Some days it just ain’t happening.
I don’t have any early deadlines.
I haven’t set an alarm.
I wake up.
But I might sleep another hour before feeling guilty forces me to go check my email and get myself together to resemble some kind of human life form.
And I’m losing the will to work at home
The trouble with freedom and flexibility and all that great stuff I shout about is that sometimes you’ll resist even that. The resistance sounds like, ‘You’re not good enough. You’re too lazy to be a freelancer. You’re not disciplined enough. You’d have more money and security if you went and got a ‘real’ job. Why do you keep pretending you can do this? What makes you different?’ and other similar self-doubting voices in your head.
And when negative self-talk sets in, you know the last thing that’s happening, don’t you?
Any kind of inspiration, motivation or discipline to get stuff happening. You turn inward and that’s that. All of Monday is written off with self-doubting silliness and certainty that you’ll have to go and get a job like ‘normal’ people.
So here’s a couple of ways to catch those thoughts and remember the reason you freelanced in the first place.
1 Set goals
Know what you set out to achieve. Set goals, break them down, write them repeatedly, keep them front and centre.
2 Have a catch question
When your mind wanders or distractions become too tempting, be conscious. Ask yourself this as you drift towards your fave social media site: is this taking me towards my goals?
You’ll close the Facebook window before you even mentally answer. Another similar trick is questioning what your idol would do in that situation. This is otherwise known as: what would Richard [Branson] do? #WWRD
3 Enforce your rules
Find ways to ban yourself, if you simply can’t be trusted! With Firefox, I use a plug-in that physically kicks me off certain sites between certain times. Try Leechblock, Nanny for Chrome or similar if you need more of a prompt.
4 Try a change of environment
Still self-sabotaging? Take yourself to a different location.
A change of scene might help you stop procrastinating. Especially if there isn’t a fridge or internet access.
Choose to do non-laptop-dependant work for a while like hand-writing some social media post ideas, brainstorming and planning. I’m a lover of pen and paper to reconnect with my creativity.
5 Create time pressure
In the end, you’ll just flipping have to do your work! Don’t go overboard with this one, especially if you’re not a deadline-driven person.
6 Positive language
Write a list of all the reasons you went freelance in the first place. Surround yourself with positive language. Avoid double negatives. The list should be uplifting, not remind you of the office you left behind.
7 Make some positive affirmations
I’m not such an affirmation girl myself, but I go through phases where they’re handy. And some people love them and find them truly effective. Worth a try, yes?
Language-related again, you eventually start believing your own ‘story’. Tell yourself kind things often. I’ve created some positive affirmations especially for writers here.
8 Talk to other freelancers
Make sure you build a network of other freelancers, entrepreneurs and work-from-home types, online as well as in your local area. The idea is to share your frustrations and maybe even hang out if you’re like me and need to get out of the house.
I’ve had periods of being in a mastermind groups and accountability partnerships. What I’ve realised is that sharing doesn’t just help me feel a bit better. It ignites me.
While networking to meet clients is daunting, networking with peers can be exactly what you need to feel normal again.
Try to mix with freelancers in other industries as well as your own. Too much comparing yourself against others isn’t healthy.
In a nutshell, that’s how I get my head down and get on with things on the days I don’t feel like it.
What do you do on your less-than-brilliant days? Let’s connect and share our tricks over on Facebook.