Back to school is a popular concept – most countries see their kids going back to classrooms and books by the first or second week of September and to me it has always been like a second – or the real, even – beginning of the year, the academic – now professional – year. I also pay tax on 1st September so no date is more appropriate for starting afresh. Those of you who spent blissful weeks on holiday: I envy you! Yet, as you may remember from my first posts, I cannot detox like that completely because the back-to-work moment is going to have the best of me after such a long break. Nevertheless, it was hard for me to start travelling again, just a couple of days ago: the interpreting and conference season is upon me and I need to make sure the freelancing lifestyle does not get me burnt. So… New course, new life. Even Google has a new branding, so it says it all about new starts!
Strive to keep motivation high
How do I go about it then?
- new diary: I’ll get a new Moleskine or a new little diary to be motivated to start anew.
- refreshing your calendar: I use a combo of iCal and Google Cal so I’ll see whether anything needs updating there.
- planplanplan: having clear goals helps e.g. TSF runs on a very well defined editorial calendar and it helps me stay focused and always be on top of all posts and assets. The same can be done for any business really.
- pay tax & duties – depending on your fiscal year of course, I normally do this in Sept. also, you may want to check all your memberships and see whether it’s worth it or not to keep going on with them (same for the gym!)
- revisit finances and expenses, direct debits – it helps motivate you to do more or even increase the turnover. But don’t let it bring you down in case like me you feel that sometimes all you do is chasing money for a living! #freelancelife, right?
- run a back-up of work files: as my fiscal year and admin runs from Sept, it makes sense for me to also backup all folders of work and start afresh with the counting.
- clean up folders and papers you don’t need (go paperless if poss at all) both from your desk and your archives.
You always need to make sure the freelancing lifestyle does not get you burnt out too quickly.
Ultimately, I’d like to go ahead now and start a strict(er) routine. Some bits and pieces I may introduce are not new but rather a way to trick myself into discipline:
- find headspace (you can use the app called HeadSpace, btw!)
- tidy up your desk – yet again, if messy is your style, keep it.
- update tools, software and subscription – e.g. September is Apple’s keynote’s month and with it new releases often come out. I’ve just upgraded my Parallels Desktop an Office Word and Windows has offered new updates too.
- run an UnrollMe: get rid of all the unwanted yet unnoticed subscriptions that drive your inbox to the limit.
- wake up early/earlier for a week solid: it’s hard but you can try and it’s definitely going to help you sync back to normal life. On holidays, we tend to do things that get away from routine so it’s good to give yourself a bit of discipline for a week or so and all will go into place again. It worked for me after Japan and a crazy July of work, so trust me on this.
- take it easy: you cannot be 100% on Day 1, so just take a moment to recognise that and let yourself make mistakes.
- revisit your NY’s goals and resolutions: are you still on track?
- visualise goals: and keep motivation high
- meet up: sharing good memories of your holidays with friends and family is a good way to let it out and move on, with a smile on your face.
- do what you hate first: for me it’s emails with long explanations, or quotations. It takes time and sometimes the recipient keeps you waiting for ages. Still, get them out of the way and move on. Also, I like going to train in the afternoon but I am increasingly seeing the benefits of going before 9am to exercise and be done with it.
- leave your notifications on: don’t procrastinate already and reply to email straight away to get into the pace again.
Of course, needless to say that food is a big component – make sure you’re fully loaded with the nutrients you need to be sharp minded and awake. My poison is nuts and coffee, as you do 🙂