Hedonic Treadmill: How to Break the Endless Cycle of Unhappiness and Be Truly Happy

Hedonic Treadmill: How to Break the Endless Cycle of Unhappiness and Be Truly Happy

How are you? 

Really. How are you truly feeling today? Are you happy? Sad? Or just neutral?

More often than not, we are not 100% happy for today. Ever wondered why we couldn’t be happy all the time?

For example, you might have experienced getting something like the latest phone today, and you were so happy that you’re one of the first to snag the coveted gadget. But after some time (usually around 1 to 2 weeks), you suddenly don’t feel that much happiness with it anymore.

It’s like a cycle that never ends. And there’s actually a term for it — the Hedonic Treadmill.

 

Understanding the Hedonic Treadmill

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Understanding the Hedonic Treadmill

The Hedonic Treadmill (or the Hedonic Adaptation) is a theory that happiness has a baseline. It was first identified by Brickman and Campbell in their study “Hedonic Relativism and Planning the Good Society (1971)”, the hedonic treadmill describes the cyclical nature of happiness.

And when we become happier (or sadder), there will come a time where we go back to this baseline. The baseline can be seen in this graph:

 

As you can see, as we go far from the baseline, there will be a tipping point when we go back to being neutral to a certain trigger. 

Similar to the phone example a while ago, if you receive a large pay raise, you will be happy for quite some time. But after a few months, it will be the new normal, and you’re not really ecstatic about it as much as before. 

That explains why rich people are not always happier compared to poor people — that this happiness is temporary.

On the other hand, if something awful happens to you like breaking up with someone, there will be a time that you moved on. This sadness is also temporary.

 

Determining the Happiness Baseline

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Determining the Happiness Baseline

According to her book “The How Happiness,” Sonja Lyubomirsky theorizes that 50% of our happiness baseline is genetic, 10% are determined by external factors, and 40% is set by our actions, perspective, and attitude. 

Some are genetically predisposed to loneliness and depression. Scientists have isolated a gene linked to people with recurrent depression. Also, the ability of your body to produce serotonin (the “happy” hormone) affects this.

What’s good is that we have 40% that we can control. And that percentage is substantial enough to make a difference. Now lies the question, how do you use this new knowledge to be happier?

 

Make Gradual Changes for Your Happiness

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Make Gradual Changes for Your Happiness

Imagine that you have a pay raise, now you can finally buy all the things you eyed for so long. Eat out at the restaurants you always wanted. But again, your happiness level will just return to normal once you are accustomed to it.

One glaring example is lottery winners. It’s probably the biggest pay raise you can get in a lifetime. But why do lottery winners become bankrupt within 9 months to 5 years? And most have returned back (some even worse) to the happiness level they had before?

Aside from poor money decisions, it’s because they made all the changes abruptly. Most of the lifestyle adjustments they did are called “pleasures” which researchers have described as fleeting and as quick bursts of happiness. 

I’m not saying to forego any pleasure because having that burst of happiness can lead to an upward spiral of happiness throughout the day or week. It can even be a shield to stress. 

But then, getting them all at once will quickly dissipate the feeling you get from it. So if you get a raise or freed up some extra cash, better make slow changes to make most out of your happiness.

 

When Something Bad Happens, Change As Much As You Can

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When Something Bad Happens, Change As Much As You Can

On the other hand, when something bad happens, people change things gradually. When they get a large pay cut, they slowly take out expenses. They gradually change their lifestyle choices. And this prolongs their sadness.

So as much as you can, change everything all at once. For the example above, list all the expenses and lifestyle choices you can forego, and implement them all at once. Take out your night outs, Netflix, premium toilet paper, and so on.

If you had a breakup, maybe get a haircut, delete the phone number, or burn all the photos (okay, maybe just stash them without harming anyone). Do it all at once! So that when you recover, you go back to the neutral baseline of happiness faster.

 

Get a Hobby or Find Something Exciting to Do Once in a While

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Get a Hobby or Find Something Exciting to Do Once in a While

Life is not all about work. You need the right amount of pleasure to make it more meaningful. To make your life fresh, get a new hobby or do something exciting once in a while. In this way, you have something to look forward to every time. 

 

Have a Gratitude Habit

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Have a Gratitude Habit

Being thankful for something boosts our happiness in life. For one, if you start writing down the top 5 things you are grateful for every day, you are suddenly aware of the small things around you. 

You can also do volunteer work or charity work to express your gratuity. This mindfulness makes us appreciate our lives; however simple it may seem.

 

Set Meaningful Goals

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Set Meaningful Goals

The Hedonic Treadmill plays on time. The more we are accustomed to something, the faster we go back to our happiness baseline. 

