Is your autoimmune illness the biggest barrier in your freelance business?
Do you feel it’s a malicious bully that strangles your efforts to have a good day at work?
Chronic pain, fatigue and a complex combo of symptoms have compelled you to give up your full time work.
Why does it have to attack so viciously now that it is impossible to return to the traditional workplace?
Chronic pain, fatigue and a complex combo of symptoms have compelled you to give up your full time work.
Freelancing is the ideal way to earn a living when you have a serious health condition.
This is exactly what happened to me.
My autoimmune illness took its toll and I found it impossible to continue my job as a teacher. So I resigned.
I started a personal blog and realize now that it was the best thing I could ever have done.
I discovered that I could write well and enjoyed the blogging process thoroughly.
Then a family crisis made me turn to freelancing to boost my income.
But the autoimmune bully suffocated me frequently forcing me to take lots of time away from my blog and freelancing.
I decided to quit being the victim and to find a way to be productive – and have a good day at work – despite my health condition.
These are the steps I took to be a more productive freelancer and have a good day at work.
I still struggle but for the most part I have an established work routine.
7 Tips to Have a Good Day at Work (And Maximize Productivity)
Create a productivity toolkit to help you have a good day at work in your freelance business.
This will help you manage when you are forced to take a time out to cope with your autoimmune illness.
1. A Positive Mindset
What can you do to defy the whip the fiend wields over you?
Challenge this awful life sentence by building a positive mindset.
It is this that will allow you to have a successful freelancing.
Does your autoimmune disease infect you with the terrible twins of powerlessness and helplessness?
If you cave in, you can kiss your freelance writing business goodbye.
A study by the Association For Psychological Science found that
A positive mood has been found to enhance creative problem solving.
Positivity during a good work day helps:
- Encourages a Can Do spirit
- Promotes creativity and confidence
- Helps with focus and discipline
See, positivity compels you to get up and show up even when you’re too sick to do so and have a good day at work.
It forces you to network, cold pitch and seek clients when fear and overwhelm threaten.
It births a strong will to succeed and, of course, this is the ideal foundation for a great freelance writing business.
If you need help strengthening your positivity muscle, this post has a few practical tips to try.
2. Set Realistic Goals
Goal setting is especially important when you have an autoimmune disease.
Pain, medical appointments or fatigue may force you to take time out from your client work.
You may be wracked by overwhelm and feel as if you’re forever playing catch up.
But if your goals for your freelance business are realistic and you have systems in place to achieve them, you can be confident of getting back on track again in no time at all.
Goal setting involves a lot more than deciding that you want a 6 figure business.
If you’re new to this, this helpful post will give you all the do’s and don’ts about setting goals as a freelancer.
There are many benefits to setting goals to ensure you have a good day at work:
- Gives you focus
- Helps you gauge your progress
- Encourages you to stay motivated
- Beats procrastination
Motivate yourself to realize your goals by making a vision board of them.
Then turn them into wallpapers for your cellphone and computer.
You can easily do this using the vision board templates in Canva.com.
This will force you to look at your goals at least once a day. The result is that you’re likely to work harder to meet your goals.
So, setting achievable goals and taking daily action to meet them is sure to make your writing business a success.
3. Create a Work Schedule
As a freelancer, you know that ‘ time is money’.
If you want to meet your monthly income needs, broaden your client base and get recurring business, you need to manage your time well.
So setting up a work schedule and sticking to it is vital to the success of your freelance business.
Here are a few tips to create a your work day routine for a successful freelance career and ensure you have a good day at work:
Track Your Time
Use a time tracking app like Toggl to take an inventory of the time taken for all your personal and work activities.
Then take stock of the time taken for freelance tasks like pitching, research, writing outlines, writing, editing and formatting copy.
After a week of diligent time tracking, you will easily identify:
- Your most productive times of the day
- The time each freelance writing task takes
- Time spent on admin tasks
- How to improve your workflow
- How to set your rates – hourly or per project
- Time suck activities to eliminate
This will allow you to fine tune your work habits so that you work smarter in your work day, better and faster.
Time Blocking with Google Calendar
Here’s a simple definition of time blocking.
Time blocking is a time management strategy where you schedule out every part—and we mean every part—of your day. With time blocking, you’re effectively breaking the work week into bite-sized time slots where you check your email, work on projects, take a break, or even exercise. (Source)
Start a Google calendar and block off all your daily tasks.
What to Do for Personal Well-being:
- Grocery shopping,cooking,cleaning and laundry
- Self care and medical appointments
- Social and family commitments
- Snacks and meals
- Work outs
What to do For a Good Day at Work:
- Cold pitching for new clients
- Writing pitches and cover letters
- Marketing your services on social media
- Writing content for clients
- Client meetings
This video gives you a detailed tutorial on time blocking with Google calendar.
The result is a realistic picture of the number of hours you can spend on your biz.
This helps you organize your workload so that you can balance client work and your health.
Time blocking allows you to structure your work tasks per day. Like so:
Monday Topic and keyword research
Tuesday Outlines and research
Friday Social media promotion
A daily work routine is a guaranteed way to overcome procrastination and overwhelm. It also is the foundation for a good day at work.
4. Become an Organization Ninja
As the CEO of your freelance business, you have to become super efficient fast.
So here are a few ideas to help you be more organized:
- Use a Productivity Planner for Freelance Writers
- Start using a Task Management System like Trello, Evernote or Asana.
- Start a simple Google Sheet to track everything about your business. This post shows you how to set up your Google sheet and create workflows in Asana.
- Invest in contracts for your freelance writing jobs.
