Working in the gig economy can make taking time off difficult. Use these tips to understand how to take time off and avoid burning yourself out!
It’s an all too common problem in the gig economy. Fresh-faced freelancers and entrepreneurs, eager to pull in as much cash as possible, overpromise and overcommit. They set expectations for themselves that are impossible to achieve, and work inhumanly-long hours.
It’s inherently unsustainable, and I’ve lost count of the number of freelancers and contractors I’ve seen plunge headlong into burnout.
In a world where more and more people are choosing the path of self-employment, maintaining a healthy work/life balance has never been more difficult. It’s also never been more important. There are no laws preventing a freelancer from overworking themselves, no guidelines as to what constitutes an acceptable work-week.
You need to figure that out yourself – here’s where to start.
Understand your own limitations
First and foremost, it’s important that you understand your own capabilities. Some people can effortlessly work upwards of fifty or sixty hours a week without missing a beat. Such people are rare.
Most of us have limitations. We have a limited amount of energy to put towards our job. A limited amount of focus where projects are concerned.
As you gain experience in your field, you’ll probably be able to work more effectively and efficiently. But particularly at the beginning, it’s important to understand how much work you can take on, and how much work will leave you with drowning. Learn to recognize when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, and when it’s time for you to take a break.
Start setting a schedule – and stick to it
Flexibility is a big reason a lot of people involve themselves in the gig economy in the first place. And while there’s certainly still room for flexibility in your career, I’d strongly advise setting a schedule for yourself. There are a few reasons for this.
- Having scheduled times for work and relaxation will help you avoid being overworked – you’ll likely find it easier to take a break if you slot time for one on your calendar.
- Planning things out in advance will make it easier to stay on top of any projects you’re working on or client demands you need to address.
- You’ll be able to schedule work hours to the time that you’re most productive. For some people, that’s the morning – others might find they do their best work in the afternoon or evening.
Take care of yourself
Last but certainly not least, bear in mind that your body is like any machine in that proper maintenance is important if it’s to keep working at peak efficiency. That means eating healthy and getting enough sleep. It means exercising regularly and making sure you set aside enough time for activities that let your mind relax.
You might think you’re getting more done by staying up well past midnight, but you aren’t. Not really. Ensuring you’re fresh-faced and healthy is the best way to not only be better at doing your job but also maintain a balance between your career and everything else in your life.
In the gig economy, it’s frighteningly easy to fall into the habit of working yourself to the bone. While that may make you a bit of money in the short-term, it’ll come back to bite you in the long term. Far better for you to establish healthy habits and limits at the onset, and – you can always adjust them later if you feel you’re able to take on more.
About the Author:
Dave Allen is the owner of Ridesharecentral, a company that provides information to current and new rideshare drivers. Rideshare Central makes it easier for rideshare drivers to get started and drive profitably. Follow them on Twitter @ridesharecent.