How to Stay Inspired and Productive as a Freelance Web Designer

How to Stay Inspired and Productive as a Freelance Web Designer

It’s a tough racket to be on your own.

There are lots to do – from seeking clients, to doing the work, to billing, to answering emails, to doing your books and taxes. There’s a lot. And it can easily get out of control and be overwhelming.

overwhelmed freelance web designer

It’s easy to get overwhelmed.

When an influx of work does come in and you’re in the middle of a marketing effort to grow your business, you can easily get overwhelmed. Throw in a few life situations (break up with your boyfriend or have to move) and things can quickly get hairy.

It’s easy to stress over money.

When work isn’t coming in or a big project ends, the hunt for more projects will keep you continually on your toes for earning money. When there’s not enough money, you get stressed.

If you can develop an ability to stay strong, you’ll be rockin along.

If you can keep your inspiration and productivity up in the face of the challenges of running your own freelance web design business, then you’ll succeed.

Moreover, these kinds of skills are just great for keeping your life fun and exciting.

Here are two techniques that have done wonders for me.

1. Paint it pretty.

Sometimes, in the day-to-day activities, we can lose sight of the reason we are in business for ourselves – to enjoy our work, create a flexible lifestyle we love, and make money.  

When things feel unexciting or like they’re going the wrong way, it’s time to step back and repaint a vision of what we really want in our business AND make sure we’re taking steps towards that end.

When you really crystallize what you want everything in life from living situation, bank account figures, free time and friendships, it can be very motivating, exciting and be the perfect impetus to reenergize you.

If you’ve lost sight of why you’re doing this, take a moment and really paint a picture of what you want.

Action step:

Fill up an entire two pages with a list of everything you want in your life, especially in the next three to six months. What would really excite the hell out of you? What would be unreasonably awesome? What would make you bounce of the walls with excitement?

Make a list of 50 things, then pick the top 3 as your goal for the next 3 or 6 months.

The mere act of brainstorming this, and identifying what you really want, soon, will hit you like a triple-espresso of motivation. You’ll naturally begin to fill in steps to getting there.

2. Get the hell away from work.

I’m so guilty of working too much. More so, not getting away from my work to enjoy life and recharge my batteries.

BUT, when I do it, I re-remind myself of this importance.

Even something as simple as going to the movies with a friend, going to the beach without a specific time to leave, or giving yourself a few days off in a row (Is one solid day off too much? Start there).

But the trick is you’ve got to schedule it in NOW.

If you don’t put a fun event in your calendar now and instead opt to some vague idea of “ok tomorrow afternoon I’ll go do something fun”, it won’t happen.

You’ve got to etch it into your calendar, an exact time and activity. AND, as bonus, make it an activity with a friend and call them to set that event.

Having fun on your calendar in the next day or two will keep you looking forward to it and actually, strangely, motivate you to get work done now.

I always look forward to basketball on Tuesdays and Sundays. I often find my most productive boosts right before those events. It’s so odd. But it works.

Your do-now action step:

Make a list of 50 things you enjoy doing that only take a few hours, don’t require much money, and can easily get a friend to go do with you.

Some examples could be: get a scoop of mint chip ice-cream with a friend, have a skype call at night with a favorite friend abroad, go for a swim, see a movie, get tea with a friend for idle chat, take your dog for a walk in the woods, take a nap on the beach, play a board game, etc.

Pick the top two things that would bring you the most happiness, then call your friend NOW, or send an email if it’s late, with a time, and place you want to meet and do it. That meeting should be in the next day or two.

These two tricks, painting a pretty future and getting good fun down-time away from your work can really recharge your batteries and keep you excited and productive.

Did you do the exercises above? What ideas have you come up with? I’d love to know. Please comment.

1 Comment

  1. Daquan Wright · September 6, 2011 Reply

    “What would make you bounce of the walls with excitement?” Should be “off” me thinks.

    Nice blog bro, can you make it so I can subscribe to your entire blog by e-mail? I see subscribe by e-mail under the post, but I want to subscribe to the whole blog. 🙂

    I know this situation, I’m just a CS student but one day I want to run my own freelance business (as well as being a pro software engineer), so I’m gearing myself up now. I think sometimes, you just need to open your fist and let go, like diving into the water and relaxing.

    Take time to get away from work, think about your satisfaction.

    Are you satisfied with your clients, schedule, or projects? Targeting what makes you unhappy and thinking in a “solution-oriented” way I find helps me. To me, freelancing is just the essence of life. You win and you fail, and every time you fail you learn something new. Each step of failure brings you close to success, you just need the inspiration to not give in.

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