The grind is an inevitable part of every freelancer’s life. The daily grind is a place where you’ve comfortably settled into a routine. Your day-to-day process doesn’t change much and it can leave you feeling a little lacking. It’s not a bad place to be, but it can drain your creative juices and productivity.
When you’re in the grind, it means you’re not pushing yourself out of your comfort zone—which is an important part of achieving success. If you find yourself stuck in the grind, do these 3 quick steps to get you back on the path to innovation and achievement.
Note: Habits are wise but ‘the daily grind’ is a terrible thing.
1. Change Your Scenery.
Many freelancers work out of their homes. It allows for a flexible schedule, the ability to intersperse personal tasks like laundry and the gym, and a relaxed, quiet environment to get things done. But this often means you’re staring at the same desk, wall, room and artwork day in and day out. A repetitive view can lead to repetitive thinking. Although some repetition is nice and can alleviate stress, too much repetition can stifle creativity and leave you wondering if you “have it” anymore.
You do. All you need is a quick change of scenery to clean out the mental cobwebs and boost your creative juices. If it’s a nice day, try working in a park. Rent a co-working space for a day. Who knows whom you might meet? Commit to working one day per week in a different location and take note of your happiness, productivity and creativity levels.
2. Sleep on It.
Many times your brain is trying to work through a complex problem. Multiple studies have shown that the more we focus on a particularly difficult challenge, the more time it takes for us to unweave it. Simply willing a problem out of existence isn’t effective—our brains don’t work that way. Instead, take an afternoon nap or relaxation session.
Allow your mind to wander to other topics. Make a point to think about light, easy topics, such as what you want for dinner or an upcoming plan that has you excited. Let your brain work through the problem on its own.
3. Plan a Fun Activity.
Freelancers have designed their best life. We took control of our future and are in charge of when, where and how we make money. Our level of determination and willpower is what pushed us to this point in the first place. But it’s easy to say “yes” to everything. We love new projects and challenges. We love the financial peace of mind that comes with constant workflow. But we have to be cautious not to burn ourselves out by taking on too many tasks.
Instead, plan at least one big fun activity per month. This needs to be something more than dinner with friends. It needs to be a chance to get away from the computer (and cell phone) and just have fun. Look at new nature trails in your area or check out a new brewery opening and get a group of friends to attend with you. Getting away from work might be the best cure for the Grind.