Are You Digesting Too Much Information?

Posted: January 14th, 2010

Photo by True2source (Flickr)

Photo by True2source (Flickr)

I came to a realization a while back sifting through my Firefox bookmarks… Am I really putting all those great articles and advice that I come across through tweets and stumbles to great use?

The answer is, sadly, not even close. I was essentially reading and forgetting as if I were reading newspapers.

I went as far as to give myself my own professional self-diagnosis and came up with the following: I was suffering bad indigestion from information overload.

Well, I found a little system that helped me make better use of the information I come across while, at the same time keeping my brain from shrieking. Hopefully you can use these, too, in the same manner.

1. Clean Out The Reader and Bookmarks

When having that daily peek at the list of subscriptions in my reader, I would always get that feeling as if I were doing a chore when thinking about going through that long ass list. Rather counterproductive I say.

It doesn’t take long to go through the subscriptions and delete out those blogs that haven’t been updated in two months or that you don’t find useful anymore. By doing this, not only will this save you time having to filter through to get to the articles of interest, but you’ll get back to looking forward to those articles as well.

The same goes for those bookmarks. Time to take inventory of the ones you really use and delete out those you don’t.

2. Don’t Bookmark Those Massive Lists

These are pretty easy to tell by the “100 Resources to…” title. These are often great compilations but the fact is you aren’t going to utilize every single one of those links. Plus, after bookmarking the page and referring back to it later, you tend to forget and have to read through the hundred items just to remember what you liked.

The trick is to take the time to visit those links that interest you inside the resource post and bookmark those instead.

3. Sorting The Bookmarks You Save

I started a rather simple method for bookmarking articles so they are easy to refer back to. First I created three folders where recent bookmarks I saved are kept for a review later:

  • Advice I’ll apply right now
  • Advice to apply later
  • Inspiration

These can be whatever depending on how you like to categorize. Rather than directly filing bookmarks to some random folder, where it likely won’t be seen or used again, I use these folders as a sort of holding pen so I can easily go back and see what I saved recently. This is of no use, though, unless you…

4. Consistently Review Your Bookmarks

On a weekly basis, I look through those folders I created and review those bookmarks, revisiting those links as well. Reviewing bookmarks a second time has the effect of putting those pages to memory. I can now file them away in another folder and remember where they are at in case I ever need to refer back to them again.

Sometimes you find that a bookmark you saved may no longer have any use. Now is a good time to delete it before you clutter up your bookmark folders all over again.

5. Use Stumbleupon To Save Links

Stumbleupon is a great way to have a record of all those links you come across. Download the toolbar and  use the “thumbs up” button on any and all pages that interest you even if you don’t bookmark any for later use.

Once in a while, I’ll get the need to refer back to a page that I didn’t bookmark but, instead, thumbed up in Stumbleupon. By clicking on the “Favorites” button in the toolbar you can visit your Stumbleupon page with all the pages you gave a thumbs up (or down) to.

You can then narrow your search by typing in keywords in the “Search your favorites” box to find that link you were after. It is far more clutter-free for your bookmark folders by sticking with Stumbleupon to save those links you normally would bookmark but hardly use again.

6. Take a Day (or Two) Off From Your Computer

I don’t know about you but, after visiting so many blogs and digesting so much information, I tended to burnout. Then I would read those good blog posts but then immediately forget them and not apply the good info contained in them.

Taking just one day off from your computer breaks that cycle so, when you return, you’re refreshed and more at tune when going back through the reader and visiting those blogs and websites again.

* * *

Do you find these techniques useful? Are there any methods that you use to counter the “information overload” from reading so many blogs or visiting so many websites? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Ten Steps To Twitter Zen

Posted: January 8th, 2010

Photo by CC Chapman (Flickr)

Photo by CC Chapman (Flickr)

I’ve been using Twitter over the last nine months or so. Now, I may not exactly be deemed “popular” by follower standards but I’ve used it enough to know what makes a good user experience, not just for yourself, but for your followers too.

