2020 has certainly been quite something. As if hurricanes and wildfires weren’t devastating enough, March arrived, and with it came a deadly, global pandemic. And it’s not done yet. [Read more…]
Freelancing is a siren song to many office workers. It symbolizes freedom and happiness. It symbolizes more time for relaxation and enjoying life.
Many in the corporate world will leave stressful jobs in the corporate world precisely because they’re chasing that dream. They want that promise of well-being, fulfillment, and happiness. [Read more…]
Once upon a time, there was the hum-drum office space, where people would gather from far and near, take to their desks and work. Then came the internet. Soon after, forward-thinking companies like Apple and Google formed huge corporate community workspaces. Then came social media. Soon after that, the “startup” appeared on the scene, mirroring the corporate workforce, but fusing into a smaller network of guerrilla entrepreneurs. [Read more…]
Thanks to technology, a physical office is no longer necessary for many occupations. Cloud-based communication apps, such as Slack and Basecamp, allow collaboration across the globe. Remote teams and digital offices offer many benefits for both employees and employers. Workers aren’t stuck commuting to and from one location every day. Additionally, companies can hire from a global pool with reduced overhead. If you’re ready for a positive change, a work from home set-up could be ideal for you. More so, you may want to freelance on the side and then transition to working from home full-time. [Read more…]
The freelance lifestyle is envied by those who work a traditional nine to five job, but it is rife with myths and misconceptions. In this post, we look at the realities of the freelance lifestyle.
The idea for this post came to me when I got a Google Calendar notification that it was my “last day” at my former company. That was almost a decade ago that I dove into freelancing full-time.
For some reason, I haven’t gotten around to deleting that entry. I suppose it serves as a reminder to take a step back and do think about what has happened between then and now.
Today, the question I have is whether I am rocking the freelance lifestyle or if I’m merely getting by – and I pose the same question to you.Are You Rocking the Freelance Lifestyle or Are You Merely Getting By? Click To Tweet
Working at home is the dream setup to make money. However, there is a discrepancy between perception and reality.
Anyone who has not had the chance to work at home would, in all likelihood, give an arm and a leg to leave his day job. For many people, working at home is the dream. You don’t have to get up early. You don’t have to brave the traffic. You don’t even have to dress up.
Yes, those things are true, but only to a certain degree. The dream can be real and lived, but there are things that will pull your head down from the clouds in a flash.
At the end of the day, it’s all about understanding what working at home really entails. [Read more…]
We’re no strangers to stress, and I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that the stress levels of freelancers may be higher than many employees. On top of getting new clients, keeping old ones, taking care of the family, and making sure your business stays healthy, it’s understandable that freelance writers (could) go nuts.
Then there are the times when there is too much work to handle, but you don’t want to go back on your word and not deliver. There are solutions, yes, but in the long run, the stress can build up to toxic levels. You either lose clients because of poor work, or you get sick and lose clients anyway.
They say when the going gets tough, the tough gets going, and I am the first to agree with this. Sometimes, though, we have to call it a day and give ourselves a break.
That’s when it’s better to go de-stress when the going gets tough – instead of playing macho. It doesn’t mean we’re wusses. It just means we’re human, and we’ve got limits.
Easy ways to de-stress
So you “don’t have enough time” to stop work, but you know you have to let some of that stress go. Here are easy, simple, and 100 percent guaranteed ways to de-stress (depending on your personality, of course).
Retail therapy has this negative connotation for some people, but it doesn’t have to be like that. If you think about it, you probably have your own version of retail therapy. While some may like shopping for clothes and shoes, others feel like they’re in heaven when buying books.
You don’t even have to leave the house or spend more than you have to if you visit sites like ChameleonJohn which offer discounts and promos from a wide array of stores. Personally, though, I’d get coupons for bookstores and get my bum off my chair and spend an hour or so at the bookstore breathing in the aroma of books. I have a feeling you’re with me on this.
As with retail therapy, pampering takes on different forms for each of us. I like to think that for me, pampering involves the body, mind, and spirit. This means spa time, massages as often as I can afford, and activities such as yoga, which is not only good exercise but also excellent in regaining focus and balance.
Pampering yourself does not need to take up a lot of time and money. Aside from what I mentioned above, think about the little things that can help you feel good – and thus de-stress even if only in little bits.
When was the last time you had your hair cut/done?
When was the last time you went out with friends for a glass (or two?) of wine without worrying about work?
When was the last time you went to the park and just sat there enjoying the outdoors?
Adrenaline Rush from Outdoor Activities
For adrenaline junkies, you know what you have to do to de-stress. Go out there and jump off a bridge (attached to a bungee cord, of course). If you can afford an adventure experience and there’s a service offering that near you, then splurge a little and enjoy the endorphins that will blow all that stress away.
The three ways to de-stress I’ve mentioned cover a lot of ground. The list is biased based on my own experiences, so why don’t you share your own ways to de-stress? I’d love to hear some ideas, and I’m sure we could all get some inspiration from each other.
