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5 Methods of Staying Sane as a Freelancer

traits of freelancer

As a freelancer, we are motivated by the constant grind of acquiring new clients and embarking on exciting projects. After all, most of us don’t work for an hourly rate – we are paid based on our output, and it is tempting to move ahead at full speed all the time.

However, it is important to make sure that our work – which often overlaps with our passions and/or talents — doesn’t become all-consuming. Here are five areas of life that freelancers need to cultivate to stay sane in a constantly humming marketplace:

1. Family and Friends

It may sound obvious, but the reality is that having a spouse or a friend is not the same as being a good spouse or friend. Relationships require investments of time, energy, and sincerity, and you need to put time on the calendar for them just as you would with clients.

Clients will come and go, and even though staying on top of your professional game may seem overwhelmingly urgent, you will reap greater benefits in the long game by having a rich and supportive personal network.

2. Self-Reflection

It is important to have regular time to dial down your pace and ask yourself timeless questions. What do you want out of life? What isn’t working for you? Consider what makes you happy? What unresolved behavioral issues affect your life and relationships?

By engaging in honest self-reflection and self-improvement, you have the opportunity to enrich your relationship with yourself and others. What’s the point of getting ahead in business if you are not reasonably happy?

3. Creativity

Sometimes, you need to just let the engines idle and spend time simply being. This seemingly aimless activity often yields rich innovation and connection and helps you to recharge and restore.

Whether you find your creative bliss in writing or designing or wherever your skills lie, it is crucial not to neglect this important function of your professional self. You can get so swallowed up in “formal” professional goals that you can become disconnected from the desires of your creative self. So spending time cultivating a routine helps you to foster personal, long-term goal-setting.

4. Exercise

Moving regularly and getting your heart rate up helps you blow off steam, manage stress, and increase productivity. Even if you don’t see aesthetic results from exercise, you will undoubtedly experience increased confidence and energy.

Many people find that they can “get in the zone” through mindful activities like walking and running, and some people have their best, innovative ideas on the bike. Whether your office is in your basement, living room, or in a formal workplace, you will benefit from getting extra movement.

5. Outside Hobbies

Even one can make a difference. Whether it’s painting, dancing, water skiing, marathon running, or learning a new language, hobbies light up new areas of the brain that can be neglected by constantly running only one “operating system” (your business).

A fringe benefit of recreation is that group hobbies like a running team or a dance class can also introduce new people into your network who may either become clients or refer others to you. Getting into new groups cross-pollinates your network and helps you become a stronger, more connected freelancer.

Remember, it’s important to put these five sanity-preserving routines into your calendar as if these activities were clients or projects. You have to prioritize these new routines in order for them to become a habit and yield results!

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Finance Author
William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. He began investing when he was 10 years old. His financial works have been published on Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and many others.

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