A Freelancer’s Guide to Stress Reduction–Part 2
Check out a few more stress-reducing tips to help you stay on track in your assignments and feel good while doing it!
Last post, we brought you a few tips for dealing with the stress that comes along with a freelance career. Here are a few more to help you stay on track in your assignments and feel good while doing it!
Create a Happy Place
Working independently can be difficult if you don’t have the right space for it. You need to determine what your ideal working conditions are, and then create a space specific for that purpose. Ask yourself the following questions:
Do I prefer working near a window with natural light or is that too distracting? Do I need quiet or does music help me focus my ideas? Do I prefer sinking into a couch or will I get more done sitting in an office chair that maximizes back support? Would a second monitor be helpful? Do I need room for a notebook next to my computer to jot down notes?
Once you’ve determined the best working environment, do your best to create it. Make the space separate from where you relax (even if they are in the same room). Separating the space will allow your brain to know when to focus and when you get to relax and have fun. If you can’t create an environment that works where you are, find one somewhere else. A public library or local coffeehouse with free Wi-Fi might be exactly what you need to do your best work.
Set Time Limits
When you like what you do, it’s easy to lose track of time and spend hours hunched in front of a computer screen. Setting a timer and forcing yourself to take breaks will actually help you be more productive. If you know that you only have a certain amount of time to complete something, you’ll naturally develop the habit of focusing in on a task. It also helps keep your work fresh because your brain has a break to consider what you’ve been working on. This can inspire more creative ideas. Plus, self-editing can often be difficult because you already know what you’re trying to say. Forcing breaks into your work means that you can come back to the work with new eyes. Better editing leads to less revisions and therefore less stress!
Walk It Off
We all know exercise is important. It’s also necessary to remove yourself from your working environment for breaks. Rather than spending your breaks on your computer, try taking a walk, doing a yoga routine, or meditating. Working at home can be especially difficult because it often means that you don’t get the opportunity to chat with other people at the coffeepot late in the morning or interrupt your day with a meeting in the conference room. So create your own interruptions. Take your dog for a walk at lunchtime or break up your day with household chores. You’ll feel better for getting to move around – and you get the bonus of a cleaner working environment or some fresh air.
A common stressor for freelancers is communication difficulties. If you don’t understand a project’s instructions, a revision request, or what’s required, ask the client or author services. Check the FAQ’s or email author services for questions about the platform. Ask in the forums if you have questions about tools to use to make your work better (such as Purdue’s OWL). Although it won’t alleviate all uncertainty about working on something new, having a clear understanding of what you need to complete a project will significantly reduce your stress during the process.
With the new year fast approaching, now is the time develop good habits and find ways to minimize your stress.