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Looking After Yourself When Self-Employed

Working for yourself as a freelance developer can bring a lot of independence and freedom, but it can also bring a lot of stress and late nights. It doesn’t matter how successful you are as a developer if you don’t have your health, you don’t have much. Here we will look at how to be self-employed and successful whilst also looking after your health.

Stay Sociable

Working as a freelance dev can be particularly isolating, with many hours a day spent on a computer by yourself. It’s for this reason that it’s important to stay socially active, make plans in the evenings and weekends and make an effort to visit friends and family. Having a hobby is also a great way to unwind, meet new people and get your mind off your work.

Accept What You Can’t Control

It’s easy to make the mistake of trying to control everything as a freelancer in the hope all will go your way. You need to remember that sometimes things will not work out or go to plan, and that’s OK. Accepting what you can’t control is a great way to stop yourself stressing over things you can’t change.

Manage Client Expectations

One of the biggest causes of stress is failing to manage client expectations. Make sure all agreements made with clients are in writing and that you have a proper contract in place. If you feel you are unlikely to make a deadline or can’t complete a task, highlight it with the client as soon as possible to talk it over.

Eat Well and Stay Hydrated

When working for yourself it’s easy to let your work get in the way of healthy eating and drinking habits. Making sure to set aside time to prepare proper meals will not only give you a break from work, but make sure you are keeping your body fit and well. It’s important to keep a routine for yourself and eat at the same times every day, ensuring to drink plenty of water along the way.

Avoid Burnout

We all want to meet our targets and deadlines, but not at the expense of our health. If you are generating a lot of work, but suffering poor health as a result, you are likely to suffer from burnout sooner or later. What are the signs of burnout? Some of the most common signs of burnout are constant fatigue, being unable to focus on any task for long, constant feelings of stress and difficulty sleeping. If you feel you might be experiencing burnout, consult with your local health practitioner and try to take a break from work if you can, even if it is just in the evenings.

Learn to Say No

We all fall into the trap of agreeing to all of the client’s whims in fear of losing them. However, in doing so we end up agreeing to do too much and overworking ourselves. Unlike as an employee, we are entirely responsible for our own workloads and as such need to learn to say no. Make sure you keep a diary and a to-do list to avoid overwhelming yourself and agreeing to do more than you actually can.

Top comments (1)

rahoulb profile image
Rahoul Baruah

Great article. I would just add one tip that helps with almost more of them (but can be hard to do) - charge more