Monday, September 14, 2009

The Importance of Breaks for Freelancers

Making a full time living working from home is probably one of the top reasons people choose to leave their 9-5 for a freelancing career. However, most people fail to take into account that it takes time to build that kind of income. They find themselves working long hours, taking on any job that comes their way, trying to get to that income level. Burnout is common.

Ask any freelancer what their secret is for maintaining their sanity and preventing burnout and they will tell you it is taking regular breaks. By regular breaks, I don't just mean a half hour lunch break or a few smoke breaks through the day. I'm talking about a break that involves staying away from the computer for an extended amount of time.

When I started my journey into freelance writing, I fell in the trap myself. Because my time was split between taking care of my family, going to school and helping my husband with his business, I took every chance I got to write. I ended up giving up time with my family on weekends since that was the only time my husband was home all day to be with our daughter.

Then it hit me. I can't be effective as a freelance writer if I don't give myself some downtime. My brain needs times to recharge, especially if I'm working on multiple orders on the same subject like I have been lately. My eyes and back also need the break. More importantly, my family needs me on weekends.

Now I make it a point to take at least one day a week off from work and everyone is happier. My family is happy because I'm not hidden away in my home office. My back and eyes are happy because they got a much needed rest. Even my clients are happier because a recharged brain is a creative one.

Do you take breaks?

*Photo by Vassiliki Koutsothanasi.


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