Personal issues play a huge role in the performance of a worker. Whether you sit behind a desk at an office or you work at home, there will always be personal issues of some sort. Some of them may be minor and easy to dismiss. Others may have a more draining effect.
Whatever the case may be, there is one thing that most employers and clients agree on: personal issues should not affect your work.
They should be left at home once you step out the door; but what about freelance writers? How do you separate personal issues and work when you work from home?
It’s a tricky problem, but let’s take a look at specific issues, how they can affect your work, and how you can fix them.
If you’re married or have a partner, relationship problems are likely to occur. When these things happen, it can be very difficult to focus on your work. Your mind would probably be racing with thoughts – a mixture of anger, frustration, and hurt. Obviously, you don’t want these thoughts, as your writing will definitely suffer.
- If your partner works at home too, go out and find another place to work for the day. That will physically distance yourself from the problem and help you focus on work.
- If you can stay at home and continue working, give yourself a break every now and then. During these breaks, allow yourself to dwell on the issue and think of how to solve it. Once the break is over, only focus on work. Don’t allow your mind to wander back to your problems. The same thing applies if your problem is as serious as getting a divorce or separation. Deal with the problem at specific times, but keep a tight rein on your thoughts while working.
This is one area where work-at-home people have the advantage. For people who have to physically travel to work, having to stay at home when they’re sick is a bigger problem because their boss may not be happy about it. Then there is the fact that their sick days might get used up.
For remote workers, you have other options:
- Let your client/s know about the situation. This is essential if you have a deadline. More often than not, clients who work with freelancers are understanding in this matter.
- Allow yourself some hours “off”. If you have no pressing deadlines, you have the option to not work while you’re feeling bad. Don’t push yourself.
If remote workers have an advantage with regard to health problems, they are more likely to have financial issues. The degree of uncertainty for freelancers is higher, simply because they do not receive a fixed salary every month; so there are months in which money flows in, and there are lean months.
The fix: Plan, budget, and have savings. When you have a lot of work, and a lot of money comes in, set aside as much as you can for those lean months. When the lean months come, you also can employ money-saving measures to make it through. By doing this, your work shouldn’t be affected by financial issues when you don’t have as much earnings for a certain period.
What other personal issues do you/have you encountered as a freelance writer? How do/did you deal with them?
In all the years (almost a decade) I’ve been freelancing, I think I have taken on every possible gig out there – from content writing to product description writing to blogging to magazine writing to ad writing to coordinating/managing other freelancers. I’d like to say I have had my fair share of experience, and lately, I’ve been interacting with some people who hire freelancers.
Sad to say, it seems that a common thread in the different conversations I have had is that freelancers are not always the best people to work with. Being a freelancer myself, those conversations made me think about bad freelancer habits. [Read more…]
I’m not a morning person. I never was, and I don’t think I’ll ever be. I do realize, however, that I need to work on creating – and maintaining – habits that will help me make the most of my day. While it used to be that I could work till the wee hours of the morning, it’s simply not possible for me these days. As such, I need to turn in earlier at night and try to make as early a start as possible and hit the ground running. I need to start my day on a strong note so that I can actually feel fulfilled and relax at the end of the day.
If you also struggle, here are some tips that can help you start your day on a strong note.
Don’t jump out of bed.
If it’s possible at all, don’t get out of bed the moment you open your eyes. Instead, stay there for a while, sitting down or doing some stretching. This will ease you into waking up without rudely shaking the cobwebs of sleep away from your brain.
I do this for 10-15 minutes, and by the time I go downstairs to make coffee, I don’t feel too sluggish anymore.
Or at least sit in silence for 10-15 minutes. This is different from sitting in bed as you ease out of sleep. If you have a patio or a garden, sitting there in silence will do you a world of good. Take the time to psych yourself up for the day ahead.
I used to NOT eat breakfast. My stomach just wasn’t used to having food early in the morning. Since I had serious health issues last year, though, I have had to eat breakfast – something more than coffee, that is. Surprisingly (for me, at least), having two slices of toast with a bit of butter and jam for breakfast works really well for me! Not only does it help me wake up even more, it also has become a signal to my brain that it’s time to get ready for work.
Start with the task you dread the most.
This is a common piece of advice, although it’s usually phrased as “deal with the most difficult task first”. The reason I used “dread” is that, for me, sometimes the task I don’t look forward to is not the most difficult one. In a sense, though, because I dread the task, it ends up being difficult to complete.
The trick is to get this out of the way first thing in the morning. Once this is done, then I get in the zone and everything seems so much easier.
I realize these tips may not work for everyone, and some of you may not even need them (especially if you’re a morning person who has no problems getting started every day). If you’re looking for new habits to form, though, why not give these a try?
And, if you have some of your own tips that work for you, do share them in the comments!