So, there I was, sitting in one of my favorite coffee shop/grocery stores, eating my date rolls and bananas, listening to The Jesus Lizard and drinking coffee. I thought to myself “Self, it’s a pretty typical Wednesday.” The location may change, but the modus operandi is pretty consistent. A few phone calls, some doodling, a bunch of work and a bunch of daydreaming. Daydreaming can get me into trouble, but as I mentioned earlier – it has to be done, and by God – I’m going to give it my all.
As I sat there basking in the glow of my wonderful little freelance life, I looked out the window for an hour or three – I don’t remember – and I found myself to be yearning to be set free from the shackles of my desk (booth.) And oddly, I was shackled there. Granted, the view was great, the coffee was pretty good and I didn’t have anyone telling me I HAD to sit there. I could pack up my Moleskines and my mouse and laptop and stand up and go somewhere else (another coffee shop, home, etc.,) but I also have these clients that expect me to actually get their work done. In the words of Cheech “Responsibility’s a heavy responsibility.”
But there’s a freedom that can’t be ignored. If I wanted to get up and spend a couple of hours out in the beautiful mountain air – I can. That’s terrific. But I also know that with that freedom comes a big responsibility. It’s not even that I have to answer to clients – I have to answer to myself. I have to end the day knowing that I put in a good effort. If I go to sleep knowing that I’ve not done a square day’s work, I have a hard time looking at myself. My cubicle isn’t in an office somewhere. My boss doesn’t have to come out and holler at me. My cubicle, my boss – all that yelling, is in my head. And it goes on 24/7.
The person with the “job” gets to shut it down at 5 and leave. It’s finite. The freelancer is a freelancer all day every day. It never rests – and that can be a serious shackle. You have to find ways to shut it down and regain a bit of life outside your freelance “job.”
And so – I give to you 10 ways to shut it down and escape the office. These are really some serious perks – but you have to be serious about taking them. Your down time is important for your sanity. Leave your “cubicle” and enjoy these:
The Top 100 Perks of Freelancing 51-60:
#60 – Kongregate.com – Shut off the email, turn off the phone and spend 10 minutes playing absurd games. Zombies, castles, guns, towers – you name it, they’ve got a game for it. Let’s see you play Abobo’s Big Adventure while you’re workin’ for the man.
#59 – Nature – it’s all around us, yet it can be ignored. I happen to live and work in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I’ll bet you do, too. Get out and stretch your legs, get some fresh air. It’s the ultimate in analog.
#58 – Take Your Shoes Off and Wiggle Your Toes – Sounds crazy, but give it a try. Take your shoes off and stretch your feet out and wiggle your toes. Get some blood circulating in your feet. You’d be surprised how invigorating that can be. You don’t have a cube buddy to complain about the smell. Just don’t do it in a coffee shop or restaurant. Or, at least don’t get caught doing it.
#57 – Change Your Shirt – tired? Stymied on a project? Hop up (if you’re at home) and change your shirt. Again, sounds weird – but a fresh shirt feels great, smells great and can kick-start your brain. The idea is to break the routine, take a few minutes off and “reboot.”
#56 – 3 Day Weekend – Oh, yes. You know what I’m talking about. If you can do this – do it. Take 3 whole days and don’t work. On anything. It really clears the brain, and you’d be surprised how many great ideas you can have when you’re not pressing yourself for ideas.
#55 – 4 Day Weekend – Really. If 3 is awesome, 4 is awesomer.
#54 – Tense Up Every Muscle in Your Body – take 2 minutes. Spend 10 seconds tensing every muscle, then 10 seconds relaxing every muscle. This gets the blood flowing and can relieve a lot of tension, which can help the ideas and the motivation flow. You can’t really do this in the traditional office setting, as you look rather odd doing it. You can do this in a coffee shop or in public if you don’t mind people looking at you and wondering what’s up. I don’t mind that look. I get that look anyway – no matter what I’m doing.
#53 – Blog – Start a personal blog that has nothing (or very little) to do with your job. Complain, review movies, post dumb lists – whatever. Just take some time to do something that has very little to do with your “job.” It helps restore sanity.
#52 – Clean the House – again, it’s about getting out of your routine and away from your “desk.” If you’re at home, a bit of cleaning can really help clear the cobwebs. It also helps you keep the place clean. Double prizes. If you’re working mobile, clean out your backpack or satchel or car. Just stop and clean and organize. Good for the soul, good for the psyche, good for the environment. Having tunafish rotting behind the speaker is NEVER a good thing.
#51 – Facebook – GASP! I said it. It can be a good way to get your head out of the cyclical thinking thing, get you away from working and it can kickstart ideas. It’s not JUST for time-wasting…