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The Lie-In, the Watch & the Half-Empty Wardrobe

The Lie-In, the Watch & the Half-Empty Wardrobe

     

    If you’re thinking about becoming a self-employed freelance writer, you need to weigh up the pros and cons.

    Certain authorities on the subject will describe and exaggerate the positives – working the hours you choose, working from home, working in your pyjamas, working on assignments you prefer – without filling you in on the negatives. And make no mistake about it: there are plenty of them.

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    It takes a particular type of individual to spend the whole day working in isolation. Many have tried and failed, simply because they require the company of others. They need to be in the presence of other people, to have someone else to talk to, to debate ideas with, to give them encouragement or just to tell them what to do.

     

     

    Freelancers can work at a pace that suits them, can take breaks whenever they want to, can enjoy walks or drives in the country when time and weather permit. But most freelancers have to work hard to earn enough to get by, and they can’t do that if they’re out swanning around all day. They need to be disciplined and organized or their careers are doomed.

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    They can enjoy a lie-in every so often if they’re so inclined. Starting work at 8 or 8.30 in the morning probably won’t make a huge difference to the average freelancer, especially if the office is just across the hall. A two-hour session at 3 in the afternoon can be just as productive as at any other time of the day. Other people prefer a solid stint in the early hours of the morning before the rest of the world intrudes. It doesn’t really matter when you work, as long as you do.

    It’s a Job
    Just like any other “job” the freelancer has to produce the goods. The work might be more pleasant than another person’s but it’s equally as time-consuming and demanding. There’s still the potential for stress, anxiety, and frustration, although a brisk walk along the canal can help to get rid of some of these issues.

    According to WebMD sources, job-related stress is caused by a variety of factors, including:

    • Lack of control – the biggest cause of stress in the normal workplace
    • Too much responsibility – it’s often hard to say “no” to bosses face to face
    • Too little job satisfaction – if your work isn’t rewarding it can make you depressed and miserable
    • Lack of support –workers are often left to their own devices, only getting feedback when there’s a problem and receiving little or no real support
    • Poor working conditions – badly lit rooms, noisy environments, long hours and infrequent breaks can lead to a whole range of health problems

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    Naturally you’d expect a freelance writer working from home to have a comfortable chair in a well-lit room, a sturdy desk with ample working space, a bookcase or two with a good supply of reference books, and a decent computer. You’d expect him or her to have control over the types of assignments accepted and fulfilled. You’d expect him or her to experience job satisfaction to varying degrees, depending on the subject chosen, the enjoyment writing about it, and the amount of remuneration.

    It simply wouldn’t make sense for any freelancer to have to endure poor working conditions or settle for work that’s dissatisfying. After all, you can get that just about anywhere. Despite the fact that you frequently have to tout for business to keep projects and finances flowing smoothly, working for yourself is supposed to be liberating and enjoyable. If it’s not, you’re doing something wrong.

    Freelance writers can work just about anywhere. If the office space begins to feel stale or claustrophobic, there’s always the local Internet café. If a particular job is tedious and draining, a walk in the woods with a notebook can help clear the brain and provide much-needed inspiration.

    No More Clock-Watching
    Working as a freelance writer from home was the best thing I ever did. As soon as I started, I took off my watch. I haven’t worn one in five years. I don’t have as many lie-ins as I’d like, but that’s because I can’t wait to get up and get to work. Weekends are precious, though, and work is rarely allowed to intrude.

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    As for my wardrobe, it consists of little more than the bare essentials (no pun intended). I don’t need “business” clothes for every day of the week, so most of what I wear is casual or semi-casual. If I need to meet clients face to face I wear something smart, always conscious that they’re paying me to write and not to appear in a commercial. Most of my work comes to me online, so I often don’t meet the people I write for.

    Conclusion
    Working for yourself isn’t a piece of cake. You get to be your own boss, but that means you have to continually motivate yourself. No-one else is going to do it. Either you work hard or you fail.

    You need to balance your work life with your social life, or one will take over the other. You need to make sure the work you do is worth doing in the first place, and that the time you put in earns you a decent amount of compensation. You need to be determined to succeed, willing to learn, patient, committed, optimistic and resilient. You need to believe in yourself whole-heartedly and be willing to work to meet deadlines, even when the sun is splitting the rocks just outside your window.

    If you can do these things, your career will likely go from strength to strength, and then you can buy as many pairs of pyjamas as you want. Whether you choose to work in them or not is up to you.

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    Last Updated on August 6, 2019

    Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes And How To Tackle Them

    Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes And How To Tackle Them

    Procrastination is something many people can relate to and I, myself, have been there and done that. Yes, I write all about productivity now, but when I first started out on my career path, I would often put off work I didn’t want to do. And most of the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

    So what changed?

    I thought to myself, “why do I procrastinate?” And I started to read a lot of books on productivity, learning a great deal and shifting my mind to the reasons why people procrastinate.

    My understanding brought me a new perspective on how to put an end to the action of procrastination.

    Procrastination slows your goals and dreams way down. It can create stress and feelings of frustration. It rears its ugly head on a regular basis for a lot of people. This is particularly apparent at work with day-to-day projects and tasks.