When we do something that is slightly harder than our skills, time stops, and we enter a state of flow. This excitement and enjoyment improve our quality of life. That’s why setting meaningful goals will prolong this happiness.

 

Nurture Your Relationships

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Nurture Your Relationships

Lastly, no man is an island. Humans are social beings that can nurture each other. According to research, our brain works better if we are interacting with other people. Also, most people who are alone have higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. 

There are multiple times when all we need is someone to talk to during a bad day. That’s why we should nurture meaningful relationships to be happier. 

 

Conclusion

With that, let’s break the cycle and be happier in our career and our lives. Cheers!

 

Freelancing Productivity: How to use the Focused Mode and Diffused Mode of Thinking to Get More Things Done

Freelancing Productivity: How to use the Focused Mode and Diffused Mode of Thinking to Get More Things Done

Our freelancing career can blossom if we can do more things in a given time. And the income jumps even more if we can solve bigger and harder problems for different clients. And the fact that it’s hard, it’s not something routinary that everyone can do.

I mean. How can you think of many creative ideas for your clients? It might be your problem as well. That’s where the Focused Mode and Diffused Mode of thinking comes into play.

 

Understanding the Two Modes of Thinking

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Understanding the Two Modes of Thinking

Before we can use these two modes of thinking, we must understand what they are. Focused-mode is quite apparent. It’s time you are intensely focused on a task without getting distracted from your environment. 

On the other hand, the diffused mode is when you let your mind wander freely — letting it think whatever comes to mind. Usually, this happens when you do something else like play a random game, take a shower, or walk at the park. 

 

So Which Is Better_

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So Which Is Better? 

Now, you might be thinking that one is better than the other. Not exactly.

If you only used focused mode, there will be times that you will be stuck in a problem. And focusing more on something you can’t answer (at least now) will not magically give you the answer.

On the other hand, using only diffused mode is aimless and quite chaotic. You will not finish any task at all. The best way is to use both interchangeably.

Did you ever had that moment where you are focused on something, let’s say a puzzle, and you can’t seem to solve it? So you decided to sleep first. And magically, when you awoke, you now have the answer!  It is a situation where both the focused mode and diffused mode are working hand-in-hand. 

 

Focused Mode First, Diffused Mode After

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Focused Mode First, Diffused Mode After

When you are focused on something, you utilize the prefrontal cortex, which stores short-term memory and current tasks. But sometimes, you can only do so much. 

When you rest and do something else for relaxation, your brain still works subconsciously on the problems you were too focused on. (Take note: You really need to be focused intensely for this to work.)

It connects your thoughts with other disciplines you know and allows creative solutions to come out. Your brain works in the background. So this rest period is quite productive.

 

Conclusion

With that, we can intentionally be mindful of our thinking modes. With the interchange between the two modes, we can make sure to deliver quality work to our clients.

I hope you solve more problems for your freelancing clients with this new skill! Good luck!

Tips to Take Advantage of Deep Work for Your Freelancing Career

Tips to Take Advantage of Deep Work for Your Freelancing Career

Freelancing can give the balance we want in our lifestyles. We have the freedom and time flexibility to juggle our passions, family time, and our careers. But we need to be disciplined enough to handle all the distractions we have with this freedom.

And we can use “Deep Work” to our advantage. 

 

What is Deep Work_

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What is Deep Work?

Ever had those moments when you have just a short amount of time to finish your work, and suddenly you have this intense focus that resulted in the perfect output your clients love? You were so in the zone that all the ideas just kept flowing in at record time.  

That, my friend, might be a deep work session. 

According to Cal Newport, the writer of “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World,” Deep Work is a professional activity performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes one’s cognitive abilities to your limit. This type of concentration produces topnotch work that is hard to be copied by everyone. 

Examples of deep work might be strategizing on how to market yourself to clients or brainstorming for possible marketing pitches and campaigns for your client.

Conversely, shallow work is non-cognitive work that can be done while distracted. Since it’s something easy or almost mindless to-do, you don’t get a competitive advantage over that work. It doesn’t add much value.

An example is organizing your emails alphabetically or typing the birthdates of your teammates from Facebook.

 

We All Have the Power

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We All Have the Power

The good news is we all have the capability to do deep work. The bad news is the world is so distracted, we don’t do it enough or at least intentionally. Imagine the value we can create by harnessing the power of deep work at our will, how different will your freelancing career be? 

With that, here are tips to take advantage of deep work for your freelancing career. 

 

Schedule Your Deep Work

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Schedule Your Deep Work

Firstly, you need to intentionally find time to do deep work. Deep work is a skill that everyone can learn. But like a muscle, it needs to be practiced to strengthen more. On maximum, a person adept in deep work can do around 4 hours per day in 60 to 90-minute intervals. 

