The truth is — the life of a Freelancer and/or Solopreneur isn’t a breeze.
With the benefits of being able to work anywhere and at anytime, it can sometimes get out of hand if you don’t have discipline.
Freedom Isn’t Freedom If You’re Imprisoned by Sloth
It’s easy to let things slide — after all the days and nights are so free now as a Freelancer. You are no longer bound to the cubicle or needing to commute during rush hour. Heck … you don’t even need to change out of your PJs in order to get s$%# done. But the number one thing that many freelancers do struggle with is keeping a schedule, and being consistent in order to be productive.
I know what it’s like to be a Freelancer, you sleep a little later everyday and within a week you catch yourself being a night owl. There is nothing wrong with being a night owl if your circadian rhythm suits it, but it does become a hassle if it affects your productivity.
Learn from Those Most Disciplined
I know there is a whole community of Solopreneurs out there (of which I’m part of myself) that subscribe to the 20 Mile March philosophy. This concept was popularized in a book: Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All.
The 20-Mile March principle is really an anecdote of a army troop. There were two troops with the same goal: to reach their encampment/battlefield that’s 20 miles away. They had a number of days to do it. The general from Troop #1 decided to march the troops from the first day nonstop until they reached their destination.
The general from Troop #2 decided another way — march the troops in sprints and take rests in-between. He split them up one mile a day. Guess which was the better way?
You’ve likely guessed that the Troop #2 got them on time and with all their men. Troop #1 died from exhaustion and starved out. Take from it what you may, but doing just one thing, every single day helps you remain consistent.
The mentality that resists this is that most Freelancers underestimate how much can be done within a day. I love James Altucher’s book Choose Yourself! and the main thing he espouses is his 1% rule.
I’m paraphrasing, but he says if you can commit to and take action to improve your life 1% everyday emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally a year from you now you’ll have this compounded effect of massive disruption and improvement in whatever aspect of life you want.
In all these cases, the key word is ‘choice’.
Choose Or Be Eaten
After all, that’s why we all are choosing to or have chosen to become Freelancers in the first place, no? We all want this choice of freedom with our time, our energy and the way we work. With choice there is a “Paradox of Choice” which is why it’s so important to just bamboozle that and just break it down into smaller pieces.
One of things I do is keep a checklist of things I need to do for the week. Instead of doing things in strict daily schedules like one would at a 9-to-5 working life, I tend to break it down to tasks I do within the week.
This way I have the freedom to do it whenever I need to with the week and still complete the work needed. You may need prioritize things of course, but it helps to stay focused this way while still getting things done. Implement this and have a go at it, Freelancers!
When Strict Discipline Fails You
And lastly, I know not everyone has the discipline to do all of this 100% of the time. It’s totally cool to be lazy and do nothing. In fact there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that when there really isn’t any urgent to do, the best thing to do sometimes is to do nothing.
Sometimes doing nothing is actually harder than doing something. But doing nothing doesn’t mean, turning on Netflix and flicking the channels. That’s passively doing nothing. Doing nothing in this regard means doing something that’s not the primary Freelancer work you do, but things that are in their active nothingness. Wait…scratch that. Let me rephrase. In this time devoted to doing thing, it should be a conscious choice to do something for yourself. It could be reading, it could be writing in your journal, just being more self-aware. That way you’ll come out rested and stronger on the other side and ready to continue your Freelancing work.
Are there any other “bad” habits you’ve encountered in your Freelancer journey? If so, how did you eventually overcome them or cope with them? Leave your comments/thoughts below!