Empowering the Freelance Economy

Ditch “freelancer guilt” because no one cares but you

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If you are falling back into old 9 to 5 working patterns then it’s time to ask yourself: why?

Ah, the freelancer’s life. Free from the shackles of the office, beholden only to deadlines and the ever-present hum of self-doubt. But with this freedom comes a curious burden: the guilt of scheduling your day like a rational human being instead of a hamster on a wheel.

Why, you ask? Well, let’s delve into the murky depths of a freelancer’s psyche:

The Cult of Hustle: #Hustle and #grind are two words synonymous with freelancing and startup culture. While people may say it’s taboo in 2024 to brag about working 18-hour days and sleeping under desks, there is a relentless pressure to be “always on”. On for your clients, your social media feeds, and your family. It’s enough to make you feel like a lazy bum if you dare to take a nap even if you did start working at 5 am.

The FOMO is Real: While your corporate counterparts are stuck in fluorescent-lit purgatory, you’re basking in the freedom of, well, whatever you want to be doing. But do you really take advantage of your freedom? And when you do, do you fear you are missing out? What if you’re not working every waking moment while everyone else is slogging away? What if you’re missing out on that dream project because you took a walk in the park? Did you exercise mid-morning instead of before you started work because that’s when others do?

The Internal Clock of Shame: Deep down, there’s a part of you that still remembers the 9-to-5 grind. It whispers in your ear, “You should be working right now!” even when your most productive hours are between 5 am to 7 am This internalised guilt can be a real productivity killer.

The Myth of Multitasking: Freelancers are often hailed as masters of multitasking, juggling multiple projects and deadlines with the grace of a three-ring circus performer. But the truth is, context switching is a productivity killer. And yet, we feel guilty for not being able to do everything at once, like some kind of productivity superhero. And that includes all the domestic time-sucking chores if you work from home.

The Cult of Busyness: Our society seems to equate busyness with importance. If you’re not constantly rushing around, checking emails, and attending meetings, are you even a real freelancer? This pressure to be “busy” can make you feel guilty for taking time for yourself, even if it’s for something productive like exercise or meditation.

So, how do we overcome this guilt and embrace the freedom of scheduling our days so they work best for us?

Here are a few tips:

  • Screw the hustle: Define your own productivity and don’t be afraid to take breaks. Your brain needs them!
  • Embrace the FOMO: Instead of fearing you’re missing out, be grateful for the flexibility you have. You can always catch up on work later, but you can’t get back that time for yourself.
  • Silence the internal clock: It’s time to rewrite your internal narrative. Working 9-to-5 doesn’t make you more productive.
  • Ditch the multitasking myth: Focus on one task at a time and you’ll be amazed at how much more you can accomplish.
  • Redefine busyness: Busyness doesn’t equal importance. Focus on doing your best work, not just being busy. Get the biggest and deadline-dependent tasks done first. You will have a great sense of purpose and productivity by getting something accomplished versus completing a lot of tasks half completed.

Remember, you are the master of your own time. So ditch the guilt, embrace the freedom, and schedule your day like the sane, rational human being you are. And if you need to take a nap at 1:45 pm, go for it. The world will still be there when you wake up.

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