I know that my mind starts to wander when things get out of hand.
For instance, if I have an entire day of deadlines to meet, I’ll drink coffee nonstop and skip a meal. If I suddenly have to drive across town for a meeting, I may wake up extra early to finish an assignment before taking off.
Altogether, distractions happen, but in order to maintain my success, I definitely have to stick to a freelance routine. I know we all have our own lives going on, but maybe you can find some insight for your own schedule by learning from what I do!
Here’s a typical workday for me and how I maintain my sanity as a freelancer:
Follow a 6-Hour Rule
Apparently it’s better to get 8 hours of sleep every night, but for me, I follow a 6-hour rule.
This means that if I’m up until midnight working on something, I go to bed and always sleep a solid 6 hours. I follow this rule no matter what. Even if I had something due the following morning, it has to wait until after 6 am.
Once again, 6 hours may not seem like enough to some people, but I’ve found that if I get anything less than 6 hours of sleep, I crash in the middle of the day and can’t sustain a high level of writing work. So, I urge you to find your sweet spot for sleep and stick to it no matter what.
Check Emails First
After I get my beauty rest, I leave the bedroom and sit at the kitchen table with my laptop. In my opinion, it’s not healthy to jump right into working, and instead, I check emails first and read up on current events.
It’s a process of waking up slow and rising with the day that helps get me started. I allow my body to wake up and adjust, and then once I read all my messages and find out what I have to do for the day, I make myself a cup of coffee in the kitchen and head into my office to get cracking.
Take a Lunch Break
Usually, I skip breakfast during the workweek. However, I always take a lunch break.
So my first work session takes place from 8 am to 12 pm, and within this block, I try to get as much done as I can. I start with the hardest thing on my list, and then one by one, I check things off my agenda. Then, when 12 pm strikes, I step away from the standing desk and make myself lunch.
Overall, you need a midday snack to keep yourself energized. Especially with something that uses a lot of mental energy, like writing or graphic design, taking a few minutes away from the computer and having a sandwich, some chips, a bowl of fruit—it’ll help your brain readjust and break up your day into chunks rather than one huge undertaking.
As a freelancer, it can be easy to forget why these breaks exist, but don’t get caught in the burnout of living at your desk.
Take a Nap or Go on a Run
And after lunch, I follow-up my day with one of these two activities.
Obviously, a run is probably the healthiest option of the two, but a nap can be just as effective when trying to rejuvenate yourself. This is basically my top priority.
The idea is to do whatever you can to stay awake and carry yourself out for the rest of the day. For me, that means doing a 30-minute jog outdoors (about 3 miles) or taking a 30-minute catnap. After either one, I always feel happier and more relaxed. Plus, I get a bit eager to stand and the desk and take on another work session.
Think About Rounds, Not the Entire Match
So now, it’s about 1:30 pm and I’m back at the computer finishing up deadlines.
I like to think about freelance work as rounds and not the entire match. For example, I work a morning round and an afternoon round. On some days, if I skip a morning round, I’ll work an afternoon round and an evening round. Then again, if I have an audition in the middle of the day or a meeting with a new client, I’ll do a morning round and round at night.
When you think about your workday as rounds, it lessens the stress of trying to finish everything at once. Not to mention, it gives you flexibility throughout the day to do a lot more than just work. You create time for personal projects, you enjoy a moment with friends, you can actually enjoy the food you’re eating and not scarf things down in a hurry.
Have you ever seen a busy cafe in the mid-morning and wonder how everyone there can afford to just kick back during the day? It’s because they compartmentalize their time and make it work for them, not the other way around.
Follow Your Freelance Routine Every Day
Finally, all you have to do now is follow your freelance routine every day.
The reason why so many people falter with freelance work or feel like the experience doesn’t work for them (or couldn’t work for them) is because they don’t treat it like a job. Unfortunately, that 9-to-5 cycle that so many people dread actually has some merit to it, and even though you may not be in a shared office space or headquarters, you still have to have that same mentality as a freelancer at home.
Where freedom comes in is where you happen to find yourself during your set work hours. There have been days where I’ve sat at airports all day writing. I’ve gone to coffee shops to work, laundry mats waiting for a load of colors, Super Bowl parties sitting in the back of the room on my laptop. That said, freedom and success lie in your ability to keep your routine going despite the obstacles you run into along the way.
And one of the best things about Fiverr is that your freelance work is completely in your own hands. Since you get to work directly clients, you can set your own rates, set a schedule that works for you, and deliver results on your own time.
Remember, success comes from keeping things consistent, so use Fiverr to your advantage and make it an asset to your freelance routine.