Helping Creative People Create

Easy Renewal Tips For the Freelancer

by glen

freelancerInterestingly, many people don’t really give enough time to refreshing themselves. I mean, when was the last time you had that sigh of relief/relaxation? It doesn’t come often. Especially while we work. Work can add tons of stresses and burdens that keep us from, well… working. It’s a vicious cycle. While the freelancer may have a lot of added responsibility financially (living paycheck to paycheck, etc.), we also have a lot more freedoms when it comes to our work schedule.

So here are some actions that can renew our mind while we work at home. You’ll start to have more focus, more stamina, and you’ll be cheerier to boot.

Take a shower– There’s nothing a hot shower won’t fix. The combination of soothing warm water and the solitary time gives your mind a chance to really unwind and process whatever you’re working on. Instant renewal, people. Also, it washes off the stank that builds up from not having to shower everyday. Your family members will thank you.

Clean your work area– Not only will this relax you, you’ll also be more at ease without the clutter. Cleaning is more of a mental exercise than most people realize. It’s one of those things that allows your mind to focus less on your surroundings and more on your task at hand. Also, the change of pace between white-collar work and cleaning will invigorate you.

Brush your teeth– This one may just work for me, but I’ve found it really helps. (I might add, this is on top of your normal brushing routine.) The physical act of cleaning something, even if it is your teeth, will give you a sense of clean and refinement. Perfect for a quick solution to the doldrums.

Take a brisk walk– Never underestimate the effects of physical activity on renewing your mind. The time spent doing an activity that doesn’t really require brain processing (like walking) gives you time to really process things.

Create a meal from scratch– Turns out mom was right when she said “What you really need is a home-cooked meal”. Cooking a meal, as opposed to popping a Hot Pocket into the microwave, is quite a rewarding feeling. Using your two hands to create a meal makes you really appreciate your meal, and you’ll savor it more than you would a bowl of mac ‘n cheese.

renewal tips freelancer Situps/pushups (small exercise)– These exercises are great because you can do them right next to your work area, without having to set anything up. You’ll be looking like Ahhnold in no time ;)

Listen to some good music– Music *always* seems to lift my spirits, especially when I feel like I’m in a work rut. Turning on some hot beats is a surefire way to make any work environment lighter. While I realize that “good music” is a highly subjective thing, services like Last.fm and Pandora can help if you’re looking for some new tunes.

As you can see, most of these activities are physical, and for good reason. Physical activities make a great switch from the typical, sedentary activities associated with the modern freelancer’s normal routines.

Photo by HappyBubbles.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff Pickett January 15, 2008 at 8:11 am

Great post, but I have to add that this is not just for freelancers. This applies to many of us creative professionals who simply need exterior action or motivation to break ourselves from a temporary trap we have put ourselves into.

Incidentally, I totally agree with the toothbrushing idea. Whether it’s because you’re taking a break, you’re staring at yourself in the mirror and reflecting or the fresh mind that comes from the fresher breath this idea simply works.

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Adam Kamerer - JoyChaser.com January 15, 2008 at 12:12 pm

Excellent post. I’ve done nearly all of these, though I’ve found that the last tip doesn’t do much for me, mostly because I’m always listening to music. I’ve actually found that in my case, the opposite works better: when I get stuck, I shut off the music and just listen to the silence for a bit.

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Lawrence Cheok | A Long Long Road January 15, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Hi Glen, this is very true. I work in the day and write for my blog in the evenings. So a lot of my time is spent in front of the computer.

Esp for blogging, sometimes, we just get into a mental block and nothing seems to flow.

I find taking a brisk walk really helpful. Just walk, don’t think. The mind sort of just recharges itself, and sometimes my best ideas pops up during these walks.

Thanks for these tips, Glen!

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Sham @ Enhance Life January 16, 2008 at 4:15 am

Additionally, I like to swim. Also, play the piano. :-)

Great tips.

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glen January 16, 2008 at 11:27 am

@ Jeff: Great point. Maybe reflection is the key to success of brushing teeth ;)

@ Adam: I agree… sometimes it’s just a change in environment that really helps.

Great thoughts, guys. Keep ’em coming!

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saving advice January 19, 2008 at 2:33 am

Learning to take breaks to refresh yourself is one of the best habits that you can get into. So many people get into the habit of thinking that it’s the number of hours you are on the computer that counts when it really is they way you use your time on the computer. Breaks make you more productive meaning you get more done (and feel better about doing it). Learn what refreshes you most and get in the habit of doing it to keep your performance up.

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Pinny Cohen January 24, 2008 at 1:57 pm

It’s funny you mention the exercise part. I have found a great way to delay “email anxiety” is to pump out a few push-ups or sit-ups while you wait. It’s not only great for avoiding sedentary influenced diseases, but also keeps your energy level running high all day.

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Rico January 27, 2008 at 2:27 am

Oh yeah, I can definitely attest to the benefits of push-ups and sit-ups. I haven’t done them for quite some time now, and I have a round belly and flabby arms to show for it!

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