This might be lower when you’re just starting. Here are 4 schedule philosophies that you can choose from.

 

Monastic Philosophy and Bimodal Philosophy of Deep Work Scheduling

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Monastic Philosophy and Bimodal Philosophy of Deep Work Scheduling

The first two philosophies are quite extreme. The Monastic Philosophy is secluding yourself from all the distractions in the world pretty much like how monks and nuns are cloistered, while Bimodal Philosophy is secluding yourself for certain timeframes. It can be weeks, months, and even bi-annually. 

Although these two are the most effective, it might not be an ideal setup for freelancers because you need to communicate with your clients online. You can’t be disconnected for long periods of time. 

 

Rhythmic Philosophy of Deep Work Scheduling

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Rhythmic Philosophy of Deep Work Scheduling

The next two are probably a better fit for freelancers. The Rhythmic philosophy entails incorporating deep work in your work rhythm. As freelancers, we probably have the time flexibility. 

We can schedule our commitments. And we know the best time to work based on our natural tendencies. Are you an early-riser, or are you a night owl

Schedule deep work on your best hours to reap more productivity. 

 

Journalistic Philosophy of Deep Work Scheduling

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Journalistic Philosophy of Deep Work Scheduling

What if you don’t have a fixed schedule? Sometimes, our freelancing career might be on-call. Or we just like that productive chaos of arranging meetings and commitments back-to-back.  If you have so much going on, how can you do deep work? The Journalistic Philosophy of deep work scheduling is for you.

Similar to how journalists work, they need to be on-the-go with the latest happenings around their area. At their downtimes, they write as fast as they can to deliver the time-sensitive news the public needs. But they don’t know their exact schedules or when certain events will happen.

They take advantage of the pockets of downtime they have to do deep work. If your schedule is also erratic, having the journalistic philosophy might suit you.

 

Building a Deep Work Routine

Now that you have chosen your desired scheduling philosophy that will fit you. It’s time to build a deep work routine. Your routine will be heavily influenced by the following factors:

  • Location
  • Duration
  • Structure
  • Requirements

 

Location

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Location

We associate our surroundings with certain habits we have. For example, we feel sleepy when we are on our bed. In the same way, we can associate certain places for deep work. It might be your home office space, a corner in a cafe, or a plane ride. 

As long as you’re in that location, you are doing deep work.

 

Duration

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Duration

To be intentional, you need to set how long you will do deep work. It’s like a muscle you need to train.

For starters, a 15-25 minute session is a good start. If you do this consistently, you can work your way up to around 60-90 minutes per deep work session at around 4 hours per day.

 

Structure

You will have to set rules for your deep work session. Something like, you are not allowed to use your phone, or you need to be seated the whole time for the deep work session. 

 

Requirements

The same with associating your location, you can associate rituals to your deep work session. For example, if you start the Pomodoro timer or if you open your laptop, you are in deep work. 

 

Make Sure You Rest

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Make Sure You Rest

Life is not all about work. You need to rest and enjoy your life as well. And the practice of deep work acknowledges that. 

The amount of deep work we can do is finite. By resting, you can recharge your ability to do it again tomorrow. With that, I hope you take advantage of this new superpower in your freelancing career! Good luck! 

 

How to Limit Distractions to Be Productive in your Freelancing Career

How to Limit Distractions to Be Productive in your Freelancing Career

The freelancing market has provided opportunities that can help us have work-life balance. You can now work from anywhere you want and have more time for the things that matter the most. It might be more time for your family, your passion projects, travels, and more! Name it — the options are endless.

But the options you have are directly proportional to the productivity you can deliver. The problem is, we are faced with too many distractions in this world. Why are we distracted? And how do we limit distractions to get more productivity?

 

How Our Brains Work

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How Our Brains Work

It all starts with how our brain works. Based on research from Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley, our brains focus on “bursts of attention” rather than a continuous flow. Think about it like a video. A video is a set of photographs stitched together to produce a motion picture. 

In terms of numbers, our brain scans the most important thing to do for around 4 times per second. Usually, it deems the things that are immediately pleasurable or life-threatening more important over the rest. 

So in a span of 45 minute focus times, you are essentially combining 4 times per second in a span of 45 minutes.

This is because of how we protect ourselves from olden times. Back then, there might be a predator or some natural disaster looming around us. One simple mistake might cause you and your family’s lives. 

It’s still useful today to avoid accident-prone situations like safely avoiding fast cars on the road or stopping us from touching a blazing-up oven (based on actual experience). But this overly sensitive scanning is not helpful when we want to focus on important tasks.

