun as social media and email can be, the instant notifications can be an addictive distraction which can drain your focus and slow you down. Try a little experiment and turn off your external internet distractions for a one or two hour block of time in the day.
You should be able to compare your stress, focus and productivity to see if you feel more distracted when you are fully in contact with the entire world while trying to work. If email and social media are necessary for your freelancing, work periods of time into your schedule for these tasks, but ensure that they are then turned off to remove the potential distraction for other times of the day.
Define Your Working Hours
If you don’t define your working hours for the day, there is a danger that you will remain on the job even during your downtime and you will feel unable to relax. Set your most important aspect of business hours, your finishing time and stick to it.
You will find that your focus immediately improves, and if you happen to fall behind in your workload, you will be more relaxed and motivated to start earlier the next day to catch up, without feeling stressed about working later and later. When you are feeling stressed and tired, you will find that you are working far less effectively, taking you longer and longer to complete your tasks.
By defining your finishing time, you will be more motivated to have a last minute spur of energy and productivity close to quitting time.
Don’t Tolerate, Demand
Freelancers have the almost unique ability to fully control their working environment. In many cases, freelancer stress is caused by tolerating aspects of their working life which does not agree with them.
However, as a freelancer you can reduce the stress caused by your working conditions by taking the responsibility to not tolerate it, raise your standard and demand of yourself to fix the aspects of your freelancing life you don’t like. You are living and working according to your tolerations and until you start demanding change, you will be stuck in a cycle of frustration and stress.
Be Inspired for Growth
Take the time to grow your skills and personal development. There are numerous resources available including books dedicated to motivation. This can allow you a great deal of personal growth and provide the inspiration to tailor your freelancer lifestyle to provide you with more of the tasks you want and enjoy while minimizing stress.
Find Your Personal Stress Buster
We all deal with stress differently, so one of the greatest tools is to find your own personal stress buster. This could be exercising, relaxation such as acupuncture, yoga or even a hot bath, a good book or cooking up a storm. Once you work out what kind of activity is your most effective way of relieving stress, it can help you to deal with any stress you cannot eliminate from your lifestyle.
Freelancing can be extremely rewarding but it essential to reduce stress to allow you to fully enjoy these benefits. Take a little time out to actively improve your stress levels and you may be pleasantly surprised at how your productivity increases.