There are a lot of advantages to being a freelancer, but one of the downsides is perks. Vacations, health insurance, breaks—these are benefits you have to provide yourself. And it’s easy to overlook them. It’s important for freelancers to take care of themselves.
So we’re exploring self care for freelancers by talking with some experts.
Today we talk with freelancer turned entrepreneur Brian Casel. His latest company is AudienceOps. He also helps freelancers productize their business and shares his insights in two podcasts, Bootstrapped Web and the Productize Podcast.
“My eating, exercise and sleep directly impact my work and my business.” -Brian Casel
We talk about the value of self care, the bonus of a flexible schedule and the anticipation value of a vacation.
When did you learn it was important to take care of yourself? What convinced you to take it seriously?
I’ve been conscious of my health for a few years now, but honestly have struggled to stay consistent about eating healthy and exercise. Like most people, I go in and out of it.
But the thing that motivates me to stay healthy the most is that I’ve recognized that my eating, exercise and sleep directly impact my work and my business. It’s pretty simple really: When I eat like shit and don’t exercise, I find it harder to focus and execute on my work.
With the sedentary nature of coding/office work, how do you stay healthy?
Last year, I started using an adjustable standing desk. I try to spend about half the day standing. When sitting for a while, I try to take breaks, walk around and go outside frequently.
A benefits package is something most freelancers leave behind with the 9-to-5. What kind of perks—whether daily treats or once-in-a-while benefits—do you give yourself?
The flexible schedule is probably the best perk. Also working from my home office is nice too. These allow me to spend more time with the kids, take long lunch breaks, etc. I have also blocked off Fridays from having any calls, so that I’m free to work on fun projects or take a long weekend.
How do you make time for vacations and then ensure they’re actually restful?
I heard somewhere that the anticipation for an upcoming travel vacation is 90% of the payoff, and that’s definitely the case for me and my wife. [Yep, this is one of the lessons from the science of happier spending in our Happy Freelancer series.] We almost always have our next vacation planned. If we don’t have some kind of getaway planned in the next few months, we (especially me!) get antsy and it makes work less enjoyable.
I like hustling for a few weeks knowing that at some point soon I’ll reach a “finish line” when I allow myself to say I’m done, I’m ready to disconnect and go have some fun.
Now whether I actually do shut down the phone and laptop while traveling, that’s a different story.
Read more freelance advice from Brian Casel.