The question is, how do we limit these distractions from ruining our freelancing careers? 

 

Take the Source Of Distraction Out of Sight

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Take the Source Of Distraction Out of Sight

Our willpower is not enough to stop us from getting distracted. When the object of distraction is right in front of us, we can only do so much.

Knowing this, why not just take out the object away from our sight? If you are distracted with your phone, put it in another room. 

If social media notifications distract you, why not block the website for some time? You can use applications such as Self Control and Freedom App.

You can also use the Pomodoro method to trick your brain into doing your tasks well. With this, our brains won’t scan anything else more important than the task we are doing now.

 

Change the Environment

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Change the Environment

What if your environment is the cause of distractions? For example, you are working in your living room with the TV at full blast, or maybe you are in a place near a construction site?

You can’t really take them all out. Why not transfer and have a change of environment? There are plenty of places you can find to have that productivity boost. Armed with your highly mobile laptops, you can work in cafes or coworking spaces that are quiet enough for productivity. 

Know yourself and your productivity requirements and be creative in finding the best places to work in.

 

Have a Dedicated Workspace

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Have a Dedicated Workspace

Maybe, you haven’t declared a dedicated workspace for your freelancing career. If you have an extra room or space that’s quiet enough, why not make it your dedicated workspace? 

When you see your bedroom, you associate it with sleep. Similarly, you associate your workspace with productivity. 

 

Distracting Parenting Duties

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Distracting Parenting Duties

When your distractions are your kids, you don’t actually want them gone in your lives. But they can be really a pain in the ****. Luckily, there are ways to balance your freelancing career while parenting.

Check out this guide for creative tips to handle your naughty kids.

 

Conclusion

Distractions are certainly a major problem in our freelancing productivity. But with the proper tools and mindset, you can do your tasks well to achieve your goals! Good luck!

 

Pomodoro Technique: Your Tool to Get More Focused in a Distracted World

Pomodoro Technique: Your Tool to Get More Focused in a Distracted World

We are plagued with distraction. We know that we need to be productive to reach our dreams. But we keep on checking our phones for social media updates or that “casual browsing break” for online shopping.  How can we battle this distraction tug of war to improve our freelancing career? 

One way to battle distraction is through the Pomodoro technique.  

 

It Plays on How Our Minds Work

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It Plays on How Our Minds Work

No, we’re not eating pasta. The Pomodoro technique was discovered by Francesco Cirillo during the 1980s. In a nutshell, you breakdown your tasks into bite-sized 25-min “Pomodoro sessions” and taking a 5-minute break in between.

Based on research by Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley, our minds work in bursts of attention. Think about a video clip. It comprises multiple pictures stitched together to produce a recorded moving motion.

Our minds are the same. It scans for the most important information around 4 times per second. So if you are working for 25 minutes straight, it’s like combining that 4 times per second in a span of 25 minutes. 

It is useful during ancient times because we need to be aware of the information around us. A predator might attack us, or a natural disaster might be looming our way. It can spell the difference between surviving or not.

In modern times, it protects us from accidents. But the hyperactive scanning of our brain gets us distracted with all the information present around us.

 

Why Does It Work

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Why the Pomodoro Technique Works

It plays on how our minds are designed. We are easily distracted because there is so much information to process around us. And our brain chooses to do the most satisfying one. For example, social media induces spikes of dopamine, the “happy hormone.” So we are easily distracted by every social media notification ring we can get.

The Pomodoro technique stops that. The timer tells our brain that for this 25-minutes, this is the most important task in front of you. This is what you should be doing. 

And in case we get cues for distractions, it’s easy to say, “I’ll finish this first. After all, it’s just 25 minutes.” And your 5-minute break is like your reward for doing the task well.

 

How Does It Work

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This is How You Do It:

Now, what’s left is actually to use it. This is how.

  1. First, get a Pomodoro Timer. It can be a traditional Pomodoro timer or an app on your devices such as the Pomotodo App or the  Forest App. 
  2. Start the timer for 25-minutes. You have to focus on just your task for that time — no phones, no social media. Just your task. 
  3. After the 25-minute Pomodoro, you can rest for 5-minutes. 
  4. You can do whatever you want in your well-deserved 5 minutes. It can be a quick browse on social media. A 5-minute game. Gobble up something in 5 minutes. Anything you want!
  5. Take note, after every 4 Pomodoros, you can take longer breaks (around 15minutes to 30 minutes) to help you relax for the next cycle.
  6. And repeat the Pomodoro cycle again.

 

Conclusion

Yes, it’s that easy! Right now, try out the Pomodoro technique and see the difference in your productivity. Good luck!

