Oh hey 2019! I think it’s pretty much a resounding “didn’t see that one coming” for us all, I mean, weren’t we supposed to have flying cars by now? Nevertheless, the new year is here, and though we’re a few weeks in already, the month of January is all about hitting the refresh button on life. From new workout routines to new eating habits to new home accessories (I can’t be the only one who’s spent my past year’s earnings on making my space feel all shiny and new?!), most of us are updating the software on each area of our life, and for freelancers, it’s no different.
If you’re refreshing your life and want to include your freelance business in the mix, here are a few ways you might want to change things up in 2019:
Sort out your space
It’s mentioned a lot for good reason: having a workspace that inspires and motivates you is crucial to productivity, so taking a good, hard look at your desk, drawers and office space is advised if you want to feel refreshed going into another year of work. Chances are you’ve been stuffing papers into the same spot for the last 365 days, so it might be time to tip the whole drawer on the floor and finally sort through them. Channel your inner Marie Kondo, thank your desk for its service over the last year, and then clean like hell!
Explore a new workplace
If you feel you’ve outgrown working from your kitchen table, then 2019 could be the year you explore a new workplace. More specifically, you might need to start leaving your house to be around other entrepreneurial types if you want to be productive and grow your business this year. Take a look at the coworking space options near your home (the shorter the commute the more likely you are to go more often) and use January to do a few free trial days to get to know the space and see if it’s for you. A great place to start is the Croissant app which, as a member, lets you browse and book unreserved spots at coworking spaces in cities around the world.
Want a free 1-week trial and €15 off your first month? You can use Desk Life Project’s affiliate link by clicking here.
Have a digital tidy-up
If you’re anything like me, your desktop probably looks like the messy pin board you had on the wall in your uni halls, and don’t even get me started on those folders! If searching for files is starting to give you brain-ache, spend an afternoon organising it all. But be warned! Going in without a plan is a bad idea, as you’ll become overwhelmed pretty quickly. To avoid punching your screen in its cluttered little face, start by writing down on paper what you want your desktop to look like, and what folders you need for every part of your life, prioritising the most frequently used. Then you can create those folders, and start to drag things into each of them. Once you’ve dragged in everything that you really need in future, or that brings you joy (Kondo it up!), you should be left with a big bunch of stuff you can right-click-delete, and do a happy dance.
Set new habits with your accountability partner
Haven’t set a date to meet up with your favourite work buddy yet? Get out your diary. This is the best time to make plans, and there’s no point in making them if you don’t put a system in place for constant reminders, i.e. a partner to keep you accountable throughout the year. Set your own habits, sure, but book in a date with a friend soon to talk through your goals for the coming months and see how you can help each other to stay consistent and productive.
Put new boundaries in place
The new year is a great excuse for a lot of things, and why not use it to put some boundaries in place for pushy and time-consuming clients? If your year calendar was eaten up by people who didn’t respect your time, and the new year has begun in much the same way, then don’t be afraid to let them know that you are changing the way you work (i.e. your work hours, the times you will answer emails, etc.) in order to be more productive, and ask that they help you achieve this by staying within set boundaries for when they can email and call you, how far in advance they should book you for work, and when they should pay invoices. If they are clients worth keeping, they’ll understand and help you out.
Get your spreadsheets organised
With the tax return deadline looming *gulp*, it’s safe to say that many of us end up with regrets when we get out our book of receipts and load our income and expenses spreadsheet and realise that, despite how organised we felt all year, we somehow have about eleven months of records to catch up on. Do future-you a favour and start the year strong by creating an easy-to-use spreadsheet to document everything, and add weekly reminders to your calendar to prompt you to update as you go.
Enjoy a planning day
Planning my goals at the beginning of a year is one of my favourite things to do, and if you have a similar passion for planning but haven’t yet treated yourself to a day just sitting in your favourite cafe, pen and notebook in front of you, writing down what you want from the new year, then I suggest you add it to your to-do list for January. What clients do you want to pitch to? What’s your money goal for the year? What business hero would you absolutely love to talk to over a coffee? Writing these things down will help secure them in your mind and make sure your year is moving in the direction you want it to.
What are you doing to refresh your freelance life this month? Let us know in the comments!