Or why being unproductive can be productive.
The guilt factor
One trap that many freelancers fall into (and I include myself in this – I’m terrible for it) is thinking they have to work as many available hours as possible. The guilt factor comes into play – surely if I’m not working, I’m selling myself short?
Hours at the desk
And, with this attitude firmly ingrained, they’ll spend as many hours at the desk as possible, staring at the computer screen. This inevitably leads to procrastination.
In fact, what happens is that, by dedicating so much time to work, you do as much in that time as you would in half the time under pressure. You plod rather than burst onto the page; you get distracted and draw the whole process out painfully.
Sometimes it is best, therefore, to do the counterintuitive thing. Instead of hunching over the laptop trying to force some inspiration out, it can be better to stop altogether. Go out, do some shopping, go for a walk, have a swim, watch a movie – something completely detached from work.
The great recharger
That break or day off can be a great recharger. When you come back to the task, you’ll probably have a lot more enthusiasm and zest. Personally, I find that a lot of my best ideas come when I’m not working – they’ll come from nowhere while I’m doing laps at the pool or walking in the Peak District. And I know it works much the same way for other freelancers.