Step away from the computer. Well no, not yet! At least not until you read this post, of course. So you’ve found yourself in a freelance rut? No need to sweat. It happens to the best of us. Seriously, even the best of the best fall into some sort of rut at some point in their professional career. The key is to not let yourself fall deeper and deeper into the blackhole of self pity.
Before we go any further I want to say “I’m proud of you”. There's no denying it takes A LOT of self discipline to be a freelancer. Between trying to budget your time and dealing with clients — it leaves you little time to get frazzle and fall off track.
Step 1. - Figure Out When You're Most Productive
Do you work better late at night? It took my awhile to realize that I'm more productive in the morning. If I get a jump on things right when I wake up -- I get into a work flow that actually energizes me throughout the rest of the day. Try out a few different routines to find what works best for you.
Step 2. - Try to Avoid Working at Home
This might be a personal issue but when I'm at home I'll find ways to avoid focusing on a task that I know needs to get done. Funny enough, I resort to cleaning. It makes me feel better when I know my space neat and organized. If it’s absolutely necessary that you work at home make sure you set apart a designated area for work only. When you get to work in your own home it’s easy to get too comfortable.
Step 3. - Try Time Blocking Your Hours
What is time blocking? "It essentially organizing your day in a series of time slots" - this helps simplify some of the chaos. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by the never ending list of tasks staring at you. Focus on each clients in one or two hour increments. This has has been a game changer for my work flow.
Also, if you're looking for a great software that helps you track your hours, I highly recommend Toggl. It's times the hours you spend on a project and makes it easy for clients to see where your time is being spent.
Step 4. - Step Away
Like I said before, step AWAY from the computer. Since you don’t have a set lunch break; make sure you take breaks. Go for a run and clear your head. I noticed when I have outlets outside the realm of the computer I'm not as anxious all the time.
Step 5. - Find Something That Ignites Your Passion
It's important to find hobbies that get you outside your comfort zone. They allow you think differently and ultimately help you find a new wave of thinking.
Step 6. - Take a Different Approach
It’s SO easy to get into a routine whether it’s scheduling posts or designing a product/project. Don’t let things get too monotonous. Shake it up a little. How so? Well for example when I'm coming up with social media content - I spend a little time looking at what other people are creating. This inspires me and helps me sound a less repetitive.
I hope you find these tips helpful -- if you're a freelancer you know that it's nice to find others who feel your pain. But that's not to say the same doesn't go for anyone working in a creative field. It's okay to recognize things are going how you would like and take a different direction.
How do you combat the freelance rut? Tell me everything - I want to hear it all!