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8 Signs That You Have a Crappy Work Schedule as a Freelancer

8 Signs That You Have a Crappy Work Schedule as a Freelancer

Being a freelancer is truly a great career path. I mean, you have the freedom to decide when you want to work, and even how much work you actually want to do. However, it’s no fairytale—like every profession, it still has its pros and cons. For instance, the thing I want to talk about today is having a truly crappy work schedule. The worst part is that most of the time you’re not even aware that you have this problem… at least I wasn’t.

work schedule

    Hi, I’m a freelancer—a freelance writer, to be more precise—and yes, I did have a crappy schedule. Sometimes I was struggling to get even the smallest amount of work done and to handle it in a timely fashion. I always wanted to do the best work I could in order to produce a quality piece of writing, so I kept spending obscene amounts of time to get it done; to make my articles perfect (from my point of view).

    Not an advisable approach.

    But enough about me. Let’s focus on some indicators that you too might have a crappy schedule, and let’s reveal the big mystery of how to fix it (hint: there’s no mystery).

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    Note. This article is not only for freelancers. If you’re a business owner, or have a flexible work schedule in any other form then you can still benefit from this guide.

    1. You end up working late nights.

    This is the first and most basic indicator that your schedule, my friend, is a crappy one.

    Now, I’m not here to judge you, and if you like working in the evenings, that’s fine. What is and what isn’t “late night” for you is a personal thing—it’s not defined by an actual hour. From my point of view, however when you start feeling sleepy, yet you continue working because you “have to”, then you’re right in the middle of late night working.

    This isn’t good for anything: not for your health, not for your productivity, not for your results. The first step to making your schedule not crappy is deciding not to work late nights.

    2. You don’t know what’s going on in the morning.

    I know that mornings can be confusing: those first two hours upon waking up are usually chaotic and don’t contain much dedicated effort in any area. That’s fine, but problems start when it’s already been four hours since you’ve gotten up and you still don’t know what to do. I mean, you have your to-do list, your tasks, but somehow you can’t seem to get started.

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    Usually, this is not a problem with bad task assignment—this is a problem of not setting any in-day time constraints, so to speak. The thing is that your workday is not limited by a specific number of hours. You know that you need to get some things done by the end of the day, but you’re not thinking about your work time as a constant 8 hour or so effort.

    This is what eventually kills your free time.

    3. You have no time for relaxation.

    Or should I say “you think you have no time for relaxation.”

    Anyway, this connects somewhat with the previous points: if you constantly don’t know what to do in the morning, and you keep ending up working late night then no wonder you have no time to relax. Your relaxation time is actually one of the simplest indicators of how well-constructed your schedule is, and the rule of thumb is this: If you have sufficient amount of time for relaxation, then your schedule is just about okay.

    Just in case you’re not that convinced about the value of relaxation, let me just say that it’s the best and most effective way to keep you sane. It recharges your batteries and gets you ready for yet another day of hard work.

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    4. Your default answer is “I can’t, I’m busy”

    What do you usually say when someone asks you out for a beer, or a coffee? Is it the aforementioned “I can’t, I’m busy?” If so, then your schedule sucks. I’m not saying that you have to be available all day long for every social activity possible, but if you can’t find the time to enjoy some cool activities with your friends for the third week straight then something is probably not right.

    5. You have difficulty delivering on schedule.

    I’m not saying that you’re always late. I’m just saying that you have difficulties…

    Difficulties can mean working ’round the clock for the final two days before the deadline or having periods of intensified work and periods of no work at all for no apparent reason. If you’re going to prevent this, you’ll need some self-discipline and forecasting skills, so to speak.

    The approach that seems to work best for me is to handle 50% of my work as soon as possible, then space out the remaining 50% evenly over a given period of time. This way, I don’t find myself in a situation where I have to do 70% of the work in the last three days.

    6. You have no time for your own projects.

    Freelancing gives you plenty of space to handle your own stuff and to build your other brands and businesses—this sort of thing is very common among successful freelancers. However, not everyone manages to deliver on their promise, if you will. Starting another project is the easy part: finding time to execute it is a whole different ballgame.

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    If you’ve started a project, but now you have no time to handle it, then you have yourself a crappy schedule. Before you disagree, let me just say that freelancing was never supposed to be a job, so by definition, it shouldn’t be the only project on your mind.

    7. You have no hobbies or non-work-related interests.

    One thing I’m really proud of is that I’m not only a freelance writer (where I get paid for writing)—caution; one-minute boasting break ahead—I’m also a musician (one mixtape out, album on the way), a martial artist (Capoeira), and probably also a photographer (I have Instagram on my phone… and according to the Internet, that’s all I need). Is it because I have more time than others? No, it’s because I’ve made a conscious decision about my work not defining who I am.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one. You have your hobbies too, and if you think that you no longer have the time to take part in them, then maybe evaluate your schedule because, again, it is crappy.

