There are productive days and unproductive days. This is just a fact of life, but it is one that many freelancers find a difficult challenge. Sometimes productivity is affected by external factors. If your wi-fi connection crashes or you are forced to deal with a family crisis, the day might rush to an end without a single thing accomplished. External factors are not the only thing affecting productivity, though. Sometimes the forces pulling you down come from inside. The great thing about this is you have control over how you handle the situation.
If you are the type of person whose emotions affect your productivity, you are not alone. Most people have days when they feel unfocused, lethargic, unmotivated, or a delightful stew of all three. Unfortunately, when you are self-employed, it can be tough to “phone it in.” Your job is about more than just showing up for an hourly wage, so punching the clock is only profitable when work gets done.
So how do you deal with emotions and their affect on your productivity? The answer differs for everyone, but there are a few things you can do to ease the burden of your unproductive emotions.
Try taking a day off, if possible. Maybe your emotions are getting the best of you because you are burned out. Or there might be something in your life requiring more attention than work at the moment. Setting work aside for a day might help you more than plodding through distracted, accomplishing relatively little over the course of an entire day.
If a day off is not an option, do something to change your mood. Physical activity sometimes helps. So does music, sunlight, and even the way your work space smells. Open a window, put on your favorite CD, or burn a candle. These might seem too simple to make a difference, but they change your environment enough to boost your mood. Some people prefer to blast through a bad mood, pushing even harder on tough days. These subtle environment changes can make this bulldog approach easier.
Another option is to plan a reward at the end of a work session. If you are struggling to get through your afternoon because of your emotions, make dinner reservations or plan a relaxing evening without work. You still need to push through your remaining work hours, but looking forward to something in the near future helps you feel better.
Hopefully, your emotions are fleeting and your struggle lasts no more than a day or two. If the feeling drags on, you need to take serious action to change how you feel. However, if you are just having a rough day, be kind to yourself and accept that you cannot be a self-employed superhero every day.
If you are a freelancer in the path of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac and you are concerned about meeting deadlines, email me. I’m working with several freelancers who are available this week to help you meet your clients’ needs while you ride out the storm.