Posted by: faultlessfinish | March 21, 2011

Road-trippin’ to Freedom

Going on road trips is one of my absolute favourite things to do in the entire world. At the end of May, I’m heading to Washington for a huge music festival with some close friends. The other day, I started thinking about the essential parts of a good road trip and realized that freelancing is a lot like taking a road trip. Allow me to explain . . .

1) You have to go with people you like. I can’t imagine anything worse than spending hours in extremely close quarters with people I don’t get along with, especially on particularly long road trips. Similarly, I can’t imagine spending hours on a project that doesn’t remotely interest me or that I dread working on. When you first start freelancing, you may have to take whatever work comes your way to make ends meet. But once you’ve established yourself, take the time to pick and choose exactly which clients you want to work with. Enjoyable work will help keep you motivated and happy.

2) Plan ahead for bathroom breaks. Obviously bathroom breaks are essential, but they seem to be especially so for me. Just ask my parents – they’ve rolled their eyes at me a number of times. “You have to stop again?? We just did half an hour ago!” Everybody is different, but everybody needs bathroom breaks on a road trip at some point. And every freelancer has different productivity techniques and time management skills, but every freelancer needs to plan out breaks in his or her day. Five-minute breaks throughout the day help you to clear your mind and then come back to work more focused. Working towards a break can also motivate you to work harder because you know you only have a certain number of minutes to work before you have to stop.

3) Indulge in the junk food. I used to love the food my mom packed when we went on family road trips in the summer – sandwiches, apples, cookies, juice boxes, etc. But my favourite part of being on the road was stopping at random gas stations to load up on junk food. This still my favourite part today, but now that I’m older and more health-conscious, I sometimes find myself feeling guilty. “Maybe I should have just packed some fruit.” But then I remind myself that it’s OK to indulge. As a freelancer, it’s important to reward yourself and indulge in the things you love. Go out for a nice dinner after a good month, spend an afternoon hanging out with friends, or maybe even sleep in a few times – the best part of being a freelancer is the flexibility you can have with your time. So enjoy yourself – life’s not all about work (and nutritious food!).

4) Live in the moment. Although you usually have a destination in mind that you are looking forward to reaching while on a road trip, the trip there can be almost as fun. I love sticking my head out of the window and feeling my hair whip around while singing along at the top of my lungs to some bad pop song. There’s nothing more fun than finding an old CD with songs you loved when you were in high school. In the car, you’re simply living in the moment and having a blast. I think you can probably see where I’m going with this. I chose to be a freelancer so I could take control of my work and my life. Why would I not want to enjoy every minute? Obviously things can get pretty stressful and work won’t always be enjoyable, but it’s important to remain focused on your goals and stay positive overall. This moment is all we have – so live it! And if you aren’t enjoying what you’re doing, figure out what will make you happier.

5) Take pictures to look back on. I generally don’t like taking pictures. I find it an annoying task while I’m trying to live in the moment. But there’s nothing I enjoy more than checking out the photos my friends have taken after a trip. With this in mind, I’ve tried to get better at remembering to take pictures because I know how important they are. In the same way, I love looking back at past goals and visions for my business. It reminds me of how far I’ve come, and sometimes, looking back on old goals reminds me of something I would love to work towards that I had forgotten about. Constant self-evaluation and reflection is critical as a freelancer. And there is no greater feeling than knowing just how much you have accomplished.

To all my road trip buddies, past and present (especially my parents), thanks for all the great times! And thanks for your ongoing support of my freelance career.

Namaste 🙂

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