There are, of course, rules to live by when using Twitter and other social media that should be understood.

But here are my two cents on the matter.

Be Yourself, Be Nice

Treat Twitter as if you were talking to real people.

People can easily spot suck-ups, frauds and salesmen in real life but guess what? They can also easily see this through your tweets. So there’s no point in trying to win over new followers or inundating everyone about the new ebook your selling.

Be you. That’s all your followers ask of you.

And keep it nice too. No one like negativity and the badmouthing of others so stay away from that. Also, abide by the conversational rule of refraining from tweeting about religion or politics unless, of course, these are what you normally tweet about.

You Must Give In Order to Receive

Sure you want to promote something over Twitter whether it be your blog or something you sell. Before that can ever take place you have to give by sending out tweets of value that people find useful. In other words, you need to develop a reputation as being a source of great information.

Then and only then can you send out a tweet that promotes what you have. Just keep it to a minimum and “sneak” it in with the other links sent out.

Follower Count Isn’t Everything

A common belief is that the higher your follower count, the more popular you appear to be.

Well… yes and no.

The popular people on Twitter fall under two categories: celebrities and gurus who are pretty much celebrities. You can easily identify them by their follower count nearing the 100,000 mark, or reaching much higher, and follow relatively few people themselves.

As for the rest of twitterverse, the follower count isn’t even close to being as important as the followers you already have. After all, which is better? Knowing a thousand people and talking to only a few or knowing a hundred people and talking to each and every one of them?

Conversation Is Not One-Way

You could be that all-knowing guru of marketing, web design or whatever and tweet links that could really help out your followers. If you don’t bother to interact with your followers, however, you are essentially standing on a soapbox and speaking into an empty room.

Take the time to scan through your feed and answer questions, retweet useful links and spark up conversations. Then you begin to notice that followers begin to notice and listen to what you have to tweet.

Mix It Up A Little

I’ve been guilty of this but if you’re say, a freelance web designer, don’t just tweet everything on web design or else you’re seen one-dimensional. The point of Twitter is to tweet interesting links whether it be news, funny images, thought-provoking quotes or articles unrelated to what you do.

And try to eliminate those plain “Eating cereal right now” tweets. Unless you can add a funny or interesting spin to it like “Eating Cheerios with water, hmmm, not so bad” it’s likely to draw a “who cares” reaction.

Know The Proper Way To DM (direct message)

A real sore spot for most Twitter users is the unsolicited DM. It is often seen as no different than receiving a Viagra pitch by email. So turn off that auto-DM for new followers and refrain from sending mass DM’s to get your followers to read that new blog post.

The DM is used primarily to communicate privately with followers you already interact with. If you want to DM a follower you never communicated with before, though, make sure you personalize it with their name, looking it up in their profile or from the website link in the profile.

But remember, in a DM, don’t try to sell your shit or ask to join some mafia boss thing either. That’s the number one way to get unfollowed.

A Non-Follow-Back Is Not Cause For Concern

Twitter is not a game of I’m following you so you better follow me back. So not receiving a follow back shouldn’t be considered an insult and trigger your inner fury. It’s important to not equate this with being rejected as a person.

The truth is you will decide not to follow those that follow you for reasons that have nothing to do with the person behind the username. It’s nothing personal, it’s just how Twitter works.

If You Want to Increase The Likelihood of a Follow Back…

  1. Upload an avatar in your profile and have a link to your website or Facebook page.
  2. Add a descriptive, interesting bio to your profile too.
  3. When landing on your Twitter page, there should be some RT’s (retweets) in view.
  4. If you are a new user, have at least 10 – 15 tweets posted with a few RT’s thrown in. Seeing one tweet or no tweets at all might lead to you being mistaken for a spammer.

You Can Always Unfollow

Once in a while you’ll come across someone’s tweets that you find annoying or inappropriate. Or you’ll get once of those annoying DM’s to buy some crap you don’t want.

