First and foremost, HELLO, readers! After a whirlwind month, I’m finally back in the saddle and sharing with you all once again.
March always tends to be one of those crazy months for me. Mix a week of vacation, visitors from out of state, and a lot of client work into an already busy month, and you’re got a recipe for BUSY! Oh, right, and we’re in the heart of tax season! (If you’re playing catchup, check out my favorite tax tool here.)
In the midst of it all, my personal projects have been a little bit neglected.
I know I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed by all of the “chores” on my list, with not very much time available for the things I actually care about.
For many of you, feeling unhappy with work might mean being stuck in a 9 to 5 office job with no light at the end of the tunnel. Others might be frustrated by a lack of freelance contracts and wondering how to land more work. Perhaps you’re preparing for graduation next month and feeling exhausted by an endless job hunt, as you send out cover letter after cover letter.
I get you. I feel you. I understand completely!
If you’re unhappy about your current situation, use the tips below to take action. Trust me, these are tips I’m using myself!
Set Baby Goals
I was recently chatting with one of my sisters earlier today. She’s planning on running a race at the end of the month and wants to do a Whole30 before the summer arrives. We were chuckling together about being lazy during the cold winter, and how hard it feels to get back into the groove of things.
I completed a Whole30 in January, which was tricky: no sugars/sweeteners, no grains, no legumes, no dairy. Sometimes the no list felt a lot longer than the yes list! In my head, I simply told myself that each day was one day closer to the finish line.
No matter what you’re dreaming about professionally (or personally!), I guarantee you can take baby steps today that bring you one step closer.
Every donut you resist is a win. Every blog post you write is a mini victory. Every new client you land is one step closer to a thriving business. See how this works?
I really love a paper to-do list, because it feels immensely gratifying to strike off tasks as I complete them. I also use Trello to keep track of the various stuff on my list. It’s a free alternative to project management tools like Basecamp or Breeze. Yay free!
Make the Time to Work
You know that old proverb, “Rome wasn’t built in a day?” While that may be true, progress has to occur continuously, or you’ll never reach your end destination. It’s so easy to get lost in a daydream.
“I want to be self sufficient and earn a six-figure salary.”
“I want to launch a new business and make a million dollars.”
“I want to write the next great American novel.”
How many of these things have you said to yourself, only to find nothing changes?
If you’re anything like me, you probably find yourself dwelling on the destination too often, rather than planning the journey. While goals are an awesome motivator, you can’t allow your dreams to overshadow your game plan.
I wish I had 40 hours to devote to my own pet projects every week, but the reality simply is, I don’t at the moment. But surely I can carve out 15 minutes each day, right? Maybe achieving your dreams means giving up an hour of sleep. Maybe you need to sacrifice a few hours of weekend. Maybe you need to simply turn off Netflix and sit your butt in front of your computer.
Keep Yourself Accountable
Have you ever discovered how simple it is to stay on right course if you have no choice in the matter?
I remember being in college, trying to earn money freelancing in content mills, earning a few pennies per word. It was tiring, menial work, but I kept at it. Why? Because I had rent to pay. Writing tedious articles felt a heck of a lot better than getting evicted!
It’s easy to slip into your routine and accept it, even when you’re unhappy. How many hours are you going to keep slaving away in a dead end job, just because you don’t know what else to do? How many weeks are you going to let slip by before you launch a blog, pitch a client, or write the first word of your novel?
You’ve got to find a way to keep yourself accountable. Find a buddy and ask him/her to help you out. Give yourself rewards for accomplishing your goals. Share a big, crazy dream on social media or your blog—you might be surprised how motivating it can be to fear public failure!
Figure out a plan and stick to it or you’re going to wake up in 10 years stuck in the same place you are today. Ask yourself each evening, what did I do today to get closer to my end goal?
The simple reality is this: there are no easy answers. But don’t allow yourself to give up! On your mark…ready, set, go!
How do you keep yourself motivated? Any tips for freelance writers struggling to find the time to devote to personal projects?