 

How to Create an Effective To-Do List for Your Freelance Career

How to Create an Effective To-Do List for Your Freelance Career

We have to be productive to succeed in freelancing. Time is our most valuable resource, and if we can do more things in a given amount of time, we can achieve our goals faster. One way to do that is by creating an effective to-do list. Here is how to create one.

 

Limit to 10 Tasks a Day

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Limit to 10 Tasks a Day

Yes, you might have used a checklist of some sort. But how often did you finish all of it? Was it helpful, or was it just a list of to-dos that you can’t seem to finish at all.

Check your to-do list. Dozens of tasks might populate it. We are all busy! But if you are paralyzed with the mountain of tasks you listed. You will be busy forever.

Limit your to-do list to 10 a day so that you won’t be overwhelmed. Aim to clear them by the end of the day. If after, you still have time to do more. That’s when you tick-off other tasks.

 

Prioritize the Most Important Task

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Pareto Principle: Prioritize the Most Important Task

Next is knowing what tasks to prioritize. With this, the Pareto principle comes in handy. It states that 20% of your tasks are attributable to 80% of your results. So in all your tasks, check the top 2-3 tasks you need to do to create 80% of the results.

Even if for some reason or emergency and you can’t finish all your tasks today, you can still get results when you finish the top three critical tasks. 

 

Group Similar Tasks Together

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Group Similar Tasks Together

Often, we have tasks that are alike. These can be tasks to send emails, call leads, reply to messages. Why not cluster them together to save you time?

Our brain has a lag time when we switch tasks. If we do similar tasks in the same timeframe, we can avoid this. So if you have emails to be sent to your suppliers, clients, and sponsors, do them in the same hour.

 

Breakdown Large Tasks

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Breakdown Large Tasks

Some tasks take too much effort to do. Sometimes, knowing this can overwhelm us from doing it. It’s time to break down large tasks into smaller pieces. After all, how do you eat an elephant? It’s one bite at a time. 

If you need to write an ebook, you can make subtasks like “research ideas” or “organize the chapter titles.” With this, you know that you are progressing — one step at a time.

 

Set Realistic Deadlines

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Set Realistic Deadlines

The last thing is to put realistic deadlines. If we just do our tasks without targeting a completion date, we might become complacent and never finish anything at all.

Be mindful, though. Some people set impossible deadlines and are left disappointed. Deadlines like “I will earn 1,000,000 this year” with no experience in freelancing. I’m not saying you can’t do it. I’m just saying you need to gauge the possibilities and your skills. And adjust the timeline accordingly.

 

Conclusion

Now, you can start writing your to-do lists. You can use your trusty pen and paper or download some reliable apps like:

  • Google Task
  • Microsoft To-Do
  • Todoist
  • Any.do

With that, I hope you can create the perfect checklist that can bring you to 100% productivity! Good luck!

 

How to Set SMART Goals for your Freelancing Career

How to Set SMART Goals for your Freelancing Career

As freelancers, our time is our most valuable asset. The more clients we can serve in a given time, the more we can earn our goals. But these goals are not so easy to get. There are times when we set goals but fail to get them. And it’s frustrating! 

But worry not. If other people can hit their goals, you can too! You just have to be SMART! Yes, that capitalization is intentional. This is how to make your goals SMART!

 

What are SMART Goals?

In November 1981, George T. Doran, the consultant and former Director of Corporate Planning for Washington Water Power Company, created the acronym SMART in his paper “There’s a SMART Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.” to help people set meaningful goals. SMART means:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound

 

Specific

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Specific

If you say, “My goal is to be productive today.” What do you want to be productive about? Is it in your work? Your dishes? Your mobile game?! You need to make your goals as specific as possible to focus on it.

 

Measurable

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Measurable

Anything you don’t measure, you don’t improve. And we need to know if we are progressing in our goals. Like in fitness, you measure your progress by using a weighing scale.

So if your goal is to earn this much money in your writing career, estimate how many articles you should finish per month. If it’s graphic design, check how many clients you shold be talking to. 

If you check your statistics and you are far from hitting the goal, you can readjust your course and strategies to hit it. And you wouldn’t have known if you haven’t been measuring.

 

Actionable

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Actionable  

“People tend to overestimate what can be done in one year and to underestimate what can be done in five or ten years.” This famous adage is applicable more than ever.

People try to set audacious goals and feel bad when they don’t hit it. Lose 100 kg this year. Earn 1 Million this year. And with constant defeat, it kills us inside one failed goal at a time. 

This has to change! What you can do is set actionable goals. Try using the “MTO method.”

