The fact of the matter is that whether you’re a writer, designer, or other sort of freelancer, there are plenty of different types of work you can do to keep your days from becoming too monotonous.
Still, there are times when you’ve got to do some mundane tasks. You might have a design gig for a client with no imagination. You might have to write 150 pages of SEO content on household cleaning. We all have to keep our books, deal with clients, and pay our bills.
I’ve found that one of the best ways to get through a drudge of a day is to insert some creativity in the process. Here are some things I’ve done to find more joy in my work, and make those everyday tasks just a little bit more enjoyable:
Customize your workspace
You don’t work in a corporate office. You don’t have to deal with the buzz of florescent lights all day long, or stare endlessly at the drab gray cubicle walls. As a freelancer, you have the opportunity to design your own workspace. Sure, you’re limited by space and budget, but there are some basic things you can do to make your workspace more joyful. For example, you can:
- Install some nice track lighting, or get a stylish lamp for your desk.
- Invest the money in a high-quality office chair.
- Add some decoration to your desk, whether it’s pictures of your family or your favorite piece of pottery.
- Pick up a small surround-sound system for your MP3 player and install it in your office.
These are things that people who work in cubicles can’t do. These relatively minor changes to your workspace can make your work time much more pleasant.
Find a schedule that works for you
Some people work better doing all of their boring, mundane tasks at the same time. If that’s you, pick one day a week, perhaps, to do all of your most inane tasks.
If you’re like me, though, you can’t stand the thought of a single day full of joyless tasks. I prefer to identify those tasks and spread them out through my day and week. That way, I’ve only ever got to deal with one of these tasks for a few minutes, and then its back to more enjoyable work.
Maybe you’re not sure yet how you work best. Give each method a shot, and figure out what works best for you. Part of finding joy in your work is being able to work with your mundane tasks in a way that suits you.
When I talk with other freelancers about outsourcing, the first thing that comes to mind is often the bookkeeping task. Let’s face it: just because you’re a good writer or designer doesn’t mean you’re good with accounting. Even if you’re good at it, you probably don’t enjoy it. If that’s the case, consider hiring an accountant, or a virtual bookkeeper.
There are probably other tasks you can outsource, as well. For example, in my business I spend a lot of time proofreading my own work. I do all right at it, but it can really start to drive me batty, especially if I’m proofreading a longer piece. In the last couple of months, I’ve been able to outsource that particular task. In my case, I’ve outsourced this task to my wife, who is a much better proofer than I am.
Remember why you chose the freelancing life
A key part of finding joy in your work is remembering why you chose this line of work. For example, I love the fact that I’m able to make a difference with my writing. A lot of the writing I do is educational; whether it’s writing about writing like I do on my blog, or whether it’s writing on a client’s topic, I try to write things that benefit others. I want to improve their lives with my work.
When I’m stuck doing some mundane task, I try to remember that it’s all part of the package. If I’m going to make a difference with my writing, sometimes I have to write about a topic that isn’t interesting to me, but is eminently interesting and useful to someone else.
I love what I do for a living. If you don’t love what you do as a freelancer, it’s time to think about another career. I chose the freelance life because I was sick and tired of following orders from a corporate boss who only looked out for himself. I chose the freelance life so that, whether I rise or fall, I can say that it happened because of me, and not someone else. I chose the freelance life so that I could have the flexibility to be there for every school play, even if it meant I had to work until 3 AM the next night to make up for it. Reminding yourself of why you choose to freelance can put a smile on your face and put the joy into even the most mundane task.
So, what about you? What techniques have you found that help you get through your days of drudgery?
Photo by Todd Baker