Time management and organisation have always been my super skills. As a former 9-to-5 **employee, it came very easily to me. After all, in the corporate world, everything was neatly laid out for me – working hours, processes, procedures, you name it. But freelancing? That’s a whole different ball game.
I quickly realised I was in uncharted territory when I switched to freelancing. Suddenly, I was the Captain of my own ship, choosing when to work, which projects to take on, and who my clients would be. Whilst it was liberating, it was also slightly disorienting. What I initially expected to be a continuation of my routine turned out to be a brand-new adventure.
I had to start from scratch. Setting up a proper website? Never done it before. Figuring out the right systems and processes? It was like learning a new language. And oh, the joys of dealing with taxes – this was a path I had never trodden before.
While plenty of people were eager to share their insights, I quickly realised that much of this freelancing journey was about personal preferences. It was about finding my own path amidst the sea of advice.
After months of trial and error, I finally found my groove. And today, I’m excited to share my top five tips to help you stay motivated as a freelancer.
- Create a Dedicated Workspace: Transform a spare room, a cosy nook, or even a corner of your living space into your own workspace. In my case, I affectionately call it “The Sanctuary.” It’s equipped with a desk, my trusty laptop, an extra screen, and a bounty of stationery (yes, I’m a stationery geek). The nature of my work demands minimal distractions, so having a dedicated space where I can close the door, activate the “do not disturb” mode on my phone, and dive deep into my tasks is a game-changer.
- Set Goals: To stay on track, I use a weekly planner bursting with personal and business goals. At the start of each year, month, and week, I set objectives. This approach helps me break down the bigger goals into bite-sized, manageable chunks, making them far less intimidating. To keep my motivation high, I’ve got a vision board right above my desk, adorned with images and quotes that align with my goals.
- Practice Self-Care: When you’re your own boss, it’s easy to lose track of time. But taking breaks is vital for your well-being and productivity. I kick off my “commute” to work with a morning walk, avoid eating at my desk, and savour lunch in the garden on sunny days. When the workday ends, I indulge in some quality reading from my bookshelf filled with inspirational books. Self-care isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity.
- Set a Schedule: Freelancing means freedom, but it also means self-discipline. Deadlines, whether external or self-imposed and a well-structured schedule are your best allies. At the end of each week, I review my calendar to assess my capacity for new projects or for working on my website and social media. After trying various project management apps, I found that a straightforward time-blocking approach using Google Calendar works best for me. And don’t forget to schedule those breaks – they’re essential for recharging.
- Celebrate the Wins: Freelancing can be lonely at times, with no colleagues or bosses to give you a pat on the back. That’s why it’s crucial to be your own cheerleader. As part of my goal-setting ritual, I treat myself when I achieve milestones. A weekly goal might earn me a new book or a glass of wine, while a monthly achievement calls for something bigger, like a massage or a shopping spree. And don’t underestimate the power of a supportive circle of friends and family – they’ll remind you that you’ve worked hard and should be proud, helping you keep imposter syndrome at bay.
I hope you find these tips as helpful as I have. Feel free to share your own motivation-boosting strategies in the comments below. Freelancing may have its challenges, but with the right mindset and a few tricks up your sleeve, you can conquer it like a pro!