MTO means “Minimum, Target, Outrageous.” For example, in a month, you need 30 articles to reach your desired income. You can set an MTO goal like

  • 20 Minimum
  • 30 Target
  • 50 Outrageous

In this way, if you hit your minimum, you won’t feel bad that you’re not reaching your goals. And just in case you hit your target, you won’t be complacent and might try to target the outrageous one. 

 

Relevant

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Relevant

Next is to make your goals relevant. If your target is earning an X amount of money in writing, you might not want to study graphic design for now. It is a good side goal, but if you are pressed with time, focus on tasks that are relevant to the outcome you want.

 

Timebound

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Time-Bound

Goals are dreams with deadlines. If you remember your high school years, how many times did a teacher assign a project with a deadline at the end of the quarter? 

And when did you actually start doing it? Probably 1 week before the end of the quarter. Or for most, the day before the deadline.

Imagine if the project doesn’t have any deadline, you probably won’t make it anymore. That’s why you need a deadline for your goals. 

A deadline gives you the urgency to do it. It also gives you the flexibility to plan your strategy well.  If you are targeting 30 articles for your freelance writing business, you can plan to make at least 7 – 8 articles per week. 

And just in case your plan doesn’t go well, you can adjust accordingly. For example, if by the second week, you just have 10 articles written, you can adjust your strategy to hit your target still.

 

It’s Not a One Time Process

Now that you can make your SMART goals, remember that it’s not a one time process. 

Our goals evolve over time. After every action, you need to reevaluate your goals. And readjust your strategies to reach your goals. Cheers to achieving your freelancing goals this year! 

 

Parenting 101: How to Balance Your Freelancing Career While Parenting

Parenting 101: How to Balance Your Freelancing Career While Parenting

Most parents dream of having the time to take care of their children. But how can you do that with your office work? Traffic alone consumes most of your time. Not to mention, most are exhausted when they arrive home.

With freelancing, it is not a dream anymore. You can have the flexibility to be with your children in their formative years. 

But when you were actually there, did it become easier? Was it easy to work while your kid is out on the loose — climbing the highest point in your house, ready to jump?

We feel you. That’s why we give you these 8 tips to balance your freelancing career while parenting.

 

Tell Your Clients

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Tell Your Clients

First of all, being a parent is not a disadvantage for your remote work. But it would be if you don’t manage your client’s expectations. If they picture you as someone too distracted to actually do work, you might not have a client anymore.

Your clients should know that you are a parent. And that it won’t affect your productivity. Surprisingly, most clients would accept that as long as you deliver the desired output.

 

Focus on Tasks One at a Time

It’s hard when you are juggling two full-time professions at once. Kudos to the people who can do it. But can you really work while typing your articles with your left hand while carrying your baby at the right? Even if you can, how would the articles look like with your divided attention?

And that’s for passive freelancing roles. Imagine doing that on active roles like telemarketing? You need to focus on tasks one at a time.

 

Get Some Help Family, Babysitter, Daycare Centers

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Get Some Help: Family, Babysitter, Daycare Centers

You might think, how can you do that when you have a child who has no respect for your schedule? I mean, your one-year-old baby needs to be fed when they want to. And you need to look out when your kid decides to play with your extension cords. It’s time-consuming.

Consider getting some help. Most grandparents would love to take care of their grandchildren. If they are not available, a babysitter would be ideal. A babysitter can allow you your much-needed peace during work hours. 

If your child is a little older, you can try daycare centers. Not only can they run around like crazy with supervision, but they can also learn new things and socialize at an early age. 

The good thing is, you have the flexibility to check-up on your child in person during your self-appointed break times. 

 

Follow a Schedule

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Follow a Schedule

When you are working remotely with a kid, you need to make every second count. What’s the use of getting help when you don’t have a structured schedule to maximize productivity? 

Now that you are balancing two demanding roles, you need to be disciplined enough to follow a schedule. 

Visualize your day. What is the priority? You will be working on what hours? You need to strategize to be an effective parent and freelancer.

 

Savor Your Downtimes

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Savor Your Downtimes

But again, your kid doesn’t care about your schedule. So you have to be flexible and savor your downtimes. 

Most likely, you will see a pattern. What hour of the day are your kids sleeping? When they are calm, do you decide to work on your to-dos or watch another episode on Netflix? You need to make the most out of your time. 

And if parenting is important to you, your extra 10-20 minutes of downtime can work wonders with your productivity. You can even use the Pomodoro method to ensure that fruitful pockets of time.

 

Increase Your Rates

Even with all these, parenting might provide us less and less time. We can’t be hustling 100% of our time anymore. The good thing, we can control our rates in freelancing.

