Happiness leads to success. No two ways about it, if you enjoy freelancing, then you will succeed. It may take time, but in the long run it will be worth it. Sometimes though, freelancing can be very stressful. Stress can bring you down, so conquering that stress and leading a happy life can help you to become a better designer and freelancer.
Many habits and slight tweaks in your daily routine can make a drastic difference in your attitude and your work. All of these adjustments may not work for you, but there are bound to be at least a few that will help. So now, I will go over (in a rather “zen-ish” manner) a list of ways to make your freelancing more enjoyable.
Freelancing is 95% Failure, 5% Success. Learn From Failure.
I know, that sounds cruel, but it true. In being a freelancer or any entrepreneur for that matter, you will encounter a vast amount of failure. Those who are able to get past the failure are the ones we will succeed.
Also, you have to be able to learn from failure. If you learn from failure, then you haven’t completely failed. A lot of times you have to take failure in stride and focus on the positives.
Taking care of your body will lead to happiness. Simple as that. Here are a few tips on staying healthy:
Exercise Frequently – Exercise releases chemicals called endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling and release the feeling of pain. Exercise reduces stress and anxiety, boosts energy, helps sleep, and helps self-esteem. So, obviously, exercise can be an excellent way to jump start you into happy freelancing.
Get Adequate Sleep – Another advantage of working for yourself is that you are able to set your own hours. You have to be smart when you choose how many hours you work.
Tea Over Coffee – This is always an interesting subject where argument is bound to occur. People have strong opinions going either way. Personally, I drink tea. Tea is much healthier, and although it may not give you a lot of energy, it is better for you in the long run. Again this one always has some discussion following it, so I would love to hear what you have to say on the topic.
Step Away from the Computer, Get Outside
I have said this many times before, but I including it again because I feel that it cannot be stressed enough. You have to step away from the computer for at least a few hours a day. Yes, you will end up losing a few hours of work, but those hours that you do end up working will be considerably more productive.
Keep a Clean Workspace
As designers, we are always using an array of different tools. From sketch pads to the iPod, these things can create a large amount of clutter.
Organization – There’s nothing more annoying than having to spend all day looking through stacks of your junk for an crucial file.
Good Lighting - As I said with exercise, it is believed that sunlight releases endorphins. You should get outside in the sun everyday, but you could take it a step further and spend all day in some sunlight. A room with good lighting can always assist in making your workspace more pleasant and ultimately more enjoyable.
Procrastination Will Kill You
Procrastination is most likely to be one of the more depressing roads you can take. It will lead to a lack of success and will greatly add to your stress and hurt your attitude towards your work. It can also bring down your confidence too. If you are consistently procrastinating it can hurt your income more than you may think, and it is hard to stop. It is possible, however, to change this bad habit.
Set Goals (And Complete Them) – Set a list of goals for each day, and list what you would like to complete. If you catch yourself slacking off, follow the next step.
Analyze What’s Causing the Problem – If you find yourself falling behind, take a look at what habits are hurting you. Then, work toward ending that habit, and you will be able to work more productively.
Expand Your Knowledge
Often times learning a new skill and expanding your knowledge can help to brighten your experience. New experiences can make things more interesting. Teaching yourself an interesting new skill can actually be enjoyable. When you finally are able to use the skill in your work, it’s always a great feeling.
Here’s an excellent article about learning a new coding language on NETTUTS. It could be helpful when taking on a new skill.
Be Proud of Your Work
Being a freelancer is a struggle, there ‘s no doubt about it. Unlike a 9 to 5 job where the work is simple given to you and you get paid for showing up, we have to go out and find work. When you are working on a project, don’t take shortcuts and do every task to the best of your ability. Then, afterward be proud of what you accomplished.
Don’t Overbook Yourself
As freelancers, we work often and take on many projects. Although you can make extra money be doing extra projects, many people make the mistake of thinking they can handle extra projects. The truth is that it is better to take it a manageable few at a time.
Overbooking can lead to many problems, including a lack of effort on all the projects. If you take on too many projects at a time, you will run the risk of not putting all of the effort into what you are doing. Of course, there are those of you who are good at handling many projects, but it still leads to difficulties. All in all, it’s best to only take on what you can handle to relieve the extra stress.
Organize Your Finances
Finances are a frequent culprit in the world of stress. It can cause problems and lead to instability. Dealing with financial problems will take up a lot of your valuable time also. What do I mean by “organize”? Do whatever you can do to make your finances as manageable as possibly. There are a few methods to clean up you finances. You can use applications such as Mint, or sort your spending and incoming with spreadsheets. Find a method that works for you and pursue it.
Organize Your Tasks
Clutter and confusion can be prevented, and doing so will free up your mind quite a bit. There are plenty of tools and habits that can help you to stay organized.
A “To Do” List - The “to do” list, one of the oldest techniques, yet still precious to daily function.
Applications – There are an array of applications made to help with organization, so why not use them. Sure, they cost money, but a lot of times they can be surprisingly helpful.
Don’t Allow Opinions from Others to Get You Down
Criticism is everywhere in the design community. No matter what it is you are doing, someone will criticize you. People often times make the mistake of allowing criticism to get to them. You can take criticism and turn it into something constructive, which is what criticism is meant to be.
From the Couch, an awesome video blog, recently discussed this topic. Check their video out to hear their opinion on this important topic.
Make a Presence in the Design Community
Personally, I love being part of the community. It brings something more to what I do and allows me to collaborate with others like me. It can lead you to many new ideas and inspire your creativity.
How do you participate? Well, there are many ways. Leave comments on blogs (such as Spoonfed!), collaborate on Twitter, and write a few guest posts to spread your knowledge.
Take on Projects You Will Enjoy
One on the greatest upsides of freelancing is the freedom. You have the freedom to take on any project you want. Of course, when you need money, you will probably have to go with what projects you can get. Once you get more and more projects, you can be more selective.
Set a Flexible Schedule
A good schedule and planning is quite an easy step to being less stressed. It will help set you on your way to becoming a more happy and efficient worker.
There are a number of techniques to set a productive schedule. First of all name some goals that you would like to complete for the day and plan out your day. Write down your schedule somewhere, and leave it in a place where you can see it. Notice that I emphasized the word flexible. If you try to follow your schedule exactly, it will only lead to more stress.
Tea or Coffee?
Or, just share your thoughts on the article.