- A daily to do list of doable items is a must.
5. Become a Content warrior
Much of your time as a freelancer is spent writing content for clients.
So, you need to have systems in place to help you work both effectively and efficiently.
These systems will help you have a good day at work.
Build Content Checklists
One of the easiest ways to be more productive is to use content checklists. When you tick off an item on a checklist, you get a sense of satisfaction.
This motivates you to focus on and complete the other tasks in the checklist. The result is an increase in productivity.
Get started by chunking the writing process into an easy to follow checklist.
This will reduce ‘ what and how to do it’ anxiety, help you meet your hourly rate and keep to client deadlines.
Here’s a checklist example to follow for a new client task.
* Your WHY
* Keyword research
* Write headings in an outline
* Bullet points under each heading
* Research links
* Send to client
Master this skill if you feel you have too much to do and too little time to do them well.
Batching is ‘ the act of grouping tasks together, so you do them all at once, instead of switching between tasks that take place in different programs or areas.’ (Source)
There are 3 main pros to content batching:
- Reduces the ‘set-up ‘ mindset before you start writing
- Eliminates loss of time due to task switching
- Encourages the ‘ flow state’ quicker (Source).
Task batching helps you to get more done in less time by prompting a laser focus mindset.
It allows you to craft a daily routine where there is no room for procrastination. You have a clear schedule of what to do and the time slot to do it.
Batching can be used for other aspects of your freelance business like invoicing clients, cold pitching and marketing your services.
The Pomodoro Technique
A great time management tool is the Pomodoro Technique.
You need to break your workflow into 25 minute time slots known as a pomodoro. After each one, take a short 5 minute break away from your desk and do an unrelated activity like take a walk or have a snack.
After 4 pomodoros, take a longer break of 20 to 30 minutes.
For this method to work well, ensure that you have a content checklist ready. So during each pomodoro, you can complete a step of your writing process.
The Pomodoro Technique:
- Increases productivity
- Encourages a strong work ethic
Using this time management system will result in you working faster. This will impact on the number of clients you can take and ultimately boost your income.
Voice Typing in Google Docs
Want to get your articles done super fast? Try Voice Typing in Google Docs.
If your health condition makes it hard for you to type for long periods of time, voice typing is the answer you need.
You simply talk your article out. Here’s a video that tells you how to voice type.
The effect is a conversational style of writing that is sure to lure more readers.
Then you edit your piece.
Believe me, voice typing will make you a content ninja in no time at all.
6. Work Space
One of the ways to nurture your health as a freelancer is to be creative with your work environment.
While a home office is great, work where it’s best for you to have a good work day.
This may be in bed using a lap desk, on the lounge sofa or at the kitchen table.
But do try to make your work area conducive to work.
Add a few motivational quotes, plants and picture frames.
If you do work at a desk, make sure it is the right height for you.This is important if you have joint health issues.
Also, set your computer up so that you are not too close to the screen to reduce eyestrain.
Keep your desk clear of clutter so that it encourages you to work.
7. Daily Self Care
Daily self care is crucial to having a good day with your freelance business and your autoimmune disease.
It imbues you with the warrior spirit to thrive as a freelancer in spite of your poor health.
These simple DIY self care rituals spark a Can Do mentality and after a self care time out you are likely to find your productivity zoom.
In the course of the day:
- Give yourself a short hand massage
- Take a walk in the garden
- Listen to relaxing music
- Drink a cup of herbal tea
Here are 3 targeted self care practices to try:
As a freelancer with health issues, you need to start your day off with a positive mindset. Journaling is one of the best ways to do this.
Infuse your daily journal entry with positivity by including:
- Your word of the year
- A motivational quote
- A few health affirmations
- A few money affirmations
Then simply pour out whatever’s on your mind.
At first, it will be a mish mash of stuff on a variety of issues. But, over time you can train yourself to be mindful with your journaling practice.
As a freelance writer, you can use it as a tool to plan your day, track your goals, develop an action plan to reach your goals, and celebrate your wins.
There are many benefits to keeping a journal:
- Reduces stress
- Strengthens your immune system
- Leads to introspection
- Helps to achieve goals
- Sparks creativity
Your journal can be the BFF you need.
Practice Mindful Eating
Have you ever been in an intense flow state with your writing that you forget to eat? You continue working until sheer exhaustion forces you to stop. But by then you may be too exhausted to muster up the energy to eat
Dictionary.com defines mindful eating as:
The practice of eating with the express purpose of savoring every flavor, aroma, and texture of food, as usually accomplished through aesthetic appreciation of the food and slow, contemplative ingestion
Learn to eat mindfully.
This Harvard Health article has some great mindful eating tips that you can easily adopt.
You should also start meal planning. Cook meals that are nutrient rich. Include lots of fresh veggies and fruit to bolster your immune system and lessen inflammation.
We are bombarded 24/7 by noise. Traffic, people chatter,machinery, music, construction, media all blast us barring us from silence.
A great coping tactic is to take time out everyday to just sit in silence.
According to PsychCentral, there are both health and creative benefits to silent sitting:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Boosts the immune system
- Decreases stress
- Encourages reflection
- Fosters creativity and self awareness
So, daily silent sitting can result in greater productivity.
Final Thoughts to Having a Good Work Day
You love the flexibility that freelancing gives you.
No more commute, petty office gossip and nit picky boss.
But, it’s really a one man business and hard work DIY-ing everything.
So you have to maximize your productivity to meet your income goals to make freelance writing a viable alternative to the traditional workplace with a fixed income.
How do you ensure you have a good work day with a health condition?