However much you enjoy being freelance, there may well come a point when you (and your work) come to a grinding halt. You’re tired, downhearted, and the old spark has just gone.
You may be wondering whether your work lull is happening because you’ve lost your appetite for it, or whether you’re feeling demotivated because the work doesn’t seem to be there. In fact, the two are really closely connected.
In this post, we’ll look at six ways to re-energize yourself and your passion for work, and hopefully find some new projects in the process. Let’s go!
1. Recapture Your Motivation
Your motivation is the key to your creativity and productivity (and in no small measure to your happiness) – so the first thing is work out why you’re so demotivated.
There are various questions you need to ask yourself, and answer honestly. Firstly, is there something you’re afraid of that’s causing you to hesitate? If so, getting it out into the open is important. Once identified, you can analyze the issue and work out steps to resolve it. You may even realize that it’s not such a big problem after all.
Have you lost track of your goals, or have they changed? Maybe you feel that you’re heading in the wrong direction? Again, you need to think back to your original plans, work out where you’ve diverged from them, and either look to get back on track or re-evaluate what you’re doing entirely.
Maybe loneliness is at the heart of your problem. It’s part and parcel of freelance life, but not everyone deals with it well. If you think this could be part of the issue, take some time out to spend with someone you like being with, and consider how you can build networking into your work.
Finally, you may not be challenging yourself sufficiently. Freelancers thrive on challenges, and if you’ve drifted into a boring rut, you need to dig yourself out. The next point looks at some good ways to do this.
2. Search For the Fun Stuff
When you started freelancing, you probably tackled anything and anything with gusto because you were so determined to make a go of your new status. However, if you’ve been freelance for some time, you may feel you’ve seen it all before.
If that’s the case, why not break out of the mold? Write a list of the things you most enjoy doing outside work, and think about whether it’s possible to incorporate any of these into your work. For instance, if you’re a writer with a passion for pets, you could try submitting pitches to a magazine such as Modern Dog or The Bark.
Next, evaluate your client list – are there potential clients in the sector you’re working in that you’d really like to work with? Have a look at some of their websites and see if you can find About pages that intrigue you, then submit a great pitch (using Bidsketch of course!).
If you like the idea of a complete change of direction, Small Business Trends has a useful article on the most fun freelance jobs out there (want to be a chocolatier, anyone?)
3. Get the Best From Your Schedule
You’re a freelancer, and one of the best things about the lifestyle is that your schedule is really flexible. If you’re feeling flat, now’s the time to leverage that benefit to the max.
Firstly, you need to work out the issues you have with your current schedule – have you created too rigid of a timetable for yourself, or are you pushing yourself too hard?
Try to completely change things around for a few weeks. Take an afternoon off to pursue an activity or hobby you enjoy, and work in the early morning or evening instead. Analyze your current workload, and if you’re taking on too much, plan to cut down. Figure out which clients are creating the most workload and least value, and consider letting them go.
4. Set Yourself Rewards
If you really can’t get out of the routine you’re in, you’ll need to find some other way to reward yourself for your efforts. Being kind to yourself is a potentially inexpensive way to regain your drive.
Rewards don’t have to be food, either. Yes, chocolate is a wonderful thing, but piling on the pounds won’t help get your spark back. Simple things such as taking a (guilt-free) nap, giving yourself a manicure or facial, or setting aside time to listen to your favorite music when you’ve finished a long, difficult project can make a real difference.
Why not resolve to take time out at the weekend for yourself? Go and do something you really enjoy that you haven’t done for ages, or indulge in a day at a spa. Visit an art gallery or museum, or go to a ball game. Chill out, forget work completely, and you should find that you revisit it with new enthusiasm.
5. Do Mental Exercises
Physical exercise is a great way to get your basic energy back, but don’t forget that mental exercises such as visualization can be just as helpful.
This can be combined with the previous step of identifying your goals. You can help yourself along the way by picturing yourself achieving them, and how happy you’ll be as a result. Visualization is the process of creating that mental image and visiting it regularly.
Get that image in your head with as much detail as possible, concentrating on the actions you’ll need to take to reach your goal, actually getting there, and how that will feel. This isn’t like the ‘imagine yourself rich’ ideas that float around, there’s evidence it really works – and it could be the spark that reignites your appetite.
6. Check Your Health
If you’ve tried all of the above and nothing seems to be working, it’s possible you may have an underlying health issue that’s bringing you down. This isn’t a possibility you can ignore – if you really can’t bring your energy and enthusiasm levels up, get yourself checked out.
Freelancers sometimes struggle with the concept of ‘me time’ – particularly if they don’t see any benefit in it – but looking after yourself is one of your biggest responsibilities. If you’re not fit, you’re not working – and a lack of work spells trouble.
Asking for medical help is no different to getting your laptop serviced, and it should take priority – after all, you are your own most indispensable tool, and you shouldn’t ever be neglected!
Losing your appetite for work can send you into a spiral of despair. If you’re a freelancer, it’s important that you regain the spark as quickly as you can, otherwise your income could suffer.
In this post, we presented six solutions for banishing your lull and resharpening your appetite for work. Let’s recap:
- Recapture your motivation.
- Search for fun work aspects.
- Get the best from your flexible schedule.
- Set yourself rewards.
- Visualize yourself reaching your goals.
- If all else fails, get a health check.
Have you found any great ways to motivate yourself? Let us know in the comments section below!
Photo credit: Alexas_Fotos.