We all have bad days. You feel like you’ve run a marathon when you wake up. The kids don’t cooperate, and they’re late for school. The computer doesn’t work, or the Internet goes down. An ongoing personal problem suddenly weighs heavier on you than usual.
The list can go on and on.
As freelancers – especially seasoned ones – we learn how to deal with these bad days, and usually, we can hack away at the vines that make the day bad.
But what about those days that are particular awful? Those days when you really feel that you just want to disappear into thin air and forget about it all?
Here are some things you can do when you’re having a particularly bad day – at least enough to get you working. I hope they help.
Remind yourself why you became a freelancer.
Whether you used to have a day job, or you stayed at home to take care of the kids and then decided to be a freelancer, there was a reason you made that jump. I cannot say what your reason was, but for me, it was always my dream to be free of sitting behind a desk all day, having to file for a day off way in advance without the guarantee of approval, and being in a formal environment.
When I have a bad day, I think of this over and over again. Usually, it gives me enough of a boost to start working.
Think of the financial repercussions.
This may sound harsh and greedy, but it’s a practical thing to do. You work not only because you enjoy it, but let’s be honest, you work because you need the money. You have to pay the bills, send the kids to school, buy food, and take care of all your living expenses.
You may be having a bad day, but if you’re the type who takes financial responsibilities more seriously than others, then this may light a fire under your bum. You may not exactly be the most cheerful person in the world that day, but at least you get your work done.
Think of your work/personal ethic.
If you take pride in your work ethic – and I am pretty sure you do – then thinking about this will help you deal with a bad day. Think of your happy clients who have praised your work and thanked you for being a good writer. Think of the sense of accomplishment that accompanies every great piece you write and publish/submit on time.
Reminding myself of this gives me a better attitude to face the day.
Complete the most important tasks.
Again, let’s be brutally honest. All of the above usually works to get tasks done, but there really are days when you know you can’t deliver everything you have to. Those days when you know you will crash at some point.
Pro tip: Do the most important tasks. Work on the pieces that are truly essential. If needed, let your client know your situation (details depend on your relationship), and then give yourself a break. You don’t always have to force yourself to perform at 100 percent when you’re having a bad day.
Let the ‘mood’ run its course.
I am using ‘mood’ in the loosest sense of the word. Whatever it is that is making your day horrible or weighing heavily on you, sometimes, you just can’t shake it off.
It’s easy for others to say ‘mind over matter’ and a host of other cliches that are supposed to be motivational. I’m not going to tell you that because when you’re in the midst of a crisis, it’s a totally different story.
In this case, when you really can’t get up, just crash. Allow yourself to go through the day (or maybe several hours) to feel the negative emotions. Let the storm wash over you, and at some point, you’ll feel better and get up again.
I do hope that you are not having one of those particularly bad days, but if you are, try doing the things above, and remember, you are not alone.
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