My grandmother’s sick.
The computer lost all my work.
Your email never came through.
Heard these excuses before? Offered them yourself? The root cause is the same: overwork. Over my 16 years of freelancing, I have honed some tricks to keep burnout at bay. When you run out of grandmas, you may want to try these tips too.
3. Find an active passion away from the keyboard. It has to be something fun, not just “exercise” for the sake of it. That would just feel like more work. If you possess innate cheapness, you can harness this for additional motivation: pay for a class that you will be determined to get your money’s worth out of.
You are invited to try one of my hobbies: hiking, kayaking, skiing, Ultimate Frisbee, sailing, belly dancing, fire fighting, yoga, ice climbing, swimming, biking, running. Even a painting or photography habit will help get you away from the desk. Heck, even walking the aisles of a favourite supply shop helps. You know, because you’ll be moving, vertical, and maybe even see another human. That human may even be like-minded.
4. Meet colleagues IRL. Radical, but effective. Sure, you Facebook, Skype, and IM colleagues and clients all day. This actually can help ease feelings of isolation quite well. Just try getting out for a coffee break with a like-minded person. Try just one. I found it habit-forming. Now I do it once a week.
The key is to keep some balance in your life. Take a break! I’d invite you to share your own tips in the comments, but perhaps you should just meet me at the park.
Disclaimer — In all seriousness, keeping balance in your life will help alleviate the all-too-common, and not-at-all-laughable, freelance-itis symptoms such as repetitive strain injury (RSIs such as tendonitis), headache, depression, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, lethargy, eye strain, neck and shoulder pain, arm and hand numbness, and obesity.