As a freelancer, you might find yourself overwhelmed with juggling demands from multiple clients, meeting deadlines, staying on top of invoicing, and working on projects to grow your business.
With all the tasks you need to accomplish in a given day, it can feel as if you’re barely keeping your head above water. How can you keep your calm despite your hectic schedule? Here are some easy ways to stay mindful amid the hustle:
Meditation is a great way to stay mindful.There are plenty of free apps out there to help you meditate, such as Happify, the Insight Timer, and Buddhify, which provide guided meditations and instructions for beginners. Find a comfortable space where you can meditate without interruptions. If you’re just starting out, sitting still for even five minutes can be excruciating, so first try it with your eyes open and focus on breathing deeply. After you’ve mastered that, try meditating for a short amount of time.
Exercise Helps You Stay Mindful
If you don’t have time to carve out an hour plus to head to the gym, exercise for 10-minute bursts. Studies have shown that exercising just for 10 minutes daily could have the same health benefits as longer stretches of physical activity. The release of endorphins from a rep of burpees or a brisk walk around the block can give you a boost of energy, relieve stress, and put you in a better mood.
Setting boundaries with your clients, your family, and your business can help you make sure you stay productive and have time for some self-care. If you work from home, you can set boundaries by simply putting a sign on your door or clearly communicate to your family exactly when you will be focusing on your work.
Also remember to set limits with your workload. Know how much work you can handle and when to say no to new clients and assignments. By taking on too much, you run the risk of not being able to deliver while adding stress to your life.
Work During Your Personal Peak Hours
As a freelancer, you have the freedom to tackle your most challenging tasks when your mind is most clear so you can do your best work. For instance, if you’re an early bird and are most productive in the morning, you can dedicate the first part of your day to more mentally taxing work and do batch processing, where you answer all your emails and phone calls, later in the day. If necessary, put up an autoresponder message for incoming emails and texts.
Figure Out Your Negotiables and Non-Negotiables
What this essentially means is determining what you absolutely need to get done in any given day, and what can wait. Every morning I personally write down the three things I must tend to. I also write at least one thing that I can technically put off until the next day. Letting a few things fall to the wayside, even a small thing, can create a feeling of relief. Non-negotiables might include upcoming deadlines, project proposals, or any tasks that, if don’t get done, could hurt client relationships or slow down progress on a project. Negotiables could be working on a project that isn’t due for another few months or some housework. As I live alone, it doesn’t affect anyone but me if I put off doing the dishes until tomorrow.
Pay Attention to Your Body
To stay mindful, you have to listen to your body. A lot of times your body is trying to give you signals that you’re stressed out. An increase in headaches, problems sleeping, or maybe overreacting to something someone said are telltale signs you might be feeling stressed or experiencing burnout.
Try taking a step back by doing a quick scan of your body. Are there are areas where you feel tense, pressure, or pain? If so, take a quick breather to recoup or try out a relaxation technique.
Hang Out With Your Friends
A solid call—or Skype session—with a good friend can help you clear your head. It’s simple: socializing helps you stay mindful. Talking things out or just spending some time away from your work can be rejuvenating. If you’re pressed for time, try scheduling things with friends that you would do otherwise. Meet up for dinner with a friend at a nearby restaurant because you need to eat anyway. Maybe set up a coworking meetup where you can hang out and get work done.
It’s easy to get caught up in work. It’s important to set time aside to make sure your own needs are met. Otherwise you run into the danger of burnout, which can take a toll on your wellbeing and productivity.