Another Coffee?

Bad Habits of a Freelance Copywriter

There are lots of great things about working for yourself… managing your own workload and priorities, choosing who you work with, making your own rules.

But – as anyone who’s worked on their own for a while will tell you – it’s very easy to fall into bad habits when no one else is watching.

Too much caffeine and snacking?

coffee?, caffeine, freelance lifeOn those days when I’m working at my desk for hours, it’s important to make sure I take breaks. However, too often I wander into the kitchen and my instinct is to make a mug of coffee or tea; and maybe raid the biscuit tin.

This is especially true as the weather has turned colder and I find myself holding the mug to warm my hands forestalling the temptation to boost the heating.

Instead: on a good day, I’ll make sure I drink plenty of water to keep me hydrated and stop some of the habitual cravings. There are also a number of options for warm drinks which don’t have caffeine, and healthy snacks are available too. For me it’s all about trying to make sure I get the balance right – this may be a theme of this post.

Too many distractions?

Sometimes the problem is, because I manage my own time, I can arrange to meet up with friends during work hours without having to justify myself. At other times, the problem is being surrounded by things to do at home – yes, the mountains of clothes to be washed. And then, of course, there is the permanent social media and internet connection.

With only myself to answer to, I can set my own priorities, and I can also ignore them.

Instead: I need to ensure I identify my tasks for the day and get them done. If appropriate those can include social meet-ups or jobs in the house, but these need to be prioritised and accounted for – they can’t be allowed to distract from other tasks.

Too much sitting?

It’s great to have enough work that you find yourself busy. That you have to be at your desk working.

But too much sitting, and not enough exercising, are ingredients in the recipe for an unhealthy lifestyle (other ingredients include too many snack foods and too much caffeine – you can see another theme). These are real risks to be aware of when it’s acceptable to spend a whole day behind a desk without leaving your home.

Instead: it’s important to plan in times to get out of the house, and make sure you get exercise in a way that suits you. Whether it’s a lunchtime walk, gym class, or an exercise session at home; there are lots of ways to make sure you get up off your backside. If you’re struggling to make sure you hit your targets, put them on the list with your other tasks.

Being too connected

A lot of my issues with being freelance come from how I manage my time, and how I prioritise. We have so many tools available to us now that we can be flexible, we can work anywhere.

This is great in so many ways. How many of us could be doing jobs as freelancers if we didn’t have wifi connections and smartphones? But, having a constant connection to your work-life can damage your home-life. I, for one, know there is a very real risk that if my phone buzzes it can pull me away from whatever/whoever I was just concentrating on.

A successful business is something to be proud of, but a separation – time away from it – is essential in allowing you to be a whole person with other interests. Besides, answering a client message at 9.30pm will possibly not give them – either – the best response you’re capable of, or a realistic view of when you are contactable.

Instead: it’s ok to put your phone down and walk away from it. It’s normally ok to leave messages unanswered as long as you provide what’s needed in a realistic time frame. Sometimes working at evenings, or weekends, is inevitable – for some people, it may be preferable – but make sure you’re allowing yourself time not to work.

I know how to avoid some of my bad habits, but that doesn’t mean I’m always successful.

Like so many things in life – I’m trying to find my balance.

What are your freelancing bad habits?

Feel free to share, we won’t judge!