I've been in a rather serious mood the past few days and it's begun taking a toll on me creatively. I decided to take a break, make myself some of my favorite salsa and catch up on some of my favorite shows. I just needed to put everything down for a while.
If you feel you can't afford to do this as a freelancer, I offer the following as food for thought:
ALL WORK AND NO PLAY
We love to be serious, to show our skills to our clients and land accounts that can pay the bills. But that is only one story that makes up us as multi-faceted people. And sometimes we need to remember that it's ok to stop being so serious and switch gears. For great perspective on the dangers of the single story, I invite you to check out Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and her reacent TED talk about the subject. Makes you think!
ISN'T THAT UNPROFESSIONAL?
Nobody honestly expects you, the freelancer, to be writing heavy articles 24/7. Nobody will begrudge you for taking a night or a weekend off or setting daily limits as to your work time and your play time. It helps boost your output overall and can only help you function at your highest for your clients!
I FEEL GUILTY FOR NOT WORKING
It can happen; you purposefully turn off the computer and then sit on the edge of the bed, trying to pick out a book to read. All the while, you look over at your cell, wondering if there are some tweets you should be answering, a draft you could go over once more or some LinkedIn discussion boards you could be checking. It's natural for us to have a hard time turning our mind off when it comes to multi-tasking these days. But don't feel guilty! Allow yourself to unplug. You deserve it.
DON'T HIDE IT
Whatever your favorite way to have fun, don't deny yourself. Even better, share it with your audience. Whether through your social media, blog, website, newsletter...invite clients and fans to experience how you unwind. It helps develop that bond with readers and show that you're just like the rest of us. I've added a Jimmy Fallon channel to my blog page if for no other reason than to remind me to watch it and catch some laughs. His #hashtag segments crack me up!
PRIORITIZE & CATEGORIZE
Make time daily for 'you time' away from being a freelancer. Don't wait until you feel totally burned out. Mark off 30 minutes or an hour to get out and walk, exercise, shop - something! And when you make that 'fun' blog entry, categorize it in your blog so that visitors can easily pick what they need to read from you first. Those days when you feel writer's block crushing you, taking 'you time' can be the thing that brings you that new POV, that new answer.
WHAT AM I MISSING?
So how do you make time for fun? How do you structure your day so that your freelance work doesn't overshadow everything else? What is the story about your 'fun' side that clients may not know? I, myself, love taking pictures of spiders and bugs. I hope to bring my work to either a photography platform late this year or share it with you guys in a fun ebook, just for kicks. Silly? Maybe. But it appeals to the inner tomboy who never got tired of playing outside and discovering new insects.
I'd love to hear about your fun side - comment below!