Check your schedule. How much time can you give to your clients? And set the rate that could make it all worth it. You’ll never know, increasing your rates will allow you to work fewer hours for even more income.

 

Learn to Say No

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Learn to Say No

A lot of people think that freelancers are available all the time. Your family and friends might need you for errands like driving them or that afternoon tea out of nowhere. You have a kid now. Learn to say no!

You have a lot on your plate, and your time should be spent on the things that matter. 

And this is not just for the people close to you; you should also say no to clients. Some clients may be demanding your time like they’re your life. It’s time to find new ones that respect your time and your other responsibilities.

 

 

Outsource Your Other Tasks

Check your current tasks both from work and for your family. And think of ways to delegate or outsource some of them. 

You can learn how to fix your broken plumbing, but you are better off getting a plumber to do it for you. How about cleaning the whole house? If you’re in a particularly busy week, a maid per hour can probably clean it better than you.

The extra time would mean so much for your kids.

 

You Will Get Back Your Time Eventually

As your kids grow more independent, you will get more time eventually. There will be times when you can explain your working conditions, and then they can understand and not disturb you anymore.

For toddlers, you can devise creative strategies when you can play. For example, you have a child who likes cars. You can explain that when the signboard showing red is up, it means stop playing, and you need to work. When the green signboard is up, you can now play.

With that, you can be the best parent you can be. You just have to know how to use your time flexibility well. Cheers to remote working your way to parenthood! Good luck!  

Improve your Health: 7 Freelancer Health Checklist Items for New Year

Improve your Health: 7 Freelancer Health Checklist Items for New Year

It’s the time of year again when we start anew (hopefully for the better) — making amends with our bad decisions last year. And arguably, our health and fitness took its toll. I mean, just remember all the food you ate last holiday, right?

With that, our health deserves to be improved in the coming seasons. Here are 7 Health Checklist Items for the New Year. 

 

Sleep 7 to 9 Hours a Day

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Sleep 7 to 9 Hours a Day

A typical healthy adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep a day. Sleep is essential for us to function at our best for our freelancing careers. It improves our mental sharpness, alertness, and energy. 

On the other hand, sleep deprivation can cause multiple complications like obesity, poor job performance, and a miserable quality of life. 

Yes, we are busy. But if we can schedule our clients, we should find the time to plan our sleep as well. It’s a simple checklist that will make a great difference.

 

Improve Mental Health with Mindfulness

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Improve Mental Health with Mindfulness

Mental health is another aspect that most neglect. It is our overall emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. It affects our productivity and work-life balance. As a freelancer, we may have a better work-life balance, but being detached from constant social interaction can make us lonely.

And not only that, research suggests that it can affect our physical bodies as well — to the likes of depression, cancer, heart disease, and more.

With that, mindfulness can be one of your health checklist for the coming year. It’s becoming aware of what’s happening in your surroundings and what state you are in. It’s something that we can all do, but the busyness of life lets our mind disconnect to the present. 

Mindfulness meditation can be a practice you can consider to boost your mindfulness. A study even suggests that it can ease anxiety and mental stress. After all, better mental health can trickle to a better year ahead.

 

Get a Hobby

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Get a Hobby

There is a saying: “Find three hobbies you love: One to make you money, one to keep you in shape and one to be creative.”

And it is fitting for the coming year. Life is not all about work. Find something that will make your life more exciting — that can be cooking, dancing, or skydiving! It’s up to you. But now is the time to start it!

 

Exercise

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Exercise 

Freelancers and remote workers may have sedentary lifestyles. I mean, our longest commute is from our beds to our workspaces. We need to sweat it out! 

If you don’t have access to a gym, why not make a simple exercise routine in your house. You can use dumbbells, fitness bands, or your body weight for exercising. There are numerous free tutorial videos you can try.

You can also try standing desks! Standing desks are good to normalize your blood sugar after every meal. Although it may not drastically aide weight loss, standing can burn more calories than sitting. 

You can also check out these 8 ways to handle a freelancers’ sedentary lifestyle.

 

Eat Healthily

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Eat Healthily

Exercise is only half the battle. It’s what we eat that truly dictates our physical wellbeing. As much as possible, it’s time to avoid processed food, foods high in sugar, and high in trans-fat.

It’s time to add some vegetables and fruits in your meals. You can check out this list of 50 foods that are super healthy.

 

Get Out of the House

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Get Out of the House

Staying at home forever might be tempting for most freelancers. (I’m quite guilty!) But you need to get out of the house. 

You are not a vampire! Have yourself some sun! Relish what nature can offer you. Go outside the city. Connect with nature. Find a nearby park.  

