How to Be Happy in Your Freelance Position

It’s interesting to think that happiness improves productivity in employees. Most people can feel this for themselves. When they feel good, they will tend to complete tasks with ease. Happiness is, therefore, a win-win for both the employee and the employer.

The same is true for freelancers and those self-employed in the digital space. Happiness makes it much easier to complete work, and often to a higher standard.

There’s no shortage of job satisfaction in the freelance world. Research suggests that over half of freelancers wouldn’t go back to full-time employment, and even less of the older generation of seasoned vets would switch back. Over half are also satisfied with their work-life balance, and five out of six freelancers reported reaching their financial goals within the first two years.

These numbers, although very promising in terms of potential for freelancers to enjoy their career, also tell us that around half of freelancers lack job satisfaction. That's why I’m going to share with you a few thoughts on how every freelancer can work on their happiness.

Financial Security

It’s a shame to start a discussion on happiness with a point about finances, but in reality, a job that doesn’t pay is rarely satisfying, and often leads to adverse life conditions (such as unpaid bills and threatening letters) that make productivity and happiness more difficult to attain. For any business owner, small or large, financial security is a priority.

Freelancing and self-employment demand great financial responsibility. The first step is to secure the clients and regular work so that you can support yourself comfortably. Repeat business is key to this, as it will give you a more consistent source of income.

Once you have reached a point of financial comfort in terms of monthly outgoings, you can think about putting money away in savings, pensions and investments.

Exercise and Good Health

No matter what you do for a living, exercise and good health are vital for happiness. This could be even more true for freelancers, who are prone to live a more sedate lifestyle unless they keep themselves in check. Eight hours at a computer screen is not suitable for you!

One way to keep your health and immune system high even when working at a desk is to take regular exercise. Start your morning with a stretch and walk or jog. Exercise lightly during your break and do something active after work. Yoga stretches like the seated twist, and backward arm cross can help you to stay active even when sitting.

There’s much more to good health than just exercise. Diet, lifestyle choices and stress are all factors. But if you exercise every day, you will be well on your way to feeling healthy and happy.

Take Control of Your Day

Broadly (or maybe stereotypically) speaking, there are two types of freelancers. Those who go with how they feel and complete work at times that suits them, and those who quickly miss the routine and need to implement it into their day. In reality, you probably exist somewhere in the middle.

The freedom that working from home allows can be a curse that leads to laziness, or it can be a blessing if used well. See what works for you and take control of your day.

You may find it useful to have a morning routine, rather than going straight to work on your laptop. Have a shower and breakfast, exercise and do at least one thing that you enjoy. Structure your workday around the times that you feel most productive. For me, that means the evenings and night, when it’s quieter. For you, it might be the 9 – 5 that is best.

In any case, take regular breaks, at least five minutes every hour. Know when to stop so that you can wake up and be productive the next day. Take holidays. This is important. Full-time employment grants a set number of holiday days per year. Freelancers don’t get paid for holidays, but should still save up and take them to live a happier life.

Interesting Work

Finally, it’s an excellent idea to focus on paid work that you enjoy. This has to be balanced with the aspects of financial security mentioned above. This is real life, and rarely does a person enjoy every minute of every working day. But if you can enjoy it overall, you are on to a winner.

One way to get more exciting work is to take on a mix of projects and more creative work along with your regular stuff.

Also, don’t neglect your creative endeavours. Many freelancers forget about their projects, mostly because you don’t want to do it after 6 hours of paid work, but setting time aside for your creativity is immensely rewarding. Do it, and remind yourself of why you started this life in the first place.

Photo by Monika Stawowy // CC0 1.0

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26 Jul 2019