“I got to thinking about the point in every freelancer’s life where he has to decide whether he wants to A, have a social life, and do art in his spare time, or B, do art, and have a social life in his spare time. It has always seemed to me that if you have any hope of making a living as an artist – writer, musician, whatever – you absolutely must learn to tell people to leave you alone, and to mean it, and to eject them from your life if they don’t respect that. This is necessary not because your job is more important than anyone else’s – it isn’t – but because a great many people will think of you as not having a job. ‘Oh, how wonderful – you can work whenever you want to!’ Well, yes, to a point, but generally ‘whenever you want to’ had better be most of the time, or else you won’t have a roof over your head. “
Ouch. I have to tell people to leave me alone because I’m writing?
I don’t think so.
Welcome to the life of a freelancer: we need peace and usually quiet to work effectively. However, telling people to go away or shut up because we’re working just isn’t a good look.
Here are 3 ways to deal with the distractions:
Tip # 3. Learn to shut out the world, rather than asking them to leave.
Freelancers must learn to shut out noise from others when working in public or busy private environments. We’d all like a custom soundproof chamber just for us, but life isn’t usually such a bowl of cherries. Rather than becoming reclusive and appearing antisocial and negative, merely put your phone on silent, put in some earphones, and focus just for that period of time. People naturally leave others alone when they appear extremely occupied and distracted.
Tip # 2. Set aside time when people CAN come to you.
Until your take yourself seriously, no one else will. Let people know that you’ll get back to them between this time and that time, and that they have the best chance of reaching you at the times or time ranges you specify. Sure, some people will be upset at first, but that is normal. Over time the changes will become natural.
Tip #3. Go out with friends and family.
Want to go shopping with a friend? Just plan the date go. Then the next day, get back to work. It’s that simple. Being a freelancer, entrepreneur, etc doesn’t mean you should never go out and have fun anymore. That’s exactly what makes you seem like an antisocial freelancer, and plus it just isn’t good for you. You need the change of scenery to keep balanced.
So don’t kill your social life in the name of freelancer, but let your social kill your business either.