The average freelancer is programmed to multitask; it comes intuitively, almost second nature in the hustle to stay afloat.
In a world where everything seems to be happening fast, and deadlines are more choking more than bow ties, it make sense to say that the phrase, “working your bones out,” may have been coined to detail a freelancers’ life.
This is so because the average freelancer isn’t the usual 9-5 kind of person. We don’t leave our work at the office to come home and watch TV in the evenings. For us, work is life, all day, every day.
There’s no clear balance.
And as with every other thing done in excess, there’s a price to pay when it comes to working round the clock, ignoring other aspects of your life.
One out of many prices is what researchers refer to as burnout. This is the exhaustion or lethargy gotten from too much mental or physical work on a steady basis. In recent times, studies have shown that most working millenials and freelancers have been hit worst in these fast-paced, constantly-connected times.
This is due to the fact that both companies and employees, especially the contractors and freelancers, put in so much time and effort into producing results, late into the night and right back at it in the morning and even weekends, leaving little or no time to rest our brains.
When it comes to freelancers, the need for breaking down chores in a coherent sequence or smaller chunks is not just a suggestion but a necessity. It has also been shown to improve productivity and efficiency.
If taken seriously or given the due consideration it deserves, adhering strongly to a laid down plan of activities or tasks for each day will not only foster progress over time, but also help independent workers and freelancers get things done without giving their mental and physical health in exchange.
So it goes to explain that freelancers need to learn the art of compartmentalizing jobs and needs, and taking on only enough for each day.
TAKE THE BOLD STEP
When it comes to compartmentalizing, the very first step that every freelancer needs to take is to take the bold step of making the decision.
Without coming to the realization that some measures need to be taken to protect and improve your overall work and life balance, freelancers and contract workers may continue running in a circle of deadlines, negative cash flow and stress.
The personal decision is important when it comes to intentional compartmentalization, because it puts tasks in perspective, and helps you manage each 24 hours to the best of your abilities.
Solutions to problems emerge when there is intentional effort to critically analyze a problem and execute on the potential solutions
THE ERA OF SCHEDULES AND ROUTINES
Most people become freelancers because they do not like their schedules and routines dictated by others i.e. bosses and overbearing company cultures.
When you become a freelancer though, you realize that you have a lot more bosses than one i.e. your clients, and while they don’t set your hours, you are expected to produce results consistently.
You become your own boss and YOU have to set your own schedules and routines or you’ll fall behind.
You can take the way of most famous entrepreneurs running multiple companies e.g. Elon Musk. He’s been known to dedicate certain days to each of the companies, and in this way is able to focus on each in their time.
As a freelancer, just make sure to not over promise by setting deadlines that you know you may not be able to meet. As you gain experience, you begin to gauge how much time each job actually takes, if you’ll bring in external help to speed it up, and when you can realistically submit the best result to your clients.
In cases where it looks like routines don’t work for you, study your energy and creativity peak hours, experiment with different times of the day, and finally settle on what works for you. Don’t leave your clients work to chance or procrastination.
You are the one who understands you best; it is paramount to draw a plan that works for you.
APPS TO THE RESCUE
With the avalanche of tools and apps that assist in doing several tasks at a time, freelancers can tap into the assistance of applications and not only plan their day, but automate recurring processes to achieve faster results.
We wrote about this in-depth just last week on the blog. Read through that for even more reasons why using technology to enhance your business processes will set you far apart from the rest of your peers, can even make you extra money (if you decide to train others and monetize your processes).
Apps like the complete Google Apps for Business and Wunderlist top our list of apps that streamline and fastrack our process at Week of Saturdays.
These apps with their valuable scheduling and collaborative features will help you compartmentalize your life and work easily. We have folders and lists for all our different projects and this keeps our team of freelancers close, productive and aligned.
DO MORE OF WHAT WORKS
Although they say change is constant, when it comes to creating a schedule or routine that works for you and earns you the most, compartmentalizating may or may not be right for you.
It is up to you to pay attention to how you perform as you try different methods.
You are not alone when it comes to struggling to stay disciplined everyday when you work from home and on your time, but it is up to you to figure out how you can boss yourself right. You must find a way to make judicious use of your time or you’ll lose clients… and end up homeless.
Feel free to ask other freelancers or self-employed professionals around you how they perform at their best.