Five top tips for flagging freelancers

Are you flagging? Click image for source.

Are you flagging? Click image for source.

Do you flag? I do sometimes. Here are some suggested fixes…

Working freelance, you get to work from home. It’s nice. No commutes. No annoying people. Peace. Control.

I work in an annexe – a fully functional, separate building from my house, complete with shower, toilet and storage space – so on a good day I can spend all day there, without ‘going home’. Even when I worked in a study within a house I was largely able to confine myself to one half of the house and keep out of the lounge. It’s important. You need that imaginary line to separate work from domesticity.

But there can come times when your willpower flags. I’m finding this happens after lunchtime particularly. You know how you feel a bit tired around 2:30pm, and wish you could have a nap? Well the same thing happens to me, at home. You wish you could have a little lie down? Well imagine how much more tempting that sounds when your nice, soft bed is a staircase away!

So here are my tips for rallying yourself when you can’t go and annoy other people at work instead:

  • Change your work environment. I work on a PC but I also have a laptop, so I just transfer work to that and carry on somewhere else. This can be the house or, rarely given this year’s summer, the garden. It’s amazing the difference it makes – you just perk up and get on with it. There are various ways you can do this. Copy the work to a USB stick and physically transfer it. Mail it to yourself as an attachment on GMail or some such thing then download it to the laptop. Or, work in a cloud environment such as Google Docs and carry on as if nothing happened.
  • Go for a walk. Again, the change is astonishing. Even just round the corner or, if you’re lucky like me and live in the country, out into the fields. Sometimes it might seem like a bind to get the boots on and get out, but when you do, within a minute or so you feel great. Again, you get back, you feel up for it.
  • Work on something else instead. Copywriting is especially hard when you reach a block – not necessarily a writer’s block, but you can sometimes just feel so into something that you can’t get out of it. So get out of it. If you have other work, and you’re not pressed for deadlines, it can free you up and you feel better for it. If, like me, you’re enamoured of anything digital, give that a go because it uses the flipside of your brain. I find Yahoo Pipes perfect for that. But don’t get too involved in it because, as King Lear himself said, that way madness lies.
  • Give up. This is where being a freelancer really means free. If it’s just not happening, clock off. Work earlier the next day, or later that day, or both. Practice that golf swing instead. Fix up the house (my less preferred option). Or just stare out of the window absent-mindedly stroking the cat (my preferred option).
  • Longer term fixes could include hiring a hotdesk, so you’re working in people’s company and can annoy them instead of getting on with stuff. The Hot Office has some attractive locations and fees, so check them out. You could also consider popping down to your local coffee house and make use of their wifi (comes under the ‘change your work location’ I guess), or, if you can, maybe think about working on-site for a client if there’s a full day or two of work from them.

You can probably add to that: “write a blog post about it”, which is what I just did. But there are mitigating circumstances: I’m off to the Jackenhacks (née Flackenhacks) in about 30 minutes so I’m getting excited about it. I may post about it tomorrow. With pictures. And video. So watch it.

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2 thoughts on “Five top tips for flagging freelancers

  1. Actually, having lived in Spain for a while, I can confirm that the siesta is pretty much a myth! At least now, perhaps they used to do it.

    I’ve also tried the afternoon nap but I just feel groggy afterwards. Having said which, I’ve often thought it would be a good idea for companies to provide a bed or two in a dark room for people to have a quick lie down. Hopelessly naive I know – who’s going to pay for the extra space simply to let their staff sleep? – but I do wonder whether you’d get more from someone who’d managed to catch up on a bad night’s sleep than someone idly surfing the web cos they’re too tired to think!

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