How to Reduce Stress in Your Working Environment

Whether you work from your dining table, your own study, an office you hire or a workshop you can always benefit from reducing stress in your environment.

Being your own boss has multiple benefits, a major one being that we are in complete control of our lives and destiny yet sometimes as work mounts this fact is easy to forget.

Here are a few tips to ensure your days run smoothly and stress is kept to a minimum:

To Clear or Not to Clear Clutter

Although many gurus recommend clearing clutter, this is not an environment that suits everyone as some enjoy being surrounded by personal items such as photos and their favourite coffee cup. Remember if a cluttered desk signifies a cluttered mind, what does an empty desk signify?

In this case it’s not clutter that’s the problem it’s organisation, if you can find everything you need within seconds then clutter is not your problem it’s when you waste time simply searching for items that stress levels rise!

Tailor Space to YOUR needs – no one else’s

Even if your workspace is portable you can make it your own as you really don’t have to please anyone but yourself as long as you get your work done. If you’ve always loved bold colours splash out on some cool stationary or if you have your own office be daring with the walls. Your desk, wherever it may be should have the ability to make you smile every morning, so make it personal and make it yours.

If you’ve always adored the thought of a truly minimalist space with pristine white walls and carpets, yet couldn’t have this at home because of the children or family pets, now’s your chance to live that dream!

Many freelancers also find that when working from home a coffee machine or teas maid in the office is a good idea, it’s not laziness; it just helps you to avoid the temptation of doing the housework every time you put the kettle on!

Be Strict with Others

Stress can mount up when you don’t feel as though you’re being very productive with your time. This can be due to interruptions, admin work or even chatting to clients on the phone.

For example, if you’ve sold an affordable Hourlie and your client chats to you on the phone for an hour, all of a sudden your profit slides down the drain as you need to account for the extra time. Occasionally whole mornings can pass just chatting without a single piece of work being done.

This is where PPH excels as you can chat through the work stream which gives you the flexibility to answer when you’re free rather than when you’re in the middle of an inspirational moment.  The work stream also gives you a written record of the discussion that you can refer to when carrying out the job. You could also hire a virtual PA to field your calls or if the budget won’t allow try being strict and letting people know you’ll do your admin such as answering calls, giving quotes and replying to emails at set points during the day.

Have a Plan

Whatever industry you’re in a plan is always an essential tool. How many times have we heard the word “strategy” thrown around in the boardroom of The Apprentice? It doesn’t have to be an intricate plan it can be as simple or as detailed as you please, yet once it’s in force it will act as a great motivational tool and give you goals to exceed.

For instance, if you’ve recently taking the plunge to work for yourself fulltime, plan how and when you’ll spend those 40 hours a week. Work out how much you could earn and try not to deviate until you have, this will remove indecision and give you a goal to work towards every week.

Many freelancers also take on too much work as we worry that it will run out if we don’t, yet if you have a plan you can easily see what you can cope with every week without becoming too stretched.

To do lists for daily achievements or daily marketing tasks also give you a sense of satisfaction as you cross off each task, which in turn reduces stress as you know you have all aspects of your business in hand.

Embrace Flexibility for Yourself

Sometimes we forget that we began freelancing as we wanted to have a flexible way of working. Many of us skip lunch to meet deadlines or work late into the night. However, you can reduce stress by embracing the flexibility and enjoying the benefits that others who are employed fulltime don’t have.

For example, you’ll feel so much happier if you can finish early to enjoy the sunshine of the summer, or if you take a long lunch one day with friends. You can even take advantage of quiet shopping times during the day when everyone else is stuck behind a desk.

If you’re having a difficult day you can also simply go for a walk, without permission, returning when your head is cleared – those who work at MacDonald’s can’t!

You know when you will have time to catch up, whether you rise early or work late, embrace the flexibility of freelancing and feel as lucky as everyone says you are for working for yourself!

It’s Not Failure, It’s Feedback

One of the most stressful parts of freelancing is receiving mediocre or negative feedback. It’s hard not to take it personal when you are the business that’s under the spotlight. Of course in many freelancing careers, the work is subjective especially in creative fields yet understanding that not everyone liked the Beatles doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.

Instead try to learn from it, did the client give an incomplete brief or were communication lines blurred? It may seem like the end of the world at the time but if you can turn it into a positive you’ll end the day with a smile!

Connect With Your Peers

Being your own boss can be lonely at times so it’s important to reach out to others in the same boat. There’s no greater therapy than spending time with people who understand your fears and concerns. Knowing others are also facing the ups and downs you are helps you to cope with tricky situations too as it proves that those obstacles can be overcome.

Network and connect and meet in real life when you can, you’ll not only make friends but you could boost business too!

Are there any other tips you embrace for reducing stress?

This was a guest post for PeopleperHour by Martina Mercer