Do take at least one day off a week
I know it's tempting to work 15 hours a day, 7 days a week because you have sooo much work to do, but when you decide to take one day off a week, there are two benefits. First of all, you get to practice some self care and spend some time with your friends and family. Secondly, if you set yourself a deadline (ie I'll have this finished before I take my day off), there is some positive pressure to get work done. Working everyday means you can fall into the trap of working slowly and achieving nothing. Plus you will eventually experience burn-out if you don't take some time for yourself.
Don’t start the day with social media
The first thing so many so of us do when we wake up is we pick up our phone and start browsing through Facebook or Twitter. The first hour of your day should be "me-time" and even after that social media should wait a while. It's so easy to waste time replying to individual messages, reading posts and mindlessly scrolling through your newsfeed. Replying to the people in your community is important but so is creating content, contacting collaborators, coming up with new ideas and setting goals for the week. Seeing the bigger picture is important and social media only plays one part in your business. Set a time during the day to be on social media and stick to it. Of course if there's an urgent message, you may have to deal with it outside of these hours, but the majority of messages from people can wait. Set up a automated chat-bot if you would still like to have a very responsive reply time badge on your Facebook page.
Do talk about your work at social gatherings...
...but only if people ask you, and only if you feel comfortable talking about work. Social gatherings are a great way to network with some new people. Everyone is merry and a little more chatty so conversation is flowing. If someone asks you about your business venture or freelancing business, do tell them all about it, BUT.. only IF they ask. There are times when people need to switch off from work and just relax. Learn to read the situation. If you ask someone about their work and you can see they're hesitant to talk about it, don't persist. Not everyone wants to talk about their job 24/7. If you're not in the mood to talk about work and someone asks you how it is going, just reply with "I'm a bit tired right now, but I'll tell you all about it on Monday, if that's okay?"
Don’t sleep with your phone beside your bed
Try to turn all electronics off an hour before you go to bed. It will help you to have a better nights sleep. I like to try reading for 30 minutes before I nod off as reading makes me tired. Plus, if you don't sleep with a phone (or a laptop or tablet) beside your bed, it also means you won't be tempted to look at it first thing in the morning!
Do have an hour in the morning just for yourself
Start the day right with some well deserved "me-time". Read a book. Do some exercise. Practice some meditation. Cook up a healthy breakfast. Take a shower. Go for a cup of coffee with a friend. The first hour of your day should be all about you and doing what you enjoy. After that you can worry about work.
Don’t work from your bed
As tempting as it may be, don't work from bed! There are too many distractions that will stop you from being productive. If you work from home, have a designated work space in your house! Personally I like to work from cafes or co-working spaces, so I know that when I'm at home, it's time to unwind. This way there's a more clear distinction between working time and personal time.
Do take a break during the day
You will be more productive if you take a break in the middle of the day. Anywhere up to two hours is good. Go to the gym. Take a power nap. Go for a walk in the park. Clear your head. When you come back to the work, you will have a fresh mind and will be able to see problems with a new set of eyes. This tip really works for when you are feeling "stuck" with a project.
Don’t contact people after 9pm
Even if it wouldn't bother you, don't contact work people after 9pm. Apart from the fact that you may be annoying people when they are not at work, you're also less likely to get a response after 9pm, on the weekend or on a public holiday. Be sure to account for time difference too.
Do form some sort of routine
You may have become a freelancer or started your own business in order to escape routine, but this doesn't mean that you can't have some things that you incorporate into your day to day life. In order to stay organised, it's important to have a rough timing schedule for when you will create or promote content, when you will cold email potential new clients or customers, and when you will sit down and set some goals. I like to do goal-setting every week on a sunday evening, but you should do whatever works best for you.
Don’t do the same things everyday
You can have a routine and stay organised, but that doesn't mean that you have to do the same things every day. Start working at different times. Some people are more creative at night. Some people are super productive very early in the morning. Mix things up and keep it interesting. You can work from different cafes and co-working spaces or you can work from home. The beautiful thing about this lifestyle means you have more freedom to choose when and where you work. Why not try waking up earlier and then have a power nap at lunchtime? See what works best for you!
Do learn how to say NO to things
Your time is precious. When you are starting out freelancing you may be tempted to say yes to every project that passes your way, regardless of whether it's a good fit for you. It works the same way for personal matters. An acquaintance who you don't particularly like is having some going away drinks and you are invited. Learn to say "No thanks, I can't make it." If your time is already limited, why would you use up more of it doing things you don't particularly like?
Do have an accountability partner
An accountability partner is someone who you report to on a regular basis and they will check how you are getting on with the goals that you set yourself, and you do the same for them. Make sure to choose an accountability partner that actually cares about your goals and someone who isn't afraid to give you that much needed kick in the behind if you're slacking off. If you're looking for a greater separation between your personal and professional life, choose a partner who you don't know personally. You could find one online through a Facebook group.
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