No matter your employment status, there are a few things you should be aware of when you are taking on freelancing projects. They can take over your life, especially if you get into the “every minute I’m not working is money lost,” mindset.
Rather than binge on work and lose all semblance of a normal life, then crash and burn and miss deadlines (and feel like a Failed Adult) try a few tricks to train your brain to work more efficiently.
For example, if you have a smartphone, you might want to try shutting off notifications on your phone, and removing those entertainment apps. Why? So you can actually look up from your damned phone every once in a while and see the world around you, disconnect, and live in the present. Keeping your eyes constantly on a screen, even if you’re “playing” keeps your brain turned on. Get off the damned Internet and look around you.
I’m guilty of the worst kind of Failed Adult moment, regarding smartphones. One day, while visiting with my family (something that happens pretty rarely, these days), I realized that every time I put down my phone, my little baby niece would come running to give it to me like it was some kind of life support. How sad, I thought, that she felt this gadget was more important than her small self, and how wretched of me to pay any attention to it while this little person was giving me all of her attention. I was only going to have a few hours with her, but I had that phone with me 24/7. Don’t be that asshole like me. Get off your phone.
Get some sunshine. Seriously. Go outside and play. Don’t come back until it’s dark. Our generation is engaging in the most severe Vitamin D deficiency experiment of all time by working mostly indoors and spending the majority of the day sitting at desks. From what science has discovered (so far), the supplements are mostly bullshit, and you cannot put the sun into a pill. Go outside, and put your smartphone away. Get off your phone.
Use your phone to call people instead of email, and whenever possible, go meet them face-to-face. Don’t get out of the habit of socializing with people professionally. You’ll get answers faster, gauge tone, and get to know the person you’re working with better. All of this will save you some precious time, and possibly inspire your creative output.
Sleep well and eat well. Abusing your body isn’t going to do you any favors, but it will make your inevitable crash more prolonged and wretched. Take care of yourself and your brain will work better.
Make some things rigid schedules and leave the rest up to life. Even drunk ol’ Hemmingway, and drug-ridden Bukowski managed to wake their sorry asses up—every day—at some ungodly hour of the morning to write. Every. Day. (Or so the legends say.) Sticking to some routines will guarantee you will get SOMETHING done every day, and will allow you to build your schedule more logically to accommodate fun things like seeing your friends and significant others.
Try some of these and see how they work for you. If they don’t, feel free to suggest what you do instead that’s better. I am always up for learning new tricks.