freelance rules

I’m Breaking All the Freelance Rules

I read and listen non-stop to articles and Podcasts about being an entrepreneur and freelancer. I know all of the tips or “best practices” for growing a business, being productive, and maintaining sanity. I understand the reason behind all of those tips, but following them is a completely different story.

As I was getting ready to hop into bed with my laptop — no-no No. 1 — it occurred to me that tonight I am breaking all the rules.

1. No Laptops in Bed

Yes, the first is the laptop. The idea is to avoid bringing a computer to bed because it associates work with sleep and then you forgo the sleep when it’s time to sleep. I typically abide by this rule and don’t bring my laptop to bed. The only problem is that I do bring it to my living room couch … until approximately 1 a.m. That really messes with my sleep, let me tell you.

Then there’s the whole “no screen time” thing after a certain point in the night to shut off the brain and get Melatonin settling in. I’m lucky I shut off the computer, let alone my brain.

2. No Writing What I Want to Write

Instead of writing what’s on my mind and what I want to say, I’m supposed to “channel my target audience” and answer questions for them. When I decided I was going to rattle off my list of transgressions, I recognized that I was committing a transgression by writing the post to begin with. I’m rolling the dice that my target audience is made up of fellow rule-breaking achievers who need to understand they aren’t alone.

3. No Distractions During Work Time

You know I watched that Michael Jackson video with disbelief that he was actually painted as a sex symbol. I also have the ID channel on in the background, airing a brand new Dateline. I have not set aside a specific work time with a timer running to keep me completely engaged in the task at hand. Anyone who listens to or reads books on Productivity will think that joke is funny.

4. No Work-Work Balance

You know what I’m talking about. I’m supposed to have that ever-elusive “work-life balance” that some claim doesn’t really exist anyway. Work is supposed to be part of your life, right? Well, right now it’s really a part of my life. The fact that I spent all day today not working is a huge achievement. Essentially, my crazed entrepreneur side feels guilty for avoiding work while my doting mom side feels a huge sense of achievement.

Thankfully, Dateline is over, but a new On The Case with Paula Zahn has started. Blast.

Paula Zahn

Ah, Paula. How you pull me in.

5. No Avoiding Exercise

Today I went shopping for summer clothes. I had to sprint through Old Navy because I had my two older kids with me. I grabbed what I thought was my size with the intention of trying everything on at home and returning anything I didn’t want. Well … the fashion show was a very, very sad sight. No, I’m not overweight, but, yes, I have a lot more cushion in certain areas because I have completely neglected exercise for the past six months.

Aren’t us entrepreneurs supposed to take care of ourselves physically as well as mentally to keep our work high quality and ourselves from burning out? Well, answer me this, female entrepreneurs: how do you work out during the day when you’ve already showered and gotten ready for the day? And if your answer is to NOT shower and get ready for the day, how much fun is it to drop your kids off at school looking like the walking dead? I wore a skirt and linen shirt to drop my kids off last Monday and five people said, “Must have a meeting!”

Yeah, I did. Whatever.

6. No Going Insane

I’m not sure if this is a rule and I’m exaggerating just a touch. But reading all of these things I’m not doing helps me recognize just how much I have to work on. The irony is that all of the things I need to work on consist of taking care of myself.

Anyone else have experience with this? How do you tear yourself from work to truly take care of yourself? Give me some answers while I go back to my wine drinking and ID binge-watching.

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