In many ways, freelancing is en vogue in the United States entering 2022. In 2014, 53 million Americans completed freelance work. The number can increase to 90 million by 2028.
Some freelancers use gig work to earn additional income. Others turn freelancing into their only income source.
The numbers aren’t out yet but some freelancers will quit independent contracting and return to employee status. Why? Because they burnt themselves out.
We offer nine ways to avoid freelancer burnout.
Freelancing experiences highs and lows. It’s up to the individual to plan and fill in the gaps before they occur.
Some independent contractors experience seasonality. Others experience busy and slow periods daily.
There is no need to spin your wheels. It’s a quick way to go from motivated to burnt out. Therefore, remember to accept the realities of freelancing and work within them.
When a freelancer hits their sweet work spot, it’s the best time to complete the most amount of work. However, interruptions break up the momentum and it leads to productivity loss. Whenever you must play catch up, you burn yourself out more quickly.
Therefore, optimize your workspace. For some freelancers, their vehicle equals their workspace. Road warriors and rideshare drivers should pack everything they need daily and weekly in their car’s trunk.
Those who work from home benefit from establishing a well-lit workspace that has everything needed within reach and minimizes distractions.
When momentum is on your side, work until you complete your project. Otherwise, balance your day. Sitting and staring at a computer screen is not healthy.
Each workday also requires:
- At least one 30-minute session of physical activity
- At least two meal times
- A series of 15-minutes breaks
A balanced day helps freelancers recharge in small spurts.
In addition to balancing your day, optimize your schedule short- and long-term. Understand how seasonality works in your field. Then, have irons in the fire to fill the slow times.
When you can’t find your next project, it leads to stress. High energy exerted and poor results cause burnout. That’s not a good recipe.
With time, you’ll see that optimizing your schedule helps you decrease the work highs and lows.
Freelancers like small business owners and entrepreneurs are always on; it’s a must. However, it’s important to set boundaries.
Like employees, freelancers require personal time too. Disconnect and go for a hike or the gym. Set aside time when you don’t talk or think about work.
Every client you gain and every project you complete are wins worth celebrating. After completing a significant project, treat yourself.
For example, take a spa day and get a facial, manicure/pedicure, and professional grooming.
You can also invite friends to celebrate with you.
Humans procrastinate. Some procrastinate on long deadlines. Others put things off that they prefer not to do.
Freelancing and procrastination do not go hand in hand. To keep yourself on your toes, set productivity benchmarks.
If you have repetitive or mundane tasks you must complete, time yourself. Then, complete it in that timeframe to avoid procrastination.
Procrastination leads to stress, and stress leads to freelancer burnout.
Remember – the quicker you complete a task, the quicker you can move on from it.
More Americans can freelance in 2022 because entrepreneurs invented the technology that facilitates it.
In most cases, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, you can enjoy the resources available to you. For example, Gigly provides freelancer-focused discounts, services, and benefits.
All individuals require a budget. Freelancers need it to manage their business and personal income. Plus, it helps them determine what projects they should take and the ones that they can skip.
For example, if rent is due in two weeks but you’re coming up short, it’s a good idea to work the extra hours.
On the other hand, if you have enough funds to pay the next three months’ worth of bills, rent, and an emergency, you can skip an extra project that requires you to work beyond 40 hours this week.
Some freelancers successfully establish a 40-hour workweek. However, it still looks different than the traditional version. To avoid burnout, learn the trends in your industry. Optimize the highs and fill in the lows. Then, remember to celebrate the wins with self-care.