You probably already know freelancing is not a career for the faint of heart.
Freelancers are always hustling for new clients, juggling existing ones, dealing with incoming and outgoing projects, chasing up finances, and hopefully finding time to do other things that make them happy.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the worlds best at time management and productivity – if you don’t look after your mental health, you’re on a road that ends with you burning out.
As with any career, it’s essential to find a balance between kicking your career goals and looking after yourself – but entrepreneurs are under extra pressure in a world where the Silicon Valley images of Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk present the pinnacles of start-up success stories, and every freelancer feels the comparisons when they’re running their own brand.
Essential tips to manage your stress
1. Find a process
Whether you work best with the Pomodoro technique, eating your frogs, GTD, or your own custom process, knowing what you have to do to achieve your goals each day is essential. By planning, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed or swamped by an unexpected workload.
2. Get your calendar into check!
Inboxes often become overwhelming. Anyone who has taken a week off knows the shock of coming back to an overflowing inbox of ‘urgent’ requests from clients. Some prefer pen and paper diaries, others lean towards programs like Jira and Trello, and there’s also those who have made the most of the ‘labels’ function of Gmail. Being vigilant about upcoming deadlines, what stages projects are at, and urgency levels are the key to stopping any successful freelancers stress levels reaching critical.
3. Be a bit less lonely
Loneliness is a literal killer – those who feel lonely are 3.4 times more likely to develop depression. Large workplaces are social, and removing yourself from that space can mean withdrawing from a large amount of social interaction each day. A great way to find a balance between solo freelancing and being with others is to organise a desk at your local coworking space. Coworking provides great facilities for you to work from while surrounded by equally motivated people who you can network and collaborate with at regular events or simply by organically meeting each other around the space.
Read more: How to Leverage Your Coworking Community to Grow a Start-Up
4. Take a break when you need to
The combination of pressure to be productive and ‘switched on’ all the time is too much for mere mortals.
Taking breaks is essential to getting things done – it’s scientifically proven.
Taking twenty minutes away from your desk to go to the gym, have a nap, or even just unwind and grab a coffee – some coworking locations such as Hub Southern Cross, Hub Hyde Park, and Hub Anzac Square have on-site cafés so you can enjoy your barista-made latte and relax without trekking too far from your office. This lets you detach your mind from the task at hand for a few minutes so you can process information and attack your lists anew.