01 Apr Feeling Overwhelmed: The Curse of the Freelancer
Being a freelancer is both incredibly exciting and, at the same time, scary beyond belief. On the one hand, you sit with a mountain load of possibilities. All of these are ripe and ready for the picking. You hold your success in your hands. It’s within your power to mould it into whatever you want it to be.
At the same time, all of this can feel so totally and utterly overwhelming it’s not funny. All of these to-do’s swim around in your mind a bit like a washing machine. You don’t know which one to start off with, or which one is urgent. Which one should you start off with?
I’ve been here. Quite often, I’m here every single day! And it because I don’t know which task to start off with first, I get incredibly anxious. This is because I feel like I’m paralysed and am not doing anything. And the negative cycle of anxiety starts going around and around and around. There is no break in it so preventing me from doing anything at all.
What’s helped me
I started going to Yoga regularly at the beginning of last year. In about May I stopped going (this is a story for another post) but at the beginning of this year, I picked it up again. It’s helped me deal with stress. Here’s why.
Yoga teaches us a very simple technique that freeelancers can use quite successfully. This discipline teaches us to be in the moment, to focus on what our bodies are doing and our breathing. This is so that our minds are grounded and become focused. The goal is to make sure that they are not worrying about extraneous things that we don’t have control over.
In the freelance world, there are a lot of worries that go through the freelancer’s mind each and every single day:
- Will I get enough business this month?
- What is the possibility that I willl have enough money to pay my bills?
- Will clients pay?
It’s very easy to get bogged down by all of this and to feel that you’re in the proverbial washing machine, being tumbled around and not knowing which way is up. But, by being mindful and tempering your reactions to the environment, you can reduce your stress levels significantly.
Yes, your clients may not pay on time but you can’t worry about the possibility of this happening when nothing has come to pass as yet. If it happens, deal with it. However, the trick is – and I’m still trying to figure out how this can be done – is not worry about it. Has anyone been able to figure this out?