Working as a freelance web designer I spend many hours every day in front of my computer. The value of a little time out for a freelancer is huge and really important to ensure optimum productivity. I know how hard it is to walk away from the desk at the end of the day and resist the urge to do that little bit more but it is essential if you are going to lead a happy and fruitful life. Here are some of the things I do to stay sane …
I am very lucky to live in Stratford upon Avon in Warwickshire. It is a beautiful town and there are no shortage of footpaths and parks. Within minutes of walking from town I can be in open countryside. The Welcome Hills are a quiet sanctuary far from everything with plenty of open space. Equally the Riverside gardens and parks offer a fabulous circular walk. Walking space is important to me because each day I try to take 90 minutes out to think; complete mindfulness without the white noise, which is probably some of the most valuable time in my working day. As a freelance web designer I need to make sure I stay inspired with plenty of fresh ideas. When I first started out I rarely left my desk and soon started to run out of steam! My best ideas come when I am away from my desk and also it is amazing how many questions I seem to be able to answer when I give myself a bit of head space.
Get Proper Sleep
There are some really simple things that make sure I sleep well.
- Keep my room very dark, blackout shutters are great
- Keep tech out of the bedroom, smartphones & tablets are banned
- Make sure any lighting is warm lighting
- Make sure there is a substantial gap of at least 5 hours between work time and bed time
- Don’t drink caffeine after 6.00pm
Stay Stress Free
This can be easier said than done and it goes hand in hand with the 2 items above. I try very hard not to worry about things I cannot control and a good example of this would be Google rankings. As a Freelance web designer, I don’t have a guaranteed salary and I rely on Google quite a lot but search engines can be very volatile for no apparent reason. I used to panic over this but now instead I have a backup plan in terms of work from other areas and the option of temping, that keeps me grounded. I guess it all boils down to the simple moral of not placing all of my eggs in one basket, no matter what the scenario in life those are wise words.
What I need to understand in order to combat stress in a potentially stressful self employed environment is to be aware of things that are affecting me. Then decide what to do with that newfound knowledge – should I actually be stressed or just tune it out and resort to plan B? There is usually a better way just around the corner.
Doing something different in my spare time is essential. Apart from the usual socialising and meals out, I love to watch TV and find it a great way to escape at the end of the day. I smile when people pretend they never watch the television, the devil sitting in the corner; yet they seem to know a lot about the programs!
I also love to play on my Xbox, I got a brand new Xbox One X for Christmas so very pleased with that. I love the quest games like Skyrim and Witcher.
I very much enjoy taking photographs, I am not great at it but it serves as a very good distraction. Here are a few snaps from a Warwickshire riverside walk not so long ago…
So all in all I think I manage to cope quite well, keep the stress levels down and sleep properly. It’s taken a bit of brain training and I have to be strict with myself sometimes but it seems to work. I am sure I offer a better service because of it.
If you need a Freelance Web Designer do get in touch, I would love to hear about your project.