That’s the beauty of the unfollow button. One click and you never have to hear from that person again. Ever. No need to get angry and respond with hate tweets.

Give Thanks

This is entirely up to you but, if someone takes the time to visit any link I tweet, then retweets it, I’ll send them a reply thanking them for the RT. In my opinion, that person appreciates the acknowledgment and is likley to notice and retweet more of my links in the future.

Besides, I think it’s good karma.

My New Year’s Resolutions As a Freelancer

Posted: January 6th, 2010

Photo by Lucas Janin (Flickr)

Photo by Lucas Janin (Flickr)

It’s that time again; the beginning of the year where you reflect on the year before and see what could have been done better. For some reason this new year seems a little different though.

I don’t know whether it’s the new decade, which makes you reflect on that whole Y2K era, or the fact that decades all of a sudden fly by before you know it. Or maybe it’s the curiosity of what is in store for 2020 since we’ve come a long way in the past ten years.

Anyway, since New Year’s resolutions generally focus around self-improvement, more specifically work and your weight, I’m going to publish my own right here for all to see in hopes that I complete each and every one of them.

So without further ado.

I resolve to finally realize I can take a vacation tomorrow or the next day or even the next.

I resolve to stand up and scream “Hallelujah!” at the top of my lungs for each email I send in hopes my neighbors can convince me to cut back my time spent on it.

I resolve to stand up and scream “Homey don’t play that!” for every tweet I send in hopes that my neighbors force me into an insane asylum so I’ll have a good excuse to stay off of Twitter.

I resolve to take the high road and bite my tongue the next time a client decides to be a jerk and yell at me. That is, the little nub that is left of my tongue.

I resolve to save my receipts this time.

I resolve to open a help desk and charge for all the email and call support I give out to clients on a regular basis.

I resolve to to edit my contract and put in 72 pt red bold caps that UPDATES AND CHANGES WILL INCUR  ADDITIONAL CHARGES.

I resolve to work on a beach in Jamaica and say hi to Yuwanda.

I resolve to follow my own advice.

I resolve to brag to all my friends (and neighbors) and fully enjoy the fact that I don’t have a “real” job.

Top Ten Last Minute Gifts For Freelancers

Posted: December 18th, 2009

“Christmas, Christmas time is near
Time for toys and time for cheer
We’ve been good, but we can’t last
Hurry Christmas, hurry fast

– Alvin and The Chipmunks

Still in need of something to get a fellow freelancer for Christmas? One of these should do:

10. Hot meal, change of clothes and a warm place to sleep for the night.

9. A new MacBook Pro. Ah, who are we kidding, a $10 gift certificate to Wal-Mart.

8. Hit one up for some work you really don’t need.

7. That overdue payment can double up as a can’t miss gift.

6. Five hundred brand new Twitter followers.

5. Can’t beat a 1099-MISC form a couple weeks early.

4. That book out there that will help a freelancer make six-figures in a month or so.

3. A nice piping hot cup of that premium shit at Starbucks. Throw in a carrot cake, while you’re at it.

2. A cheesy Christmas card that you were going to send anyway.

1. Same as above, but with a $10 Wal-Mart gift certificate or new MacBook Pro stuffed inside.

7 Blogging Lessons I Learned The Hard Way

Posted: December 16th, 2009

Photo by Cyndie@smilebig! (Flickr)

Photo by Cyndie@smilebig! (Flickr)

It’s been a little over a year and around 170 blog posts later, but it seems like an eternity since I started The Freelance Rant. I have to admit, I went into it not knowing a thing about blogging much less promoting a blog.

Even worse, I wasn’t even a great writer.

I’ll admit, too, that I went into blogging with dollar signs in my eyes.

Now I’m left standing with a whole new prospective: I stopped being an internet introvert and have a soap box to step on.

The dollar signs turned into burned out retinas.

Anyway, here are some real lessons I learned about the whole experience.

