I’d sit in front of my laptop in the afternoon, struggling to come up with creative ideas for a marketing plan. I was forcing myself to swim against the current.
So, I started rethinking how to optimize my career to swim with the current.
As a remote worker or freelancer, you get to experience incredible autonomy. You can choose your clients, the type of work you do, and what you focus on for the day. While it’s freeing, creating a flexible career that fulfills you can still be challenging.
Here’s a new way to think about crafting a career that fulfills you.
Design Your Workday Around Cravings
Similar to how your body craves food or water, your mind craves what it needs at optimal times of the week and day. What times of the day do you feel most productive, creative, extroverted, or restless?
While this can vary day-by-day, you’ll notice some patterns. I love writing early in the morning when my mind’s fresh before focusing on client work. And I started running right before dinner to boost my energy for the evening.
If you’re feeling uninspired, switch to lower-effort tasks. Don’t force it. If creativity is a large part of your work, then take a short breather or change your surroundings to reset.
While you might have team calls you can’t control, try to batch calls for when you feel most extroverted–in the afternoons, or on certain days of the week.
Balance Creation vs. Consumption
Each day you face competing priorities: client work, new client outreach, and your own projects and brand building. Maybe you also write or speak. And there’s the constant pressure to network and learn new skills.
You might feel pulled between creation (ideating, planning, executing) and consumption (reading, learning, reflecting).
For a while, I was consuming too many books, articles, and podcasts. I felt pressured to incorporate all of the best practices. It was overwhelming! I wasn’t spending enough time creating original work–and trusting my own voice.
Block out times for creation. Write, brainstorm, and deeply reflect when you’re feeling most inspired.
Then, when you crave new info, venture out again. Read, talk to insightful friends, and ask for feedback.
Do Work That Matters
Work on what you crave. Do work that means something to you.
It’s easiest to get into flow state when you’re doing work you love–when you create from the heart.
What repels you? Cut out work you don’t enjoy. Yes, there will always be tasks you don’t enjoy, and not all the work that you do will be meaningful. But make sure you enjoy the general themes that you focus on–your projects, industries, and clients.
If you’re bored of one of your services or have a client that gives you anxiety, ask yourself if there’s another pathway.
The rules aren’t as set in stone as you may think. Remember, you chose this lifestyle. Money isn’t everything. Your mental and emotional health matter. Your time matters.
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What kind of work do you crave? How do you tap into your most creative and productive states? Please share your thoughts in the comments below, or tweet @Workfrom using #untethered.