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With World Mental Health day coming up on 10th October, here are some quick tips for freelancers or anyone who works from home.
1. Keep comfortably warm, without the worry of big bills
If you want to keep your productivity up in the winter months you don’t want to be distracted by the cold. Working from one room at home means it’s a nonsense to heat the whole house. But a traditional portable heater can make the air stuffy, will clutter the room, may make a noise, and probably costs a lot to run.
The good news is there is a new type of plug-in heater that puts warmth where you need it – under your feet. The under-rug heater RugBuddy is a bit like an electric blanket for the floor which you cover with a rug and plug in. It costs pennies to run and is safe, silent, and healthy.
2. Avoid yo-yo marketing
It’s exhausting and stressful to experience feast and famine with your work. But this is what happens if you only market yourself when short of work. What you need is a heartbeat to your business that ensures marketing gets done on a regular basis. This means time for marketing is built into your routine – a blog per month, an Insta post a day, five phone calls each week – so you are never so busy that it doesn’t get done. My recommended book is Watertight Marketing (even the title is calming!).
3. Keep active while working
We all know about the links between physical activity and improving mental health. While you’re working, get the habit of standing and stretching every 20 minutes to avoid muscle tension and poor circulation.
A breakthrough for me came when my pilates teacher recommended sitting on one of those large balance balls. Even sitting still, you’re exercising core muscles to maintain your balance and posture. It really works! Here are more tips to stay fit while working from home .
4. Get paid for what you’re worth
Consider what has put you in the position to be so good at what you do. Have you studied? Have you invested time and money to be able to do what you do? Have you allowed non-billable time to develop your business? Add it all up before calculating your minimum hourly rate. And then consider what your work is worth to the client. You may well be able to charge more than the minimum and/or agree a results-based element on top.
5. Get paid on time
If you experience payment delays these are usually outside your control. Don’t take it personally. The best position to be in is to get your marketing ‘heartbeat’ right so you’ll have other opportunities to pursue should a client prove difficult to deal with. Get confidence to do all this from bodies such as IPSE who have two ‘My Money’ events coming up in October.
6. Eat good food you prepare yourself
One of the most valuable ways to spend a break in your working day is to prepare yourself a nice nutritious lunch. Nothing too time consuming, or heavy to eat, but something that takes a bit of care. You can be proud that you are looking after yourself well. Delicious Magazine has some lovely and healthy lunch recipes.
7. Manage your time to leave time for yourself
When you have a healthy client list, the risk is you spend all your time working. After all, one day it might all dry up, mightn’t it? And even if you are not that busy, there is a tendency for work to fill all the available time and you feel guilty if you’re not working. This is a very hard urge to fight but it is easy to see how working all hours might harm your mental health and well-being.
To get more out of your day you need to apply discipline to the time you allocate to each job. We all know the value of a deadline in terms of getting work done. So why not plan your day as a sequence of mini-deadlines? Diarise these and then use a time tracking app so you accurately record how long you spend on a job. You’ll then have time at the end of the day for your interests, passions, and favourite people. Here’s a list of time tracking apps you might find useful.
William Haseldine is founder of BeWarmer, a specialist supplier of portable floor heating products.