The Struggle is Real: Finding the Motivation as a Freelancer to Stay Busy when You Are Not

Posted on June 27, 2017
__________





Finding the motivation to work when business is slow is difficult enough in a traditional office setting, but for freelancers the challenge is mighty. In an office, you have bosses, coworkers and the prison cell of your cubicle to help keep you on task. Even then, the call of the World Wide Web can lead even the hardest worker astray. Pair that with the sofa, television, bed, bathtub, and freedom of no boss breathing down your neck and you have the life of a freelancer.

While the benefits are many, staying motivated and focused during lulls, and even during busy times is the downfall of many a freelancer. So how does one stay motivated during times when you have no new projects to complete and you have little to do? While it can vary from freelancer to freelancer, there are many ways to help you stay focused. Try what works for you and you’ll find that the hardest part of the job doesn’t have to be so daunting.



Plan ahead:

Being a freelancer requires crazy organization skills to be able to juggle whatever work is coming your way, often for several clients, many of which you may never even meet face to face. That being said, use your organizational skills to plan for quiet times. Look for trends in your schedule. Are you typically quiet during certain seasons, days of the week or times during the month? If you do realize work is lacking consistently during certain times, use the time to search for something to fill that void. While it may not be easy to find, it’s out there.


Stick to your Routine:

Even if you don’t have much on the docket, follow your normal work from home routine. Wake up when you normally would, get dressed, and eat your breakfast. Don’t let yourself fall into bad habits just because you find yourself with more free time than usual. If you normally work out during your lunch hour, keep up the good work when you don’t actually have much work. And if you don’t already work out, now is a great time to start, because it will help you with your productivity.


Use Your Time Wisely:

Schedule appointments that you might not have time for otherwise. Just like you would in an office setting, make your doctor’s appointments, get your taxes done, or any other variety of mundane tasks during the time when you don’t have much going on. That way you will still feel accomplished for doing something that needs to be done, even if it isn’t related directly to work.


Reorganize:

Schedule appointments that you might not have time for otherwise. Just like you would in an office setting, make your doctor’s appointments, get your taxes done, or any other variety of mundane tasks during the time when you don’t have much going on. That way you will still feel accomplished for doing something that needs to be done, even if it isn’t related directly to work.


Update your Office Space:

Freelancers who are veterans at the job know just how important your office space is to staying motivated. But for many people new to the game, a desk set up in an empty corner of their bedroom serves as their office. If you find yourself in a makeshift office, use this time to create a better workspace that will help you to stay focused and motivated when you have new projects to complete. A dedicated office space, with all the resources you typically need during a regular workday at your fingertips will do wonders for your motivation. It’s even better when this space is free of distractions that can get you off task when the mood strikes. Consider a quiet space allowing for natural light, and liven it up with some plants.


Broaden your Horizons:

If you have absolutely no projects, and you aren’t prepared financially for such downtime, you may have to accept projects that you wouldn’t normally. They may pay less than what you’re used to, require a little more work or any variety of things, but if you have nothing going on, and have the time to complete an undesirable task, it may open doors for future projects, or serve as a resume builder. When you have no work, any work can sometimes be better than no work, even if it isn’t what you’d normally do.


Work for Yourself:

When you don’t have any new projects coming in, fine tune your skills by working on something that interests you. You probably became a freelancer to do something you love, so take the time to actually do it for yourself rather than for someone else. Write the next great American novel, paint the masterpiece you’ve always wanted, or program that app you’ve always wanted to create but never quite had the time for.


When All Else Fails, Take a Vacation:

This may be the opposite of staying motivated, but because many freelancers don’t have traditional workplaces where they are allocated a set amount of vacation time, vacations sometimes get overlooked. As a freelancer, it can be hard to leave the office behind because you can bring your office to wherever you are located. This means while you may have the luxuries of working from your home, you also never fully have a mental break. If you know you have a quiet period coming up, set aside some funds and take a legitimate vacation, with an out of office reply on your email.

With a few ideas under your belt, the task of staying busy will actually be the task of staying productive, and it will help to improve your time management when things are swinging again. Remember why you became a freelancer, and remember this time when you’re working on seven different projects for seven different clients.



_________
Share this:


Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Google Email