You Don’t Need To Be a Writer To Blog

Sure you need to know how to write but we all have our own lingo that, with a little direction, becomes our own unique writing style. And that writing style, in turn, reflects our personality and becomes the true identity of our blog.

Then it’s off to the races. The blog grows and so do you as a writer.

For myself, the hard part was developing that writing style. The only way to do that was to write and write and write. Then write some more. Those first few posts sometimes took a few agonizing hours to write.

I don’t want to say an old dog was teaching himself a new trick but such was the case.

You’ll Probably Suck At First, But So What

A reality I had to face when I started blogging was that, worst case, my posts would suck hard and no one would want to read my blog. Then I quickly found out this was also the best case scenario, especially since I was pretty new to the scene.

I’ve read stories where other more popular blogs have similarly started from nowhere and worked hard for years before becoming frequently visited. So I kept that in mind, put my eyes to the screen and wrote. The plan: keep writing and if the masses come, great. If not, I won’t give up.

Then, after fifty or so posts later (and fifty or so total visitors up to that point), I found a sudden spike in traffic for a particular post.

Eureka! I had found something that worked.  Then the process repeated and other posts were written here or there that drew visitors.

And throughout the whole time, I noticed my writing improved. Coincidence?

It’s Not About The Benjamins

I’ve seen countless ebooks and “help” out there that promise you’ll make five or six figures a year (in some cases, a month) from blogging. This is enough to make you think that, hey,  it’s a breeze. Why didn’t I start this a long time ago?

Bullshit.

Well, not really for those who are making their blogging fortunes. Those that are new to blogging with cashing in on it as the sole intent, however, face a harsh reality.

No, readers don’t exactly come knocking on your blog door and buy whatever crap you’re selling much less click on your ads at will. So therein lied the real issue which is attracting people to my blog.

In other words, I had to think about churning out posts that people read and find useful. And find a lot of them.

Not an easy task.

It’s Not About Me Either

I, being the genius I am, had assumed that whatever I wrote (crap or not) will just get indexed in Google and, in time, people will eventually discover it on the search engines and come flocking over to read it. Slowly but surely.

Uhmmm, not quite.

Then I learned of one word that made all the difference: networking.

For starters, I never caught on the social media train until this year. Nonetheless, discovering Twitter, Stumbleupon and their siblings was a wake up call that these were great tools for getting traffic to my blog.

Then I learned sharing information and meeting other similar freelancers and bloggers was fun. Even better, it’s a great way to learn from other which, believe me, I have. Other bloggers included.

Getting traffic to my blog from social media is just the gravy now.

A Passion Has To Shine Through

I can’t count the number of days where I wrote posts when I was dead tired from working my freelancing gigs. Nor can I count the number of days where just didn’t want to write… or where I had writer’s block… or seeing that I had three visits last week and thinking, “fuck this.”

You catch the drift. But those posts got written anyway.

While discipline was a major player here, I had to know and enjoy what I was writing about in order to crank out those posts a few times a week. Otherwise, I was basically in my old writing class having to write garbage about a subject that I could care the least about.

Passion keeps the words flowing when you aren’t.

Now I Know Why Other Bloggers Die Off

I’m a bit lazy right now to look up stats on all the blogs in the world. I’m willing to bet, however, that the majority of them are in the junkyard of abandoned blogs. Their owners had lost all hope and went back to something that “doesn’t waste their time.”

Like I said above, discipline is a major factor in getting those posts written on a regular basis. There are also other factors, though, which almost made me quit forever:

  • Low visitor count
  • No money to be had
  • Time and effort invested with no results (i.e. low visitors, no money)
  • Getting out of the habit of regular posting

While I’m nowhere near the upper caste of the blogging kingdom, I know that continuing to write on a regular basis and finding little nuggets to improve will pan out someday.

Of course, I may be extremely naive too. If ignorance is bliss…

I Oddly have To Follow My Own Advice Now

I’m a firm believer in practicing what I preach. After writing all the advice that I have up until now, however, I made a stark discovery that I wasn’t always practicing what I know.

Yes, you heard that right.

