Running your own business is stressful there’s no getting away from that; finding clients, securing work, juggling multiple projects, trying to get paid on time. Add to that you’re often doing this on your own and frequently in and around school hours, I am getting stressed just writing about it! But keeping our stress levels in check is key to being happy and productive.
We’ve asked for your advice on this and have read around the topic and there’s no shortage of guidance out there.
A common theme is structure. One of the bonuses of being freelance is you don’t have your working life structured by the traditions of being in the office from 9 to 5 but I still have a general routine that helps me to organise my day. On a school day for example, I have a pattern of working 9 til 3pm. I have learnt that I am at my most creative in the morning and so I plan those jobs in before lunch leaving the afternoon for more routine tasks. I might log on again for an hour in the evening to do some admin and plan out the next day. Others have told us about their love of lists to structure and organise their time – I too love a list!
Another common suggestion for being stress aware is building in regular exercise. Now I am no gym bunny but if I don’t get outdoors for a break at least once a day I find I am more stressed and less productive. I didn’t always appreciate this and have often tethered myself to my desk for hour after hour trying to clear a mountain of work. I would go to bed stressed and feeling sluggish. So now whether it’s the walk to and from school, a lunchtime stroll with the dog or a jog around the park I always try and get out every day. I have time to reflect, and so always feel better, energised, less stressed and more productive.
Being freelance can be a lonely experience. You are the one accountable for it all and at times it can be isolating. But there a lots of groups and networks out there to keep you connected to like-minded people both virtually and in person. Our aim for Freelance Fundamentals is to be that support and network so when you next feeling overwhelmed by it all drop us a message. A problem shared, as they say, is a problem halved.