    But, why do people self-sabotage in this way? Essentially, there are 5 reasons behind procrastination. See if you can identify with any of these in your own work life.

    1. The Perfectionist’s Fear

    Procrastination is sometimes a subconscious fear of failure.

    If you put off a task enough, then you can’t face up to the potential (and usually imagined) negative results. If you’re a stickler for minor details, the stress of getting things ‘just right’ may be too much and cause you to delay continuing the task.

    Either way, fear is at the root cause and can sabotage your desire to move forward.

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    How to Tackle It?

    Try visualizing the completion of your task in a positive way.

    For example, you have a presentation that your boss wants you to conduct for a potential client. Visualize yourself standing in the meeting room confident, meeting the eyes of the client and seeing them light up as you explain the concept simply and concisely.

    Imagine your boss telling you how great you did and you were the best person for the job. Think about how it would feel to you and focus on this as you move forward with the task.

    2. A Dreamer’s Lack of Action

    This is a person who is highly creative and has many brilliant ideas but can’t quite seem to bring them to fruition.

    The main reason for this is because there’s usually no structure or goal setting involved once the idea has been created. This aimless approach ends up manifesting as a lack of decision-making and significant delays on a project.

    How to Tackle It?

    Write down a timeline of what you want to achieve and by when. Ideally, do this daily to keep yourself on track and accountable for progression. Creative minds tend to jump from one idea to the next, so cultivating focus is essential.

    If you’re designing and creating a new product at work, set out a task list for the week ahead with the steps you want to focus on each day. Doing this ahead of time will stop your mind from wandering across to different ideas.

    Learn about how to plan your time and take actions from some of the successful people: 8 Ways Highly Successful People Plan Their Time

    3. An Overwhelmed Avoider

    This is one of the most common reasons for procrastination; the sheer overwhelm of a daunting task.

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    The complexity of a task can cause the brain to lose motivation and avoid doing it altogether choosing instead to stay in its comfort zone.

    The search then starts for a more enjoyable task and the harder tasks are put off. This can cause stress and dread when the task inevitably comes up to be completed.

    How to Tackle It?

    Break the challenge down into smaller tasks and tackle each one individually.

    For example, if you have a project that has technical elements to it that you know you’ll find challenging, list each step you need to take in order to complete these difficult elements. Think of ways you can resolve potential hurdles. Perhaps you have a coworker that may have time to help or even consider that the solution may be easier than you initially think. Put each task in order of most daunting to least daunting. Ideally, try to deal with the more challenging parts of each task in the morning so that momentum is created as the tasks get easier through the day.

    A reward system will also help you stay motivated so, once completed, you can enjoy your treat of choice.

    If you want to know how to better handle your feelings and stay motivated, take a look at my other article: Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here’s How to Stop It

    4. The Busy Bee Who Lacks Prioritization

    Either you have too many tasks or don’t truly acknowledge the differing importance of each task. The result? Getting nothing done.

    Time is spent switching constantly from one task to another or spending too much time deciding what to do.

    How to Tackle It?

    It’s all about priorities and choosing important tasks over urgent ones.

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    Make sure to question the value and purpose of each task and make a list in order of importance.

    For example, throughout your work day, you can waste a lot of time dealing with ‘urgent’ emails from colleagues but, you need to ask yourself if these are more important than working on a task that will affect, say, several office projects at once.

    Help yourself to prioritize and set a goal of working through your list over the next few hours reassessing the situation once the time is up.

    In my other article, I talk about an effective way to prioritze and achieve more in less time: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    5. The One with Shiny Object Syndrome (Distraction-Prone)

    This is another common cause for procrastination; just simple distraction.

    Our brains aren’t wired to focus for long periods of time and it looks for something else. So throw in a bunch of colleagues equally looking for distractions or checking your phone mindlessly, and you’ve got a recipe for ultimate procrastination.

    However, this type of procrastination may not always be an unconscious decision to sabotage and put off work. It’s simply a result of your work setup or types of coworkers you have. Only you know the answer to that.

    How to Tackle It?

    Be mindful of your workspace and potential distractions. Schedule a specific time to converse with your coworkers, put headphones on to minimize listening to what’s going on around you, and switch your phone off.

    Aim to do this for 20-30 minutes at a time and then take a break. This will be a much more efficient way of working and getting what you need done. This is also why scheduling down time is so important for productivity.

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    Whether this type of procrastination is self-sabotage or being a victim of a distracting environment, either way you can take control.

    If you need a little more guidance on how to stay focus, this guide can help you: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

    Bottom Line

    I’m going to be bold and assume you identified with at least one of these procrastination pitfalls.

    You could be trapped in the endless cycle of procrastination like I was, that is, until I decided to find out my why behind putting off tasks and projects. It was only then that I could implement strategies and move forward in a positive and productive way.

    I killed the procrastination monster and so can you. I now complete my tasks more efficiently and completely killed that feeling of stress and falling behind with work that procrastination brings.

    I know it’s not easy to stop procrastinating right away, so I also have this complete guide to help you stop it once and for all: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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