How Do I Recognize and Avoid the Pitfalls of Overworking As a Freelancer?

Many people dream of working as a freelancer due to the perks that come along with the job.

You get to set your hours, select clients based on pay, and you likely get to work from the comfort of your own home.

How Do I Recognize and Avoid the Pitfalls of Overworking As a Freelancer?

Those are all great perks; you can have everything you dream of if you do it right.

However, if you work long hours every day and you don’t have a work-life balance, then you could experience mental exhaustion, physical pain, and unnecessary anxiety.

If you’re going to be successful as a freelancer, you must be prepared for the potential pitfalls of overworking so you can take the challenges head-on.

Here are some concerns to keep in mind and how to be smart during your workday.

1. Burnout And Mental Health

Constantly overworking as a freelancer brings many pitfalls, and some of the most severe side effects can impact your mental health.

Part of the issue is that working as a freelancer brings more risks than when you’re part of a larger organization.

You have to worry about your own finances and taxes, you’re isolated from other people for much of the time, and it’s easy to be worried about where you’ll find clients and work. It can be a tough hill to climb, but if you’re prepared, you can make it.

Part of the solution is identifying when you may be having issues with your mental health.

For instance, you might start to lose interest in things you used to love.

That could include your job or external things like spending time with family.

You may also begin lashing out at others and overreacting, which can also manifest itself as a mood disorder.

You might also start losing sleep or resort to unhealthy habits to cope, like overeating.

If you’re feeling stressed, find ways to reduce your anxiety so it doesn’t go too far.

Fear about money is a common concern, so create a budget that includes all your incoming funds and expenses and see where you stand. It may be necessary to cut back on unnecessary costs, like dinners out and streaming services.

That can be a solution for overworking as well. If you’re constantly working long hours to match your bills, the answer could be to have fewer bills.

You might also lash out and lose sleep because you’re worried about the bills. Again, sorting out your financial situation may put your mind at ease.

2. Working Too Long Is Bad For Your Physical Health

If you don’t have a plan for productivity and avoiding burnout, then your overworking may also result in implications for your physical health. That starts with a lack of sleep.

In addition to being mentally foggy the next day, if you don’t get enough sleep, you could also get sick easier.

When you sleep, your brain recharges, and your immune system repairs your body.

Failure to get at least seven hours of sleep could result in illness that could prevent you from working at all.

Studies about overworking have linked the phenomenon with an increased risk of stroke and heart issues, which is often tied to stress and lack of relaxation.

However, anxiety from working long hours can affect you in many unforeseen ways, including impacting your oral health.

For instance, when you’re always rushed without time for a proper break, you could be prone to consuming energy drinks and eating fast food just so you can get back to work.

The issue is that sugary and acidic food can lead to tooth decay and the consumption of unhealthy fats.

Failure to get up and drink water can lead to dehydration, which can cause dry mouth, which can, in turn, result in tooth decay.

Finding a healthy work-life balance is the solution to a lack of sleep and the idea of working so hard that you become physically ill. The best way to do that is to create and stick to a work schedule.

Set an alarm to remind you when it’s time to stop for the day.

Then, turn your computer off and leave the work phone behind so you’re not tempted to continue.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to work 9 to 5 anymore. Instead, work during your most productive hours, which could be early in the morning or the evening if you’re a night owl.

3. Get Up And Take Breaks

Another way that overworking can lead to physical issues is when you stay sitting for hours without a break.

This sedentary lifestyle can lead to weight gain since you’re not getting much exercise.

How you’re sitting can also have an impact because if you’re bent over or craning your neck, it can hurt your hips and spine.

In addition to sitting straight, it’s also essential that you take regular breaks so you can get up, stretch, and get some fresh air.

When you get away from your work, you get a chance to recharge and revitalize so you can come back and work with enthusiasm. Time outside can help increase your creativity and problem-solving because you’ll be able to step away from the task and clear your mind.

You can try several work-from-home tricks to avoid a sedentary lifestyle and recharge.

One is simple, and it’s to take a lunch break every day. Don’t feel ashamed that you’re taking time for yourself. It’s essential to avoid burnout and making errors. Another idea is to stay active even when you are working.

Consider the purchase of a standing desk so you can march in place and stretch your legs.

Standing up can also help you to remain energetic.

If that’s not possible, at least try to work out in the morning before work so you can stay fit and clear your mind for the day.

Take A Break From The Screen

When you take your breaks, make it a point to do something other than scroll through your cell phone.

The constant use of technology can result in digital burnout, which is the mental and physical exhaustion that can take hold when you’re constantly plugged into work.

The longer you’re staring at that screen, the harder you may find it to focus.

That’s why it’s important to get out and smell the roses and disconnect from tech when you can.


Working as a freelancer can be thrilling, but it’s important to not take the job so far that you lose sight of your life outside of work.

Recognize the signs that you’re overworking and make the proper corrections, and you’ll be happier while doing what you love.

Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he's learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work.

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