You're busy, you're running a business, you're finding new work, you're chasing overdue invoices, you're marketing, you're doing the accounts, you're crushing it on tiktok [even if that's not work related], and you're doing the housework, paying the bills, socialising.... wow, you've got a lot going on.
It's not unsurprising then, that many of us who are self-employed find that taking care of ourselves can fall off the to-do list. Once you've tackled all of the demands that others have on you, it can be easy to deprioritise yourself.
Yet, it is important to remember that you are the single most important asset in your business - without you, there would be no business. And just as you charge your mobile phone each night, you need to give yourself space and time to make sure you're operating well.
One of the core principles of Working Well, our model for freelance wellbeing, is Active Awareness. It's important to actively think about how you're feeling, and what's influencing that. Being more aware of how you're feeling each week, and asking yourself what caused that, is the first step in being able to design better boundaries and behaviours to help your work feel more sustainable and supported.
"Oh no, another thing on my todo list?"
Yes, but hopefully a minimal effort with a significantly positive return, and we suggest starting with nothing more than 15 minutes a week.
15 minutes a week
1/ Schedule a time in your diary where you can protect 15 minutes of time each week for reflection.
2/ Take that 15 minutes to step away from your computer and any devices, find a quiet space, and ask yourself two questions: how did I feel this week? what caused that?
3/ Write the answer to your questions down in a notebook. You might find that there is more than one feeling - after all, a week can be filled with ups and downs, so for each feeling, use a separate line, and write out how you felt, and what influenced you feeling like that.
4/ That's it (for now)
The aim here is not to make changes, but to start to be more aware of what is influencing how you're feeling, so you can, over time, start to make observations on any patterns. Is there something happening on a regular basis which makes you feel awesome? Is there a thing which happens which reliably makes you feel a lack of confidence?
Keeping this in a notebook alllows you to reflect back over the weeks, and spot any patterns, and when you're ready, consider any changes you might want to make based upon the evidence you've collected.
You can do this more often than once a week - we encourage people to share how they're doing every day in Leapers in the #dailyjournal channel, and every Friday at 3pm UK, we remind people to take 15 minutes to reflect upon their week. But find a time and cadance that works for you.
If you're struggling to commit to the time each week, it can really help to setup a small group with some others who all check in with each other at the same time each week. Schedule a short call or group chat just after your 15 minutes, and share with others how you're doing. Accountability groups like Pods can help you do this in a more structured basis - but Whatsapp groups, a channel on Slack, or a standing invite in your calendar with fellow freelancers all works well too.
What time will you schedule your 15 minutes a week?