I feel lucky to be able to say that I love my work and truly mean it. Not many people can say that about the field of their work or their job because most people find their day jobs to be boring, demeaning, and exhausting.
I know that because I went through several 9-to-5 jobs before starting out as a freelance writer. I worked at two local advertising agencies as the lead graphic designer and I hated every minute I spent working at those places. I didn’t even last more than 6 months at those jobs.
Writing has always been my passion. I started writing silly short stories and poems ever since I was about 12 years old, that’s way before taking my first freelance job at a local tech magazine. You can probably imagine how big of a deal it was for me when I discovered that I could actually write for a living.
First few months was amazing. I wrote articles about all things tech that I loved and get paid for doing it. Life could not have been any better. But, then the editor of this magazine started requesting bulk orders on topics that I’ve never even heard about. I was pushed beyond my limits and slowly I was beginning to feel like I was working at a 9-to-5 job, again. This is where the depression and anxiety started to kick in.
Even if you love what you do right now, there will come a time when you have to multi-task and handle a lot of jobs at the same time. Pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone is a good thing, but doing it too much can burn out your energy too fast until you reach a point where you simply don’t feel like working anymore.
Take a Break
When I first started my freshINFOS blog I worked 20 hours a day for almost 6 months without any breaks. Food, sleep, health, were not among my concerns. I was only focused on filling my site with more content and getting more visitors each day. Of course, I was rewarded with a big check from Google, but by that time I was too exhausted to carry on. I’ve burned out all my energy.
Then I started reading about burnout and found that many entrepreneurs have gone through the same phase as I have. The best advice they offered was to take a break. One day away from work, no internet, no client emails, no computers, just a day for yourself.
I started taking a day off every week just for myself and it literally changed my life. My health started to improve, my passion for writing started to come back, and more importantly, the quality of my work started to improve.
You know there’s a reason why God took a day off after (supposedly) creating the universe . So, if you feel like you’re trapped at a job or starting to hate your work, try taking a day or two off. You’ll be surprised how it’ll affect your life.
Just Start Working
Taking some time off is the best medicine for avoiding burnout, but what if you have a client waiting for results and you see the deadline approaching close? Well, then you’ve got to suck it up and get down to work. Yes, seriously.
Sometimes, when you don’t feel like working the best thing to do is to start working. Just start typing a few words about your day, open Photoshop and start editing one of your favorite pictures, start coding an easy algorithm, and before you know it you will get pumped up with all the energy to do your work.
The Pomodoro Technique
It can be difficult to concentrate on your work when you have a lot of friends to chat on Facebook and dozens of emails to respond to. When that happens, I use the Pomodoro Technique to avoid all outside distractions and fully focus on work.
The main idea of the Pomodoro Technique is breaking down your work and time into small chunks so you don’t feel overwhelmed by sitting at your computer for too long. Here’s how it work. You find a timer and set it to 25 minutes. Then you close your email inbox, turn off notifications for Facebook, Twitter, and email on your smartphone and simply focus on your work for 25 minutes.
When your timer goes off after 25 minutes, you take a break. Maybe reward yourself with 5 minutes of browsing time on Facebook or go outside and stretch your legs. Then set your timer again and start the cycle. It works every time.
The Power of Exercising
You might be wondering what the hell is physical exercise has to do with creative writing? Well, quite a lot actually because it plays a strong role in increasing a person’s willpower.
Working out is all about pushing yourself to your limit and get some blood flowing through your body. Especially if you sit in front of a computer all day working, like me, a few minutes of exercise is a great way to pump some blood to your brain and get more creative juices flowing.
No need to register at a gym or buy expensive equipment. You can start with a jogging or do some simple exercises at home. The point is to get physically active until you break a sweat. It will not only help you work even harder the next day, but it will also allow you to sleep like a baby.
Remember to eat healthily and take enough sleep every night to keep your motivation at high levels so you can do your best at work every day, because your financial success will mean nothing without good health.
Let’s talk. What kind of problems are you having in your freelancing career right now? Tell me if you’d like my advice or cover an article on a particular subject. Drop me an email. Nothing makes me happier than connecting with other freelancers.