I’ve always thought that one of the key ingredients to a successful freelancing career is to be as healthy as possible (for your situation). I’m not talking about living on a sugar free diet, HIT training and taking a million supplements daily. What I mean is that you are your business’s biggest asset, and running yourself into the ground doesn’t benefit anyone and certainly won’t benefit your business in the long run. Self-care is just as essential as doing your invoicing, and pitching for work.
I’ve been neglecting this recently as I adjust to being mum to a nearly five month old and running my business. It’s been tricky to balance the two, and at times its felt like as soon as I put Oscar down for his nap, I’m picking up my laptop and ‘panic working’ before he wakes again. Priorities change, and as I absolutely love being a mum I’m keen to create a balance that means I can spend quality time with him and still manage my workload
Physically I’ve slipped into a bit of a habit of skipping lunch, snacking instead. He’s actually a fairly easy, happy baby and sleeps through at night, but often only sleeps for 45 minutes during the day, so I try and use that for catching up on emails rather than making lunch. Not ideal.
Since November hit, I’ve been trying a few things to get back some balance and mojo for both my business and so I have the energy to really enjoy these precious first few months. Here are just a few of the things I’ve been doing to live a healthier freelance lifestyle.
Diet and exercise
- HelloFresh* kindly sent me one of their recipe boxes to try. I’ve definitely been in a rut recently with cooking and making dinners in particular, so I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed trying some new recipes. It also forced me to try some new vegetables and spices, which is never a bad thing. This is definitely something I’ll treat myself to every month or so to shake things up. I now use the HelloFresh app regularly for some meal inspiration and to shake things up a bit.
- Making lunches the night before. Whether it’s a sandwich or a few pasta dishes for the next couple of days, making it before really helps me stick to eating lunches and keeping my energy up. It means all I have to do is grab it from the fridge.
- Filling up a water bottle and taking it around with me during the day. I’m AWFUL at drinking water, and it’s often the cause of headaches for me. It’s a small, easy change to make but makes a huge difference.
- I’ve downloaded a dance app and the SWORTKIT to fit in some 7 minute work outs. Additionally, one of the things that I’ve learnt from Gretchin Rubin’s book Better Than Before is the importance of making it harder to do bad habits. So if I want a naughty snack or treat, I have to do ten squats first.
- Address my priorities. Quite often I panic and think I must work, but I’m not 100% sure what I’m supposed to be doing first. I’ve gone back to a habit of writing out my to do list, highlighting the top three things I have to do today, then doing the ‘frog’ first (if you’re not familiar with the Eat That Frog theory, there’s a great summary here)
- Getting up an hour earlier than Oz. Working for an hour before I start the day with him really helps and eases a lot of the guilt so I can focus on being a mum. At the moment, I’m trying to do an hour before he wakes, an hour when he goes to bed and I get half a day on Wednesdays when my lovely mother-in-law babysits. If I can get some time at the start of the day and the end, it’s not the end of the world if I can’t during. It doesn’t always work (he’s been waking earlier his week due to a cold and teething), but even a handful of days a week will help
- Timing my tasks. Without a doubt timing tasks, and crucially setting time limits for work, has had the biggest boost on my productivity and balance. It stops me going into a blind panic, and gives me focus.
- I’m currently working through my coaching diploma, and part of it means I coach and am coached by another coach-to-be on the course. It means I’m setting regular goals and working on how I view problems.
- Meditation nearly always gives me focus, but it’s easy to forget. On the days I can squeeze in an hour before Oz wakes up, I try to do five minutes of meditation
- The biggest challenge I’m tackling is changing my mindset to accept that, for at least the next few months, I can’t do the same amount of work I was doing before and that’s ok.
Is there any way you can boost your freelance lifestyle? I’d love to know in the comments about any new healthier habits you’re picking up.
*HelloFresh sent me a recipe box of theirs for free, but I was not paid for this post.