By Jonathan London on 6th August 2015

9 novel ideas for keeping yourself motivated as a freelancer

As a freelancer, keeping yourself motivated can be tough work. Working from home can provide plenty of distractions, and even though heading to the local coffee shop means you can eliminate Netflix as a form of procrastination, unfortunately motivation doesn’t grow on trees (or in coffee beans).

Here are some ideas for keeping yourself motivated – you can thank us when you discover that you have evenings again.

Annual bonuses

People love getting annual bonuses. Usually reserved for office workers and John Lewis employees, they don’t always have to be performance related. Sure, it helps if you can actually afford to give yourself a bonus every year – set aside some money every month towards your big pay-out.

Break the internet

It’s all too easy to get distracted by the world wide web; there are literally hundred upon thousands of websites ready and waiting to steal your time and attention. There is a quick fix – you can download applications which block you from accessing websites of your choosing. Let’s face it, Buzzfeed was never going to be conducive to a productive working environment (unless, of course, you work for Buzzfeed).

Go for brunch

Anyone can go out for dinner when they work a 9-5. But freelancing means you can go out for brunch on a whim, without having to gain prior permission from your boss or use up annual leave. Take the opportunity to head out for an impromptu mid-morning break and remind yourself exactly why freelancing was such a good idea in the first place. We’re guessing it’s not just because you get quick service and your favourite window table, but more to do with having a flexible work/life balance.

Wall of numbers

If you want, you can fill a wall with inspiring quotes to help you power through your day, and if this is the case then Pinterest welcomes you with open arms.

However, you might want to be a bit more pragmatic about it; sometimes the best inspiration is a practical one. Saving for something? Write the total amount you need to save on a post-it note and stick it near your workspace. Putting up pictures of the things you want might just create a further distraction, whereas having a total figure is still a visual prompt but less likely to send you down the ‘what if’ route.

Create a target

Even if you’re not saving for something in particular, write down your required monthly income and turn it into a target. After all, nothing is more motivating than cold hard cash.

Factor in some rewards too, say if you go 10% over target or gain X new clients. Remember to include money towards your annual bonus too – just because you’re self-employed you don’t have to miss out on one of the best perks of working for a company.

Say ‘No’

Saying ‘no’ as a freelancer can be a scary thing, especially when starting out. The pressure of being wholly responsible for your income can mean that you want to jump aboard every project going. But if you can afford to, start getting picky about the work you take on. Only accept projects which you are genuinely excited about, and the motivation should be self-sustainable.

Take the weekend off

You deserve it. Step away from the laptop, and turn your phone off.

Working as a freelancer means that it can be really hard to stop working. Still sending emails at 10pm? Somehow, it seems justifiable when you work for yourself. But it’s not healthy to be ‘on call’ 24/7. Take a weekend off to live a little.

Make a happy file

Everyone gets bad days. When you work in an office, you have colleagues there to help you pick up and dust off. When you work for yourself, you’re on your own. Create a file to remind you of how good you are at what you do. Include those glowing testimonials and projects you really loved working on. It might sound twee, but you’ll appreciate it when that email pops in to your inbox informing you that the pitch you really wanted has been taken by a competitor.

Get busy

There’s an old saying which says if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. Fill your schedule with client work, meetings, gym classes, dinner dates – anything which turns your calendar from white to grey. Not only will this improve your work/life balance, it’ll also mean you’re pushed for time. Nothing forces motivation like an impending deadline and a ticking clock.

Jonathan London Written by Jonathan London

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