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How To Make Freelancing More Fun

Updated on January 26, 2011

What to do when freelancing loses its lustre

Sometimes every freelancer gets fed up of the four walls of their office, so here are my top tips on how to make freelancing more fun. 

Freelance work from home has been my choice of employment for three years now. It's been an interesting ride along the way - many steep learning curves, many mistakes, many challenges, many opportunities. There's always something new to learn. 

This month, I've been learning about how to keep myself engaged in my freelance work. I'm the kind of person who thrives on novelty, so when it's the same old view out the window, the same old desk, the same old mug of tea, day after day, I start getting a little... er... twitchy. I find myself not working - instead staring into space amidst thoughts of throwing in the freelance work towel and running away to join a circus in Rio, retraining as a dog handler for Hollywood movies, cycling to Mozambique...

Freelance procrastinator

I'm fully aware that these fantasies are a very pleasurable form of procrastination. Trouble is,

  • these fantasies stop me concentrating on my freelance work, so the work takes longer
  • the work takes longer, so I have less time to spend on more fun projects
  • I have less time to spend on more fun projects, so I end up resenting the freelance work and spending even longer dreaming of escape.

The pro-active freelance worker

Being a little more self-aware than once upon a time, I've decided to tackle the problem of my freelance work procrastination head on - by making the process of working much more fun. Here's how:

  1. Location
  2. Time challenges
  3. Variety

1. Location

I'm writing this hub from my friend Maggie's house. She also freelances from home and had been suffering the same freelance worker malaise at the same old, same old. Her bugbear was procrastination through odd jobs around the house - "oh, I'll write that article after I do the washing up", "that broken shelf is really starting to annoy me" or (my favourite) "I wonder what my desk would look like over there".

The two of us have arranged a special freelancer house swap for the day. We met at a location equidistant between our houses this morning, handing each other envelopes containing house keys and instructions. It felt exciting - reminded me of playing at being spies when I was little. So, I find myself set up at her very lovely desk with its magnificent view across Brighton, tucking into some shortbread biscuits that she left for me and being remarkably productive.

Why not contact a freelancer friend and arrange a house swap? I plan to get a group of us together here in Brighton, so I could potentially spend a day or two a week enjoying a different desk and view without spending cash on a co-working space or sitting in S***bucks hyper on caffeine and beige.

2. Time challenges

When I've got a freelance article that I just don't want to write, rather than put it off until it becomes an urgent issue - with all the attendant stress that entails - I put it first on my to-do list. Yuck. But, I also set myself a time challenge.

For example, after this hub I have to write nine short summaries of my freelance articles for newsletter teaser copy. I do not want to do this. I'm actually procrastinating by writing this hub.

  • First I'll set myself a quick and dirty time challenge - get a first draft done in 25 minutes for the prize of ten minutes looking through one of Maggie's photography books.
  • Second, I'll set myself a finishing time challenge - edit and polish in 25 minutes, for the prize of ten minutes on Facebook.

Your time challenges and prizes will change depending on what you have to do and what you like to do. Remember to always break the task down into small chunks and to award yourself a prize whether you achieve your goal or not, provided you spent the time actually working.

I don't use food as a reward, as I think it creates very unhealthy eating habits. I also never punish myself if I don't do the work, as the stress of not doing the work is punishment enough.

3. Variety

Signing up for a hubpages account has given me new impetus in my freelance work. I doubt I'll make more than a few pennies from affiliate links, but the ability to write about any topic I so desire is wonderful. Variety is the spice of life.

I believe hubpages to be a really valuable tool to exercise and strengthen my freelance abilities.

  • Identifying new markets for my freelance work
  • Online portfolio of freelance articles
  • SEO training
  • Developing marketing and promotional skills
  • Direct feedback from other hubbers
  • Creative control
  • Increased confidence
  • Increased speed and fluidity when writing.

Even if I don't make a brass penny I'll have absorbed a tonne of information to help me progress in my freelance activities.

It would be great to hear from other freelance hubbers - how do you keep freelancing fun? 


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