10 Borderline Magic Ways To Stay Motivated As A Freelancer

Do you work for yourself from home but suffer from a lack of motivation? Our ten-step guide will teach you how to keep yourself—and your projects—on track when working independently.

It’s no secret that being self-employed comes with many advantages. You can wake up when you want to, work flexible hours that suit you, and take your lunch break whenever you’re hungry. However, staying motivated when you have so much freedom can prove challenging, particularly for those just starting out. 

1. Exercise on repeat

The best way to tackle your to-do list is to establish a good routine, including plenty of exercise. This might sound like a cliche, but starting or ending your day with a long run in the countryside or an hour in the gym can significantly improve motivation. The NHS states the benefits of exercise include reducing your chances of heart disease and stress, making it especially beneficial for anyone running their own business.

2. Eat well

It’s only natural that eating well can be key to keeping your work on track. Working from home makes it all too easy to procrastinate by sneaking off to the kitchen for a snack, but it can also be a double-edged sword. Plenty of freelancers find that they skip meals as they jump from one task to another. Therefore, it can be a good idea to make a rigid meal plan and make sure you stick to it. 

Hello Fresh can be a simple solution for those looking to save time on grocery shopping. You might also consider a healthy snack box subscription such as those offered by Graze. This option ensures you give yourself regular breaks from work while monitoring your calorie intake. Hungry for more? Find more tips for eating well on BBC Goodfood.

3. Sleep well

Although freelancing can free you from the standard 9 to 5 working day, the pressures that come with working for yourself can often leave you working well into the night and waking up later each morning. Although this might work for some, for many it can leave you feeling sluggish. Kick this vicious cycle by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. 

Structuring your day like this will stop you from getting in a funk and feeling lethargic. Instead, you’ll wake up every morning feeling refreshed and with plenty of motivational energy. If sleeping is a struggle for you, check out this advice from Healthline on how to get a good night’s rest.

4. Keep track of your time

There are a great many apps available today that can help freelancers find the motivation they need. Clockify is a great piece of software for tracking how long you’ve spent on projects. This can help you achieve your goals and even streamline your invoicing process. For those who get easily distracted by social media, website blocking apps like Cold Turkey can be another option.

5. Make time for you

Freelancing comes with a lot of freedom, but also its own stresses. Yes, you may be able to give yourself a random Tuesday off when you feel like it, but the uncertainty of not always knowing that you have enough work coming in next month can be stressful. 

It’s important to make time for yourself and not spend every waking hour at your computer. There are plenty of things you can do around the house to unwind and reduce screen time (and stress, of course). Try taking a long bath, watching a film, or reading a book.

6. Make time for family and friends

Freelancing can be lonely. Quite often, the type of person who has the drive to set up their own business and work freelance is also the kind of exuberant personality that thrives on human interaction. Whether an introvert or an extrovert, we all need people around us. Be sure to spend time with your friends and loved ones every day, even if that’s sometimes just a quick video call.

7. Take up a hobby (or three)

Working freelance may sound an idyllic escape from office dramas. However, you might be surprised to find that you actually miss having people working around you. Taking up a hobby means that you not only have something to take your mind off work but gives you a chance to interact with other people. 

This can help you build up a strong support network and you may even meet other like-minded individuals you could collaborate with on future work projects. Be careful about what you class as a “hobby” though, the aim here is to do something you enjoy - not spend more time working. 

8. Use a dedicated workspace

If you’re working freelance from home, make sure you have a dedicated workspace. If you can avoid sitting in your family’s main living area all day, do it. Even if you have your own home office, an occasional change of scenery can work wonders for keeping you motivated to achieve your targets. 

Consider renting a desk in a coworking office space in the short term. Being in an environment where everybody else is task-focused can prove contagious for some; you’ll have your project finished in no time.

9. Set personal goals

Studies into how we stay motivated suggests that achievement itself is an essential motivator. Set yourself plenty of short term goals and reward yourself when you meet them. If you finish one piece of freelance work by 10 am, reward yourself with a cup of tea or coffee. Using hot drinks as a reward rather than as something you’re ‘entitled to’ as you’re working can be a key motivator (and limit your distractions). 

Freelancers don’t have access to the staff parties and benefits schemes most large companies offer their employees. The impact of such morale-boosting events and prizes shouldn’t be underestimated. Fortunately, there are alternatives you can offer yourself when working self-employed.

It’s helpful to set yourself long term, challenging goals and reward yourself when you achieve them. If you set yourself a target to earn a certain amount in a year, make sure to plan a holiday with your cash. Have you been eyeing something online for months? ‘Add to cart’ as a reward for wrapping up a long-term project. 

10. Travel

For some, a change in scenery is invaluable. Whilst some people set goals to go on holiday once a year, one of the benefits of freelancing is that often you can work from anywhere in the world. 

Planning a world trip could be effective as a big goal, but you could also start small with this. Perhaps take a small step and visit another city in your home country. If travelling is what you’d like to do, you could try moving to a new country after each big project is completed, or maybe even every month or so. 

Whether you’re just starting your business or have years of experience under your belt, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by freelancing. A lot of planning (and a little exercise) is key to staying motivated. When your personal goals align with your professional needs, you can set yourself up for success with just these few simple steps.

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Rovva puts everything you need for your business in one place. From an accountancy helpline to a drop-in business lounge - we've got everything covered.

Your complete business toolkit

Rovva puts everything you need for your business in one place. From an accountancy helpline to a drop-in business lounge - we've got everything covered.