Are You Taking Care of Your Business, Clients, and Yourself?￼
When you’re a freelancer, it can be hard to juggle your business and clients while maintaining positive physical and mental health habits. In many ways, focusing attention on habits that promote your well-being will allow you to produce better work results and maintain positive customer interactions.
Focusing on Yourself as a Freelancer
As a freelancer, you have the privilege of working when and where you want. However, you may struggle to sustain a healthy work-life balance, especially when work often intersects with personal life. There are many ways in which freelancers can improve their work relationships and routines while improving their own personal health.
Let’s explore some ways that you can take care of yourself while staying productive in your freelance career.
Health Tips for Freelancers
The feast or famine lifestyle can definitely take its toll on a freelancer or independent contractor. Here are some tips to follow to prevent burnout.
Ask for Help
Being a freelancer doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for help. New and experienced freelancers fall into the trap of over-extending themselves. This may be due to the sometimes-uncertain nature of a freelancer’s job. Asking for help is a great skill to learn to allow you to allocate an appropriate amount of time to your career without exerting yourself or sacrificing the quality of your work.
- Ask for an extension: If possible, you should ask your client for an extension. Some projects may have stricter deadlines than others, so this won’t always be possible, and if you think that the answer will be a resounding no because it’s on such a strict deadline, you may not want to bother. Still, asking for even a 1-day extension wouldn’t hurt.
- Outsource some work: You may feel like it’s cheating to outsource your work, but you’re one person who can only handle so much on your own. If you struggle to keep up, it might not be such a bad idea to outsource a few smaller tasks to someone else. Just be sure to be clear and reasonable with your needs so that you end up with a finalized project that meets your client’s expectations.
- Request more information: Your clients may not be the best communicators. If the information you received is not inspiring or clear, reach out to your clients for clarifications or even a brainstorming session. Working alongside your clients to ensure you understand their vision allows them to see your dedication to their desires.
Make sure you reach out when you get stuck or feel overwhelmed, to ensure your work or health does not suffer as a consequence.
Disconnect to Reconnect
Chances are if you’re a freelancer, you spend quite a bit of time in front of a screen. Whether it’s your computer, phone, or tablet, you’ve probably grown accustomed to having your gadgets attached to you at the hip. This can be especially true when freelancers don’t have a dedicated 9-5 set.
When you spend all day in front of a screen as a freelancer, it’s essential for your mental health to take some time to disconnect from the digital and engage with the outside world.
- Connect with loved ones: One benefit of freelancing is having a good work-life balance. Sometimes, you can throw off the balance and consume yourself with too much work, or too much screen time. Schedule some time with your family and friends instead. Not over Zoom or Skype, but at a coffee shop, at your home, at their home, or even sign up for a yoga class together. Maintaining healthy relationships can help you live a more well-balanced life while helping to eliminate stress and keep you in a positive mindset.
- Immerse yourself in a hobby: Setting aside some time for hobbies can positively impact your mental health. Engaging in something you enjoy doing outside of work can help you to de-stress and reduce depression and anxiety.
- Explore what nature has to offer: Stepping away from your day-to-day interactions with people and technology can help to provide a refresher. You’re unlikely to find triggers for work stress on a hike, and changing scenery can help to clear your mind.
Disconnecting allows you to return to your work reinvigorated and ensures your work-life balance is a bit more distinguishable.
Boundaries are important for any relationship, and that includes the relationships you have with your clients and with yourself. This is why it’s crucial that you establish boundaries not just with your clients but with yourself, too.
But how do you set work-related boundaries?
- Learn to say no: While your clients can set some rules, you’re also not obligated to bend to their every beck and call. You’re the expert they go to, and you might know better than they do about what they need. They might also be setting unrealistic expectations. Be clear about what you are and aren’t willing to do.
- Set realistic goals: It’s likely that when you set a schedule, you forget to consider the unexpected. Sometimes a task that you assume could be completed in a day would actually require a week and multiple rounds of reviews. That’s why it’s critical to set realistic goals and schedules that leave room for error.
- Take breaks: You’re a freelancer. You’re not working an average 9-5 where your breaks are dictated at certain times and lengths. You can take breaks whenever you want to, for however long you want to. As long as you’re getting your work done, don’t be shy about it. Take those breaks. Get in an afternoon walk. Indulge in a nap. You’ll thank yourself later.
Take Care of Your Health
- Get enough rest: Sleep is critical to the health of any human being, and when freelancers don’t have a set schedule for work, they can often get caught up in late starts and late nights. It’s best to ensure you get at least 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep daily.
- Set a morning routine: A good start to the work day can influence how you feel and perform for the rest of the day. That’s why setting a morning routine can help put you on the right track to a productive work day.
- Schedule workouts: Physical activity is not often a part of a freelancer’s everyday routine. You might find that, due to your focus on work, you neglect to give your body the attention it deserves. Scheduling 2-3 workouts a week can significantly improve your health and mental well-being.
Are You Suffering from Overworking?
If you’re a freelancer, you’re probably all too aware of the struggles of finding the perfect balance. Many people choose to freelance to enjoy the flexibility it offers, but some end up overworking themselves, which leaves them susceptible to burnout.
If you’re overworking yourself, you may need to set stricter boundaries with yourself and with your clients, as well as adjust your schedule to include more downtime. Overworking yourself will lead to mental exhaustion and poorer work performance. Trust us when we say that nobody wants that.
Ask for help, set boundaries, disconnect from technology once in a while, and take care of yourself. You’re only human, and there’s only so much you can handle before you break.