Donnerstag, 5. April 2012

What Your Dog Knows About Freelancing

My office is closed for a few days over Easter, so I'm taking the easy way out this week by sharing a great article by Debbie Swanson on the Freelance Switch blog. Having two dogs myself, I can really recommend it!

Most freelancers are eager for tips and information, turning to forums, classes, and networking for ways to learn and improve. But did you ever consider looking to your canine for some wisdom? Here are a few things your dog knows that just may improve your freelancing life.

Walk it Off

If you keep to set work hours, it may seem wrong to interrupt those by taking a nice long walk. But there are always those ‘off’ days: your brain just isn’t cooperating, the contacts you need are all unavailable, or some other worry is dominating your thoughts. Why not take a walk?
A change of scene and some exercise can be more productive than staying parked at your laptop. You may be hit with fresh inspiration, or, you may work out whatever issue was holding you back. Next time work isn’t flowing, don’t force it by staring at your computer. Grab the nearest dog, turn off your smartphone, and take a walk.

Network Everywhere

If dogs were freelancers, they’d have low advertising budgets and packed schedules. After all, what dog can pass another dog, or person, without itching to say hello? And once the ‘hello’ goes well (which it usually does), they’ll go into a full introduction, then seal the deal with some playtime or affection. Instant connections!
While greeting people that zealously may raise an eyebrow, you can still learn from his techniques. At your next networking event, think like a dog – of course you should stop and say hello. Why wouldn’t that person want to talk to you? When you are out and about your everyday life, take stock of the people you pass. Say hello more.  Exchange pleasantries with those you repeatedly cross paths with. Word of mouth is the best, and cheapest, form of advertising.

Don’t Forgo Sleep

You have three looming deadlines, a family reunion in the planning, and two kids in the height of soccer playoffs. You may be desperate to squeeze some extra time out of your day, but take your canine’s example, and don’t skimp on sleep.
Sleep is an important commodity to a freelancer. One abbreviated night’s sleep can leave you slow and groggy the next day. Several sleep-cheated nights may get your project done in time, but you’ll be left worn out, irritable, and susceptible to illness.
Take your pup’s example. No matter how many tennis balls he intends to chase in one day, he still maintains a solid sleep schedule around it.

Protect your Territory

Friendly as they are, a dog is also very protective. He may be happy to see just about anyone, but when someone ventures a bit too close without being invited, a warning bark may be in order.
The same applies to freelancing. It’s great to share ideas, knowledge, and the occasional lead with colleagues.  It’s admirable to give a newcomer advice or resources to get them started. But it’s also important to know what to protect. If a colleague is always hitting you up without giving back, or if a newcomer repeatedly asks the same questions while making no effort on her own, perhaps it’s time for that warning bark.

Don’t Eliminate Your Treats

Have you ever seen your dog forgo his daily game of Frisbee, or turn away a chew toy, because he’s just got too much to do? One of the benefits of freelancing is giving yourself time to hit the gym, see your child’s school play, or have coffee with a colleague.
No matter your worries, take time to do the things you enjoy. Of course, there will be times where you’ll have to make compromises, but don’t slide too far down that slippery slope of constantly shortchanging yourself. Over the year, maintain a healthy balance of work and play.
Whether or not you own a dog, there’s a lot they can teach you when it comes to managing your freelance lifestyle!

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