Even funnier is that I go back to some of my older posts to see what I’ve written for a little guidance.

Well, a positive result was that, to keep in line with my preaching, I made quite a bit of changes in how I work as a freelancer. While I won’t go into great detail, it’s pretty obvious the lazy bug hit me a couple times in the past.

Thank God I had myself to give me good advice.

Let Me Know What You Think

Are you a new blogger, too? Maybe a blogger guru laughing his pants off right now? Leave a comment and let me know if you had similar experiences.

Freelance In 40 Days [Day 40]: Congratulations, You Made It

Posted: December 12th, 2009

Photo by Stephen Poff (Flickr)

Photo by Stephen Poff (Flickr)

This is Day 40 of the Freelance in 40 Days series where you’ll learn to freelance just by taking it one day and one task at a time. Today is the final day so congratulations on making it through. Here are a few parting words of wisdom.

Well, you either read ahead or you finally reached the last day of this tutorial. If you made it all the way through then hats off to you. I sincerely hope you found this tutorial useful and I wish you the best of luck in the freelance career ahead of you.

And now some parting words.

Work Hard

Nothing replaces hard work in whatever you do. Sure, freelancers are given every ample opportunity to goof off whenever they feel like it. You won’t grow as a freelancer nor as a business, however, without putting in the time. Taking from a quote I like to refer to once in a while:

“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”
– Newt Gingrich

If you envision yourself as a successful freelancer with your ideal six-figure income, it doesn’t happen by working only a few hours a day. It takes burning the candle on both ends, some sleepless nights and a little patience. The spoils will eventually come to you.

Have Faith

Freelancing will test your will and ability to confront obstacles in your path. Believe me, you’ll have times where you second guess yourself and wonder if you can continue on.

Challenges you face in freelancing are all a part of the learning curve, so the best thing to do is to just get used to it. They also teach us lessons we may never have learned by being an employee at a job. Lessons that we need in order to work on our own.

Having faith that your career will be a successful and prosperous one, even in the difficult times, will help reassure you overcome those challenges.

Never Stop Improving or Learning

You may be good at what you do but, remember, there are always others out there that are better. Keeping this in the back of your head is enough reason to set aside some time everyday to learn something new to eventually be in the upper echelon of those “others” up there.

Besides, the work we do evolves over time and we need to keep up with those changes for our services to be marketable for years down the road. So never stop asking yourself, “How can I do my work better?”

Give Me Some Feedback, Man

If you found the Freelance In 40 Days tutorial helpful or you noticed some ways it could be improved, feel free to enter in a comment. Each one gets read and, time pending, will be responded to.

Cheers and Happy Freelancing.

Johnny Spence

Freelance In 40 Days [Day 39]: Just In Case You Run Into Trouble

Posted: December 11th, 2009

Photo by Richard Parmiter (Flickr)

Photo by Richard Parmiter (Flickr)

This is Day 39 of the Freelance in 40 Days series where you’ll learn to freelance just by taking it one day and one task at a time. Today you’ll see how to tackle some common issues that freelancers face.

Freelancers are guaranteed to face some sort of challenges in their careers. It’s all a part of the growing process.

Sometimes, though, they can leave you a bit frustrated.

To get you aquainted with some of them, though, I’ll list some common issues that freelancers face and how to handle them.

Issues With Clients

Sometimes you run into clients that tend to butt heads with you or require a lot of your time to maintain outside of projects. Usually, they usually fall under one or more of these types:

  • Excessive emailing or phone calls with questions.
  • Trying to get more work out of you than what they are paying for (i.e. haggling).
  • Constantly coming to you with changes in a project scope.
  • Vague in what they want done in a project.
  • No specific idea of what they really want. They just want some kind of X.

