Ignoring Your Health As a Freelancer

Ignoring Your Health As a Freelancer

I’ve been a freelancer for coming up thirteen years, and I love it. There are many well-known benefits such as no limit of earnings, family flexibility, working with clients and on projects that you love and more.  Ignoring your health as a freelancer is far from a benefit yet is something many of us do or have done, me included.

Stop Ignoring Your Health As a Freelancer & Limit Your Screen Time 

As someone who jokes that she is surgically connected to her laptop, this advice might seem a little hypocritical. Take it from someone who knows though, no matter how important that client is, they cannot be more important than your eyesight. Try to avoid glare as much as possible, and turn up at your regular eye tests. There are other ways of protecting your eyes, too. Make sure that you have natural light coming into your office, even if it is just your back bedroom.

Take a break from the screen every now and then, and learn how to touch type, so you can exercise your eyes, and avoid strains. You might even invest in pinhole glasses that will naturally improve your focus on the screen. I use to use glare reduction glasses and my optician now suggests blue tinted glasses because I now need glasses (I’ve always managed to get away with no prescription in the past but it’s caught up with me). 

Take Care Of Your Body’s Nutritional Needs 

Do you find yourself too busy to have breakfast or stop for lunch? It is a sign that you are ignoring your health as a freelancer and neglecting your own body’s needs. If you would like to stay healthy and make the most out of your business, you will need to find the time. Even a few minutes of walking around the house or taking the dog for a walk will help you clear your head and get your metabolism going. Avoid food that might make you feel sluggish. Check out Nutritional Cleanse’s range if you would like to get more vitamins and minerals in your body without having to cook every meal.  I now go to the gym three times a week after school run and before I start work. Rather than eating into my day, I find it motivates me when I do get back to the laptop, and it counteracts the hours spent sitting down!

Get Some Fresh Air 

Sometimes little things go a long way when it comes to your health. Getting fresh air will improve your immune system and help you make the most out of your digestive health, as well. Freelancers find it hard to keep themselves healthy, and they certainly don’t have enough fresh air, being stuck indoors or in the car or meeting customers. Instead of ignoring your health as a freelancer open some windows, open the door, work undercover in the garden or just take five-minute breaks outside.

Automate What You Can to Avoid Repetitive Moves 

If you spend most of your time typing away and copying and pasting images, your wrists will suffer. Make sure that you adjust your workspace and support your joints. If you have to wear wrist support to avoid strains and carpal tunnel syndrome,  do so. This is better than putting up with joint pain for years. You might also invest in back support and a footrest, so you can take the pressure off your joints and your legs and stay healthy. I would be lying if I said that ignoring your health as a freelancer when it comes to this goes without consequences but my physio would tell you that I’m lying.

Stay Active 

Being active doesn’t mean that you have to go to the gym every day or every other like me. In fact, you can set up an exercise routine for home. No matter if you learn yoga or Tai chi from YouTube videos or sign up for a health challenge online, you will be able to keep your muscles active and your digestive system healthy. You can walk, take a few stretches, or simply do some leg lifts when you are sitting in front of your computer. If you feel like you just want to sit on the sofa and watch your favourite series at night, challenge yourself to do more. 

Improve Your Sleep Patterns 

If you are overworked and your thoughts are still racing when you hit the bed, chances are that you will need to improve your sleep patterns.  You can find natural remedies for better sleep and relaxation, or simply take on meditation and other mindfulness exercises to stop the busy brain and get a good night’s sleep. I use a Yoga Nidra meditation and some breathing exercises before bed and am soon fast asleep.

Ignoring Your Health As a Freelancer: In Conclusion

To make the most out of your business as a freelancer, you have to learn how to put yourself first every now and then. Your health is one of your most valuable assets if you are running your own business without help. Don’t sideline it, make your wellbeing the first and last thing you do every day and trust me when I tell you, with the benefit of hindsight, that you will thank yourself for that later!

 

 

Staff Communication Skills

Staff Communication Skills

First of all, I don’t have a staff. That said, I have managed staff and staff communication skills may be utilised in many aspects of business too. For example, I may not have staff but I do collaborate with other freelancers on projects which requires clear communication.

No business has ever or will ever work without those involved communicating with each other effectively. Communication opens so many doors that in the modern world, makes international collaboration easy. Two people, from opposite sides of the world, could run an online business together, for example. This sounds incredible – but it’s true. It happens each and every day. Cut that line of communication though, and things go south quickly. Staff communication is absolutely essential.

Group Chats Work Well For Staff Communication

It can be important to ensure members of your department can instant message one another in a ‘group setting,’ to ensure that all messages are equally given. Email just doesn’t cut it these days. Messages are lost, delayed and overlooked. You might decide to use an instant messaging capability such as Slack (a favourite of mine) or WhatsApp although you need to understand that these apps may cause packet loss). Using messaging apps ensures that those messages are encrypted and opted-into.

As with all staff communications, stay consistent. If you are continually changing where you share relevant information needed to help your employees in their role or those you are collaborating with, they will become confused, and as a result they might even become quite annoyed with you. They need to know where all the important updates are posted. Find a solution, i.e. Slack, that works and stick with that platform only.

The Division Between Work & Home Life

It’s important for you to encourage a healthy balance of home and work life through your communication policies. For example, when an employee heads home after working all day the last thing they want is to keep up on their work emails. You might decide to do so as the leader of your firm, but expecting others to do that as standard can be a real problem.

If you want staff to remain productive and motivated, respect their work life balance and boundaries. Unless a member of staff is on call, for example,  they shouldn’t be expected to be jumping onto the work group chat at 8pm!

Train Staff

It’s not just how you interact with staff that dictates how optimised your internal communication is, but also how they interact with one another. For this reason, it’s important to consider the main necessities when training staff. Email writing is a good place to start. Too short, and your email can be vague and hard to read. Too long, and you take up the valuable time of the recipient, and this can aggravate. For this reason, training staff in brevity and comfortable email writing and formatting can help to streamline communications and avoid confusion. 

Concise email is easier to digest. On top of that, the use of a formatted date might also become detected by a note-taking application, allowing for immediate placement in a calendar. Avoid vague headers when writing email and communicate the relevant information with the “chat”. This will same the sender time, the person receiving it will appreciate it and it will streamline staff communication further.

Communication is Important For Everyone

I am in contact with numerous clients, teams, other freelancers and more every week. By employing the same tips to my freelance business as managers do with their staff I spend much less time in my inbox and more time doing my actual work. Read the Productivity Ninja for some great ideas to improve staff communication and overall organisation. What staff communication or business communication tips do you have?

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