Have you ever had a day where you just rocked it? You were able to get so much accomplished and felt amazing. But, for as many days that you feel productive, you’ve likely had just as many where you didn’t. In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about looking at your production over the course of a week, rather than day by day. We’ll discuss how this will help you to stop feeling like a failure and increase your overall satisfaction with your performance.
Working as a contractor or freelancer comes with a lot of mental challenges that you have to overcome. One of those big mental challenges is being ok with having days where you get a lot done and other days where you get next to nothing done. It’s really hard to overcome this, because you know on the days you’re not doing a lot, you won’t make as much money…if any at all.
Here are our tips on how to stop feeling like a failure because you didn’t get as much done on a day as you wanted to.
1. Accept That You Won’t Produce The Same From Day to Day
When you go to work for an employer, you’re paying the same amount of money no matter how much you produce. But, when you work for yourself, you are only paid when a project gets completed. The stakes are higher, and you notice the loss of production so much more than when you’re paid on an hourly basis no matter what you were able to accomplish.
The first thing you have to do is accept that you won’t (can’t) do the same amount of work from day to day. Even if you were working at an hourly rate job, this applies. It’s just the nature of us as humans. Some days you’ll be on fire and other days, you’ll struggle.
2. Track Your Hours
You know that saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun?” Well, the same goes for when you are working. If you are doing a job that feels effortless and easy, the time will fly. But, when you start working on something that is taking a lot more brainpower, time slows down. It can “feel” like it is taking forever. But, in actuality, it may not be taking you any longer.
This is why it is so important to track your hours on a project. Seeing the actual hour commitment for the task can help you see whether or not it really was taking you that long or it just felt like it.
One important thing about tracking your hours is that you have to be disciplined about clocking out when you get up and take a break. Or, when you switch your tasks to something else. Otherwise, you won’t get an accurate depiction of how long that specific task took you. Remember, you’re not being paid to use the bathroom or get distracted by your cellphone.
3. Divide Your Pay By The Hours You Worked
In every job I’ve ever held, including my own business, there are days when I think, “I’m not being paid enough to do this”. It’s important to not get sucked into that mindset, especially if you work for yourself. Instead, figure out how much you are actually being paid by the hour.
To do this, you will need to track all time that you work in a week. This time should include client communication, project setup, invoicing, etc. Take the amount of money you invoiced in the week and divide it by the number of hours you worked. This will let you see the average hourly rate you made that week.
Don’t stop at just one week. It’s best to do this for at least a month and see how it averages out over the course of a month. The reason for this is that you may have a week where you had a lot of extra things come up in your home, and you made less. On the other hand, you may have a week where nothing extra happened and your production was higher.
4. Work Hard When You Feel Productive
If you’re on a roll, lean into it as hard as you can. Let your motivation and feelings of triumph carry you to produce as much as possible. Think of it as storing up for a rainy day…or rather, an unproductive day. Ride the wave of motivation as long as you can.
5. Don’t Feel Guilty And Let Yourself Take a Break on Unproductive Days
When you work hard, you can play hard. On the days you don’t feel super productive, that’s ok. Don’t feel guilty, just take a break. Spend time with your family, call a friend, clean your house, read a book, or whatever it is you want to do with your time. Working for yourself brings you the benefit that you can take a day off or a few hours off when you want to.
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Until next week, get out there and start breaking the mental chains that are keeping you from producing!