Tag Archives: motivation

YOU are your worst boss – An approach to managing yourself as a freelancer

“YOU are your worst boss.” – You might hear this sentence whenever you meet a freelancer or a business owner, and after ~8-10 years of being self-employed, being part of teams and founding companies I will have to say that this can be true. You won’t allow yourself hours off, or you just don’t push yourself hard enough as a boss. You might give yourself more work than you can handle (because you promised your client something just not to lose the contact) or you might criticize your performance and work much harsher than someone else would.

So why don’t we just try to become a better boss of yourself? Maybe take a step back and look at our performance, like we would when we had an actual employee: Take life events into consideration and understand that you can’t push yourself over the limit too many times without burning yourself out. On the other hand, we have to make sure to push ourselves enough not to miss a deadline and screw up a job. You might not have enough income to sustain yourself if you slack too much and there is no automatic paycheck guaranteed at the end of the month. Consequences are a bit more direct, even if job security is not the best anymore.

I think (and feel free to correct me or let me know what you think) that you need to apply a particular kind of management to yourself – be your boss, but be fair to your employee.

  • Track how much time you can allocate to your employee and keep other daily tasks in mind (cleaning, cooking, etc.employees), so he doesn’t have to work too much overtime.
  • Keep an eye on your employees’ habits and don’t let him indulge in too many distracting habits. Just don’t be too harsh when he ends up surfing every once in a while. Nobody works 100% all the time.
  • Supply your employee with an excellent ergonomic workplace and the tools he needs.
  • Send your employee to training and let him read books about his field on the job. It’s part of keeping his skills up to date.
  • Give praise for good work and maybe even get him something nice.

Don’t be your worst boss – be a good one. Isn’t that why you became self-employed in the first place? ๐Ÿ™‚

Just write something… but how?

Ah yes … writing. Something I do enjoy quite a lot, whenever I actually get in front of my keyboard and decide to just write down what comes to mind. It is somewhat of a defragmentation for my brain and there was a time, when I used to do it on a daily basis, just to empty out my head and focus on other things. But remembering the positive effects it had on me, I should maybe start this again, as I am doing it right now….

There is quite a simple tool called Write Or Die, which I have been using in the last years, whenever I just needed to write something down. You can basically choose between different grace periods (the time you are allowed to not write anything before you get ‘punished’ by the tool) and using the KamiKaze mode; being the most efficient for me. (KamiKaze mode starts deleting words when you stop typing.)

Granted – not everything that I write under this pressure turns out to be writers gold, but I definitely cures to ‘Writer’s Block’ that many people encounter; which leads me to the actual point I wanted to talk about: Just doing it.

Of course we all have bad days and there are exceptions to the rule – but doing something for only 5-10 minutes can trigger that spark that you need to end up writing / working all night long because you got into the groove. If we think too hard about what we want to achieve or how we want to make it, we end up planning and worrying but never actually implementing anything. So if you just start writing down ANYTHING that comes to your head for a few minutes, you will inevitably get into the groove of writing / working and break the blockage. There are tons of articles about this exact approach and that’s for a reason – it works well in most situations.

This article sums up the whole idea pretty well: How to Stop Procrastinating by Using the โ€œ2-Minute Ruleโ€
by James Clear.

How often did I catch myself reworking many lines of code and even adding whole new components to a game, when I only wanted to comment a few lines of code that I wrote the day before. You can never know when your muse will kiss you, but you can make sure to regularly check in on her and poke her in the eye until she finally agrees to go on a date with you … I think my analogy is falling apart at this point.

I remember reading The Artist’s Way about the process / the idea of just writing a page per day, just after waking up and letting whatever comes to mind flow onto paper. Just for yourself, for no one else to read. The book has much more to offer. The daily writing, was just an important part for me.

Each time after I read and followed the advice in this book, my creativity became more focused and I was in general feeling more productive whenever I was working. I think a big reason for this is the fact, that our heads are filled with worries, tasks, past experiences and that we sometimes have a hard time letting these go. By writing them down to paper, you give them a place outside of your head. Just like writing down all the things you still have to do on a simple list and then referring to the list, instead of constantly trying to remember it. This frees your head up for creative impulses and just more energy in general.

So let’s wrap up this post for today:

  • I recommend Write Or Die when you just need to get yourself to write something to escape the ‘Writer’s Block’
  • Writing down your thoughts and worries down on paper, will free your head to pursue other things and give you energy
  • Doing something for just a few minutes, can bring you into the groove and lead to the needed spark to get going