It’s wrong to consider these types of clients as bad clients. If you work with them properly, you can handle these situations coming out on top and with minimal time wasted. These are ways to do so:

  • Always use a project agreement with every project, big or small. Review Day 16 for more on these.
  • In the project agreement, be sure to clearly define the scope of the project, or outlining exactly the things you will do and the cost to the client.
  • Also in the project agreement, be sure to define any costs associated with revisions or any “extras” a client decides they want at the last minute.
  • One last thing in the project agreement, too, don’t forget to define the costs of maintaining the project after it is completed.
  • Review the project agreement with the client through a phone/Skype call  and make sure they understand each point of it.
  • After the project starts, if you notice a client emails or calls excessively, set aside a time for a phone/Skype call and let your client voice and his questions and concerns. Most of the time, he just needs reassurance that a project will get done correctly.

The Never Ending Project

Once in a while you could run into a project where the scope grows and grows and grows beyond your control. This happen when you encounter some kind of obstacle or extra work needed that adds time to a project. Most of the time, you aren’t able to see this coming beforehand.

It’s quite normal for projects to go over budget and time slightly, but other times they can go over significantly by 50% to 100% or even more. So when this happens create a detailed list of the extra work that has to be completed. Then estimate the time and the cost to complete it.

Now comes the hard part. Negotiate with your client to be compensated for the extra work. A client always expects that you know these kind of things will happen and you’ll draw resistance. If you are willing to meet halfway, though, by charging a discounted fee and giving him ample reason why you couldn’t foresee the extra work, then they will be more willing to give in.

If your client decides they will not pay any extra fees, then you have a decision to make: complete the extra work for anyway for free or leave the project altogether. By leaving the project, you may save face financially but your reputation will be severely affected and it could cost you future work.

By completing the project, though, you notch another piece for the portfolio and your reputation stays intact as well as client relations. It may hurt the wallet, but in the short term, it probably won’t matter for long.

I Have No Work At The Moment

All freelancers will go through periods of slow business. Much of the time it is welcome so freelancers can catch up on personal projects, administrative work or just take some time off.

If you go through periods where you are working followed by periods where you are desperately searching for work, know as the feast or famine cycle, then this is not healthy for your business. The feast or famine cycle is covered in Day 26.

I can’t say this enough, but always be looking for new clients, even when you have work at the moment. If you don’t see yourself with projects to work on three weeks ahead, then set aside an extra hour or so each workday dedicated to hitting the job boards and submitting a bid or two for projects.

Missing A Deadline

Every freelancer should try his or her best to never miss a single deadline. Your reputation and reliability depend on it.

Once in a while, though, a missed deadline can happen. Such is life. To keep things cool with the client, however, follow these tips:

  • Try to foresee a missed deadline well in advance and let your client know.
  • Remember, how your client reacts is inversely proportional to the notice you give him. In other words, you won’t look good telling him the day before or, worse, the day of the deadline.
  • Let your client know the new deadline date.
  • Do whatever you can to meet that second deadline. If you have to stay awake three days straight, hire other freelancers or whatever, just do it. Two missed deadlines in a row murders your reputation.

Waiting For Payments

In a perfect world, a freelancer receives a payment the very second a project is completed. Many of your clients will even be more than happy to send off a PayPal payment immediately when work is finished without even asking.

Freelancers are businesses, however, and we work with other clients that are businesses. So we need to get use to the business standard of NET 30, or allowing 30 days for payment from the date of the invoice. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t absolutely necessary (review Day 17 for more on invoicing).

When I first started freelancing, though, I demanded payment on receipt and usually had to send reminder emails every few days to politely say that I needed my money NOW. What I realized this does is create a burden for the clients since most handle their payables once a month as what typically businesses do.

Switching to NET 30 will keep you from stressing and sending out frequent payment reminders. Plus, the clients that pay right away will still continue to pay right away anyway.

Freelance In 40 Days [Day 38]: Freelancing Zen

Posted: December 10th, 2009

Photo By Iane Machado (Flickr)

Photo By Iane Machado (Flickr)

This is Day 38 of the Freelance in 40 Days series where you’ll learn to freelance just by taking it one day and one task at a time. Today you’ll see ways to improve your daily life that will positively affect your freelance work.

