The daily hustle can be exhausting for contractors. Whether you manage large teams or work mostly by yourself, there are dozens of challenges that present themselves and a lot of the time you’re not even able to relax during weekends and holidays because you have work that needs to be done.
It’s quite common for contractors to consist of one or two people working as a company and therefore, wearing many hats. Combine the heavy workload with the stress of building your brand and even the most resilient will learn the hard way how to deal with everything on their backs.
But there are ways to deal with stress. Some of it is down to attitude, but a lot of it is down to practical tips that you can apply immediately. Let’s focus on keeping you sane while working as a contractor, so you can work focused, relax more, and stay healthy!
Obstacles are part of the progress
This is a common misconception but one that is understandable: we’re used to seeing obstacles as signs to stop. If there are too many obstacles, it’s easy (and far more convenient) to assume you’re going the wrong way and it’s time to turn back.
But when it comes to business, that’s not always the case: struggle is part of progress.
And in the business world, I’m sure you know how Steve Jobs started inside a simple suburban garage and had several failed businesses for years – including a notorious event in which he was fired from his own company. Years later, he surpassed his former company and bought it back.
The point is, hardships will always happen.
You’re not supposed to start each project hoping nothing will go wrong, because the more you have on your lap, the more things can go wrong. The secret is to look at obstacles not as reasons to quit, but as steps you have to take towards your goal.
Your work routine can contribute a lot to how stressed you feel on a daily basis. It’s important to get a few things right and use any means you can to make it easier on yourself.
Follow a healthy routine. I get it – sometimes, you just have to work long hours. I’ve done it and I’m sure a lot of other people have also done it. But working yourself to death is no guarantee of success. Do your best to follow a healthy work routine that respects your time.
Know your limits. Some people can work all day, some people need breaks. I prefer working in short productive bursts punctuated by short breaks, because my work allows for that. If you’re just starting it might be hard to tell, but with time you’ll know your limits and I say it’s wise to respect them. Pushing is good, absolutely, but we’re only human. Once you know how many calls you can take, how many jobs you can chase, how many hats you can wear at once, you should respect that.
It’s important to remember that if you’re struggling, it’s not because you’re not capable. Maybe you’re just handling too much at once and it’s time to hire some help or learn how to better manage your workload.
Working from home
Whether you’re working from home as a necessity due to the pandemic or just because it’s more convenient not to stay in an office, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, due to the overwhelming amount of work you have to deal with, it’s important to set some boundaries for yourself when it comes to work hours. Try to follow a schedule and leave work in the home office or desk when you’re done. There’s no worse feeling than walking around the house with work on your back.
Care for your body and mind. Your body is your greatest tool and you only have one, so treat it kindly. Do your best to stretch, check up if anything hurts, eat healthy snacks, and even meditate if you have a hard time relaxing.
Finally, make an effort to keep the working space professional. This helps in keeping a work mentality when you enter the room, but also makes it easier to quickly start video calls when necessary – which should be incredibly useful.
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