    8. You read less than one book a month.

    This one is tricky, and to be honest, it’s my favorite item on the list. Reading is a vital activity for everyone, and especially for freelance writers. From my point of view, one book a month is the bare minimum that should be read (my mom reads three every two weeks, for example). Reading exposes you to new ideas, expands your knowledge and strengthens your expertise, and well, do I really have to talk about the benefits of reading? Reading is so much simpler in the 21st century too: we’ve got iPads, Kindles, and such, so you can keep your entire book collection in a backpack at all times.

    I guess that’s it for my list. I believe that if you handle each of the items here, you’ll make your schedule a significantly less crappy one. It’s not like I’ve already managed to get all this handled myself—I have some stuff left on my plate too.

    Feel free to comment and tell me what you think about this. Is your schedule crappy? Do you have any ideas on what would look good as item #9 here?

    Featured photo credit:  Evening traffic. The city lights. Motion blur. via Shutterstock

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    How to Increase Brain Power: 10 Simple Ways to Train Your Brain

    How to Increase Brain Power: 10 Simple Ways to Train Your Brain

    How often do you think about your brain? Do you ever stop to marvel at its incredible power and supreme cleverness? Or at least check in and give it a little spring clean and a recharge it from time to time?

    If you’re like the majority, then your answer will likely be “no”.

    Astoundingly, we only use around 10% of our brains yet we seldom think to invest in a little training every now and then.

    For a long time, scientists believed that we were stuck with the brain we were born with! Luckily for us, that hypothesis has gone out the window!

    Enter neuroplasticity – a new theory that has proven one very incredible fact: Our brains can change.

    This means, if you’re not very intelligent in one area – that’s OK! You have the option to literally ‘change that area of your brain’ through some little trainings.

    Your brain is a muscle. You need to exercise it regularly.

    The exciting thing is that you don’t have to be a millionaire to increase your brain capacity. All you need to do is invest some time to regularly train your brain.

    So how to increase brain power?

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    Here are 10 simple ways to increase your brain power and improve your intelligence!

    1. Do something new

    When you experience something ‘new’, that actually ‘stimulate’ your brain!

    Don’t get stuck in a rut doing the same old things – the only way to change the structure of your brain is to do something new. This creates new neural pathways, increasing your intelligence level.

    You could take a new route to work, try a new recipe for dinner, or even a new form of exercise – mix them up!

    2. Ditch the GPS

    Gone are the days of map reading! Sat Nav may have made our lives easier, it has also made our brains lazier and less efficient at the same time!

    Go back to the old school and use a map to navigate every now and then. This exercises the part of your brain responsible for understanding spatial relationships.

    3. Ban the calculator

    Remember back at school when we were taught to use our brains to do simple sums like times tables? It’s incredible how we now rely on devices like smart-phones and laptops to calculate really simple equations.

    Resist the urge to work things out using an external device and use the device you were born with – your brain!

    4. Be curious

    Instead of taking everything at face value, get into the habit of questioning everyday things/products, services that you come into contact with.

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    By being ‘curious’ and questioning everything, you force your brain to innovate and create new ideas.

    Curiosity may have killed that cat but it created super important things like electricity and computers!

    5. Think positive

    Stress and anxiety kill existing brain neurons and also stop new neurons from being created.

    Research has shown that positive thinking, especially in the future tense, speeds up the creation of cells and dramatically reduces stress and anxiety.

    Try and get a handle on negative thoughts and make an effort to replace them with positive ones.

    Not sure how to do it? Take a look at this article:

    How to Turn Off Negative Thoughts in Your Mind

    6. Exercise regularly

    It’s been proven that regular exercise helps to increase brain function and enhances neurogenesis. This means that every time you exercise, you are creating new brain cells!

    Here’re 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise, get off the couch and get moving!

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    Your brain will thank you for it.

    7. Train your memory

    How often do you hear people say “I wish I had a better memory!’ Yet no-one does anything about this!

    If you discipline yourself to memorize phone numbers and other important numbers (passport, credit card, insurance, driving license) you will start to see a marked improvement in your memory.

    8. Eat healthy

    Our diets have a HUGE impact on brain function. Our brains consume over 20% of all nutrients & oxygen that we consumed – so remember to feed your brain with the good stuff! (i.e. fresh fruit and veg & plenty of OMEGA 3 oils found in oily fish)

    Here’re more healthy foods that will boost your brain power:

    10 Healthy Foods That Make You Smarter

    9. Read a book

    Reading relieves tension and stress, which is brain-cell killers because it’s a form of escapism.

    Research has also shown that using your imagination is a great way to train your brain because you force your mind to ‘picture’ what you are imagining. Reading is a great way to trigger your imagination!

    Reading every day helps your thinking and imagination, learn more about it here:

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    10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day

    10. Get enough sleep

    Sleep is like a mini detox for the brain. This is when your body regenerates cells and removes all the toxins that have built up during the day.

    Get to bed between the hours of 9pm and midnight to benefit from the most effective hours of sleep!

    If you have difficulty sleeping, you should read this guide:

    The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    An intelligent brain comes from hard work

    If you do take my suggestion and do these things consistently, you’ll soon realize your brain is sharper and you can remember more stuff.

    You don’t need to do everything all at once, pick one to two and start making them your daily habit.

    Intelligence comes from hard work. Make effort to train your brain and you’ll become smarter.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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