A freelancer could have the best computer, desk, comfy chair and office possible to do his or her work more effectively.

Even these won’t make you work the most effective way possible if you don’t learn to develop good habits during your working days. Sure, we do have those habits that carried over from our previous jobs.

Surfing the internet, munching on snacks, wasting time in general. Sound familiar?

So it’s good to start out with good habits to improve how we work as freelancers. The following are some ways to do this:

Manage Your Time Wisely

Almost everyone falls for distractions while working. Whether it’s checking up on scores, reading the latest news or gossip out there or seeing what the buddies are up to on Twitter, we all do it. Freelancers are especially susceptible because no one looks over their shoulder to say, “hey back to work!”

Distractions for freelancers don’t necessarily affect your productivity, but they do kill your time. That time could be spent with family, starting up new hobbies… reasons you became a freelancer in the first place.

Here’s a little technique that I tried with great success which isn’t hard to do at all:

  • Set blocks of time during the day, say 2 – 3 hours, where you work and only do work. No distractions. Make these during the times of the day when you work the best.
  • Then set aside blocks of time for your distractions of maybe an hour or three if you are a real net junkie.
  • When you start a work block, concentrate on nothing but the work for the first 15 minutes. The rest of the time will follow suit.

The desired outcome is that you’ll notice you get more work done in less time. Then you may hopefully notice those distraction blocks take up time where you could be doing other more productive things.

The whole idea is recognize where your time is going and determine where it could be better spent. Distractions might not be your thing after all.

Eat Right

What you eat directly affects your energy levels throughout the day. Eating junk food gives you a quick energy spike then negatively impacts your energy levels  making you feel sluggish on after. Being sluggish does not help the freelance worker.

If you are not already eating healthy balanced meals, I’m not saying to drastically change your diet. That never works out. You can however, get in the habit of eating a few pieces of fruit a day just to start out. Then eventually incorporate a salad a day into the diet. The junk food gets naturally replaced with the healthier food in the process.

Also replace those chips and other carby snack foods with raw nuts. You’ll see after a while that eating healthy impacts your health, how you feel and how you work.

Exercise

Probably 99.9% of all freelancers spend the day in front of a bright flashing rectangle. In other words, we don’t move around much during the workday. Though we can’t really take a walk while finishing up that article draft, this is not healthy for us.

Doing some kind of physical exercise where we breath heavily and break a sweat (sex not included) does wonders for our physical health and increases our energy level. Start out by going to a gym, going out for a brisk walk or jogging a few times a week for a half hour or a full hour if you can.

I guarantee you’ll notice a difference in how you feel.

Get 8 Hours Of Sleep a Night

There will be times when you have have to pull an all-nighter or two to get a project done. This happens on occasion. For the rest of the time, however, stick to getting eight hours of sleep a night. No more and no less. Our energy level is optimal with this amount of time for sleep.

Take a Day Off When You Need It

Ask any freelancer and he will tell you of the many times when he was stressed with project deadlines, client arguments and just too much work at the moment. There will be those times when freelancers are stressed beyond belief. Working with that stress, though, impacts our work by decreasing our motivation in doing it.

So take a day off.

Of course this is extremely difficult for a freelancer to do since it is viewed as a working day lost. The reality is taking a day off to clear your head will ease that stress enough to where you can go back to work the next day and handle your work with more calm and focus.

But do keep these unscheduled holidays to a minimum. You don’t want a new bad habit forming.

Some Resources to Improve Your Freelance Zen

Zen Habits
As you can probably tell, I was thinking of this blog when writing this tutorial, but this IS the blog for tips on simplifying and improving your life and work. The advice in itself is easy to follow and do too.

Dumb Little Man – Tips For Life
The name says it all. Handy little tips we take for granted that helps us out in our everyday lives, from how to properly use a comma to creating more free time in your day.

The Positivity Blog
This is a great blog to turn to for that pick-me-up on whenever you need it.

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