Dear freelancers, please give yourself a break!

Jo Driscoll
5 min readSep 1, 2023
Tired 24/7
Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

I recently remarked to a friend I was trying to get the time, energy, and motivation to do the housework. He retorted it just requires discipline. It made me realise that I most probably do lack discipline as well as all the other stuff!

Does this make me a bad person? Hell, no!

Am I sometimes unfocused, overwhelmed with what to do next, and occasionally just downright tired? Hell, yes!

Perhaps this is one of the downsides of freelancing. When you are in employment, there's usually someone riding your arse to get your work done — you are accountable to someone.

When you freelance, you are really only accountable to yourself. It’s down to you to meet your deadlines, keep your clients happy, and do everything else your business requires.

What can be liberating on many levels can also be crippling.

When you’re freelance, you need to be a jack of all trades. You need to be able to do the thing that actually makes you money but also all the admin, legal contracts, taxes, invoicing, chasing non-payers, and self-promotion.

So, where does time, energy, motivation, and discipline fit in?

Time

You need to learn to manage your time effectively to do your best work in the least and most profitable time. You also need to set aside time to do all the housekeeping that goes with running a business and self-promotion.

Perhaps more importantly, and something that can often be overlooked, you also need to set aside time not to work. Yep, you read that right — we all need time off unless you want to fry your brains. Don’t forget to assign time off each week.

All work and no play sets you on the road to burnout.

Energy

Our bodies need to be recharged and refuelled. That’s a fact. And it all comes down to the same old advice: eat well, sleep well, and do regular exercise (if you are physically able).

It’s not easy to always get it right. Setting habits can help, such as getting into the routine of going to bed at the same time each night. Life gets in the way, and it’s natural to deviate from the plan, but do what you can to…

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