Last week, I wrote a post on five ways you can improve yourself and your business. This week, I want to discuss the dreaded work blues.
I’ll tell you a dirty secret no freelancer likes to mention: we get bored with our work. Even though we’re able to pick and choose our clients and projects we still do the same thing every day. For example, here’s a look at my daily schedule:
- Wake up, eat breakfast, shower
- Check emails and RSS feeds
- Check email
- Check email and RSS feeds
What a snooze. Where’s all the glory and glamour I was promised when I first started freelancing? Don’t get me wrong, I love my business much much more than I loved any regular nine to five job I ever held. But, sometimes I’m just bored.
Being Bored Is OK
One of the secrets to being successful is to embrace the boring times. Being bored is good because it’s an indicator you need to do something more. Being bored means you’ve learned all you can in what you’re doing so it’s time to learn something more, try something else or target a different group.
It’s easy to get disheartened with the boring times. After all, who wants to be bored with the work they supposedly love? None of us ever want to drag our feet in the mornings to our downstairs office. But, just like our personal relationships, our business can stagnate and need spicing up.
Use It or Lose It
Eventually, you’ll either make yourself unbored, or you’ll continue doing exactly the same thing you’re doing now and eventually give up and walk away.
It’s tempting to stop working when you’re bored and this is ok if it’s only for a day or two. But remember, you’ve got clients waiting for you and you can’t hide from them for forever, if you still want to be in business. So let’s roll up our sleeves and figure out some things we can do.
What Should You Do When You’re Bored?
If you do the right kind of things during this period, you can really come out happier, improved and even gain some more business!
- Take the day off, go somewhere and take pretty pictures–Not only relaxing, this allows you to get some creative “frustration” out, even if you’re not a designer, it’s good to do a few crafts and hobbies.
- Find something cool to work on–Just because you’re bored with work, doesn’t necessarily mean you should stop working. Try picking up a couple of awesome projects, whether they’re personal, pro-bono or just something you’re interested in. Find a reason to come to work.
- Learn how to design–Even if you’re a developer or writer, learning some basics of design can improve both your writing and code structure and also the way your code is organized.
- Learn a new programming language–I’m currently learning PHP to help with a social app I’m building and then I’ll be going through Cocoa for a few iPhone apps. I have no backend programming experience, so Cocoa is definitely going to be a tough challenge–but, it’s something I’m looking forward to doing because I’m excited about potential projects.
- Find new work–Could a reason that you find your work boring be because you have boring clients with boring projects? Try to not accept any new project that doesn’t make you say “Sweet!” when you hear about it. Perhaps you’re bored because your work really is boring.
- Work on your own stuff–Does your portfolio look like it was designed in the 1970s? One of the things that excites me is the thought of adding awesome pieces to my online portfolio, but if your portfolio is seriously outdated, you may be dreading it. Hire a designer, design one yourself or buy a nice template. Get it out of the 70s!
- Participate in something big–I’ve been participating in a contest for entrepreneurs. Even if I don’t end up winning, it was lots of fun getting the support of all my social media followers and I learned a lot from it. This really helped me get excited about the future of my business, as part of the prize was mentoring from some big name gurus! Try to find a contest you could be in, even if it has nothing to do with business.
- Go to “Camp”–Have you been to your local BarCamp, PodCamp or WordCamp? It’s a great place to meet local people, get cool swag and learn loads of new stuff. I always come away from one of those with tons of new ideas and a fresh look on what I can be doing for my code and my clients.
Just Do Something
Don’t let being bored stop you from accomplishing your goals. It happens to everyone, I promise. The trick is busting through the wall of boredom to that exciting new project behind it.
How Do You Combat Boredom in Freelancing?
Share your boredom busters in the comments.
Image by longhorndave