It provides numerous health benefits, such as reduced stress and better mental health!

 

Take the Time for Relaxation

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Take the Time for Relaxation

As we find more and more opportunities in freelancing, we might not have the time to relax and unwind every now and then. It’s in these moments of our relaxation can we recharge ourselves.

Ironically, we may even be more productive after that much-needed break plus the health benefits!

Have that spa day. Pack your bags. Travel. Enjoy the respite from your daily routine.

 

Conclusion 

New Year, New You as most will say. What’s the use of achieving your financial goals when your body suffers from it? With these 7 health checklist items, you are sure to have a prosperous new year not only for your pockets but also for your physical and mental health.

 

7 Habits for a Productive Mindset

7 Habits for a Productive Mindset

Freelancing and remote work brought new opportunities to Filipinos. You can now work wherever you want while growing a sustainable career online. It might be the dream work setup you have been looking for.

The problem is, the income you earn is directly proportional to your productivity. If you don’t do your work hours well and if you give out subpar output, you can expect your income to be lesser. 

How can you stay productive and reach your goals? Don’t worry. A lot of us have struggled with this case. And here are 7 habits for a productive mindset.

 

Get Enough Sleep

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Get Enough Sleep

Your productivity for today starts the day before with your quality of sleep. A study has shown that low quality or insufficient sleep can interfere with a productive day. 

If you are not well-rested, you start the day feeling groggy and lost. So as much as possible, target around 7 to 9 hours of sleep to feel refreshed the next day.

 

Plan Your Tasks

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Plan Your Tasks

Another preparation is planning your tasks. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. You need your own structure when working remotely. No boss is micromanaging you, so you need to manage yourself.

Before starting to work, list down the things you need to achieve today. And mark the top three priority tasks. These are tasks that are urgent and important for your career.

Even if you don’t finish everything, you are sure that you are moving forward because you did the most important things at hand.

 

Get Ready with Extra Tasks for Sudden Down Times

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Get Ready with Extra Tasks for Sudden Down Times 

Our days don’t always go according to plan. We need to be flexible with our time. For example, you might have a 1-hour meeting from 3 PM to 4 PM. Suddenly, your client canceled because of some issues.

A lot of people treat this freed up time as free time. Well, that can be the case. But if you intend to work those hours anyway, why not do other tasks?

Bring out your to-do list and check what things you haven’t done yet. Or better yet, you can use the time for personal development like reading a book, listening to podcasts, and watching informative videos in your field. 

With this, your time will be well spent.

 

Focus on One Thing at a Time

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Focus on One Thing at a Time

Multitasking is not as productive as you think. When we multitask, we switch our attention from one thing to another. 

But our brains can’t cope up instantaneously, especially for high-level activities. There are a few seconds of coping time before you can do the other task. And this constant switching of tasks puts a lot of stress in our brain. It makes us inefficient and wastes valuable time.

If you want to be genuinely productive, you need to focus on one thing at a time. Your undivided attention increases your productivity

If you can’t do this because of distractions, try doing the Pomodoro method and see results.

 

Use Your Procrastination to Your Advantage

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Use Your Procrastination to Your Advantage

Arguably, all workers have procrastinated multiple times in their lives. Why work when you can watch TV, play games, or insert-your-excuse-here?

But do you know that you can use your procrastination to your advantage? We always procrastinate the most laborious task we have to do by doing something unproductive. 

The trick here is instead of doing unproductive stuff, why not do an easier task first in your to-do list. Yes, this might not be ideal. But if you can’t control yourself, at least you can check some tasks out from your long list.

Don’t do this excessively, though. Still, try to finish the top three crucial tasks for the day.

 

Mindfulness

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Mindfulness

Mindfulness is being aware of what’s happening around us. It’s a practice that tells you to stop and take a moment. Be conscious of what you are thinking and feeling. 

Based on a study, the mindfulness practice resulted in measurable productivity in just 5 days. It’s surprising what a 10-min meditation exercise can bring you.

To start your mindfulness for productivity, you can check out this resource for more.

 

Take the Time Off

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Take the Time Off

Why do most freelancers and remote workers don’t stop working? Is it because you can work anytime and anywhere? That’s why you don’t have breaks at all? 

It is detrimental to your well-being. Life is not all about work. 

You need to unplug and relax. Yes, you want to use all the time you can to be productive. But I tell you, you don’t want to feel burnt out.

Schedule your time off. Take that vacation. Go to a spa. Spend time with your family. After all, feeling refreshed after this healing time can even increase your productivity even more.

 

Conclusion

We all need to be productive in reaching our goals. With these 7 Habits, I hope you can have a rewarding life ahead of you. Good luck! 

 

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