Despite what you think about doing freelance jobs being a profession where you call all the shots, you would often find yourself failing to take breaks between each incoming project because money is waiting to be made.
Eventually, you start falling sick often, feel moody or reluctant to get out of bed (does this remind you of the same feeling you had in your 9-to-5, which made you choose the freelancing path?).
This may have happened because you didn’t take the breaks you needed to recharge your body, mind, and soul. Hold half a glass of water on an outstretched arm long enough, and even that glass of water may feel like it weighs a ton.
Taking breaks goes a long way to making you a better freelancer. It gives you more emotional stability, keeps your health in check, and ensures that you can reload your creativity bar to produce better and more engaging results.
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Not sure if you are ready to take a break from your hectic freelancing job? Here are a few signs.
1. When you run out of creative juices
Being creative is the hallmark of a freelancer. Without having to deal with the inhibitions or cultures of a company that you have to adhere to without question, you can let your creative designs soar through clients who know how to appreciate your work.
However, it isn’t easy to always stay creative. Part of the formula to help you recharge your creativity is to get enough rest. Working for long hours without a break may lead to a dry spell, where your mind stops being creative. You will find that it is difficult to trace even the most common creative element in yourself then.
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The bottom of the barrel
There are times when you simply can’t find the next best topic to write upon or a new design idea that nails the client’s requirements. Your mind draws a complete blank, or you feel that whatever that does get sketched, or written, belongs in the wastebasket.
It’s a scary situation to be in. Am I losing my personal touch? Why aren’t I churning out enough good ideas? Does this mark the end of my career? Take a break and see if you feel the same way.
2. When you’re not in the right frame of mind
Everybody has problems, even freelancers. You may have had an argument with your spouse, or got into a fight with your kids, your neighbor, or your colleague, or perhaps you failed to deliver one of your client’s requirements on time.
These are times when you are emotionally unstable, and you will not be able to do anything productive. This is when you should take a break to calm your nerves.
It’s me, not you.
Speaking of clients, sometimes you will meet clients who are so difficult to deal with that you feel like you want just to drop the whole thing and go back to waiting on a monthly paycheck. Hold your horses; that’s just frustration talking.
Look back at your priorities and determine if you are at fault or if your client was out of line before going back to work. Get your confidence back in order to make the rest of the journey ahead.
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3. When you are tired
Many freelancers continue to work, even though, their bodies can take no more. If you are one of them, then you will probably produce substandard work very soon. Take a break when you are not rushing for a deadline so that when you are rushing for one, you won’t fall sick!
There is also a different kind of ‘tired’, the one that refuses to let you out of bed in the morning because it dreads the ton of paperwork on your desk. You feel the numbness of ‘work’ and you simply don’t feel like doing it anymore.
When you find yourself saying out loud, ‘Nobody appreciates my work’, ‘Why does everyone want something from me all the time?’, and ‘I have no life’, then you seriously need to take a break – a long one.
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3. When you should celebrate & be part of life
It’s so easy to devote all of your available time to working and earning money, so much so that we usually miss out on the simple things in life. What we should do is take a break and celebrate the birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, reunions, and festivities that are cause for merriment.
Besides, why would you want to be cooped up with work when everyone is counting down to the New Year?
Work with peace of mind
There is also a practical side to this: sometimes, due to your involvement with some of these functions, you have to split yourself two-, sometimes three-ways to cover all grounds.
Instead of being busy with the conceptualization stage, you are busy planning a home renovation, arranging a wedding or organizing a family reunion. Who can work in these kinds of conditions?
You’d be kidding yourself if you think you can balance work and your personal life well under these situations. So just take a break from work and get back to it when you are done playing the party planner.
4. When you feel like calling it quits
Perhaps an extension of ‘When You Are Tired’, when you feel like calling it quits, is a clear call for help. You know when you have reached the brink probably because it’s umpteenth time you’ve said, ‘That’s it! I can’t stand this anymore. I quit!’
Indulge in the better things in life
This is when you should take a vacation; a non-wireless, non-reachable one where you can hide away from the world. Spend it with family or your partner, or just spend it with people who like you and don’t need you to finish something urgent for them.
Splurge to reward yourself, and to remind yourself of the real reason you went into freelancing: for the independence, for the decision-making privilege, the flexibility, and for the freedom to take a break like this anytime you want!
When you come back, think if you are willing to give all of that up. Chances are, the reset is enough to ensure that once you become a freelancer, you never go back. For added inspiration, check out these entrepreneurs who made it big from their roots as a freelancers.