Does Your Work Bring You Joy?
Have you heard of Marie Kondo? She’s a tidying up guru. I don’t know about you but I love decluttering. At home, at work, in my inbox, on my desktop. I love calendars and folders and writing lists.
I’m a decluttering junkie everywhere, except my desk which is always somehow untidy. Go figure.
Anyway, Marie Kondo’s mantra is to look at an object in your home and ask “Does this bring me joy?” If (when) the answer is no, out it goes. The end result is a feng shui home that you feel happy in.
It’s a simple but brilliant concept. And one that we should definitely apply in our working lives. We’re freelancers and we’ve chosen this path to be free, in a sense. Free from the 9-5 grind, from working for The Man, free to call our own shots and follow our passions.
So, at least half of what you do as a freelancer must bring you joy. And if it doesn’t, or worse, if it brings you dread, then think about whether you really need to do it.
Let’s channel our inner declutterer with 3 great ways to get rid of joyless work tasks.
I’ve talked about the value of outsourcing your overflowing business tasks before. Get an accountant to do your taxes, a copywriter to draft your web copy, a web designer to set up your website, a graphic designer to create your logo, and so on.
Anything that causes you stress detracts from your joy factor. Consider how much time, effort, and stress a task is for you, and calculate whether it’s worth it.
The great thing about outsourcing is that you’ll always find someone who'll love what you loathe.
Get a better system
Do you find yourself typing the same emails over and over again? Repetitive tasks like this are pretty joyless. Save yourself time and stress with email scripts; simply copy and paste each time and change the details.
Are you trying to manage a blog or invoices or other admin? Set it all up in a spreadsheet. It doesn’t have to have fancy formatting as long as it works.
And if your social media updates are piling up, sign on to a management system like Buffer or Hootsuite. Then you can pop your posts in a schedule then forget all about them.
Better systems will save you time and stress. You might never jump for joy when filing an invoice but at least you’ll feel more positive about doing the work.
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Get rid of it altogether
It’s a wonderful feeling to say adios to a joyless task once and for all.
Here’s an example with my food blog, Eat Drink Laos. For 2 years, I sent my subscribers an email every time I wrote a new post. The problem is, I hated working with Mailchimp. I tried another email tool, I tried monthly roundups instead of weekly; the problem remained.
I’ve compared different email marketing tools for small businesses in my weekly newsletter. Messing about in Mailchimp added an hour to every blog post I wrote. I was dragging my feet every time, it was such a joyless task.
Then out of the blue, I had an epiphany. I don’t need email subscribers. The vast majority of my blog readers follow Eat Drink Laos on social media. I could just announce new posts on my Facebook page. Or readers could visit my blog directly. Problem solved!
What a relief it was to kick that joyless task to the curb.
Tell me, what’s killing your work mojo? Let’s see how we can solve it together.
About the author: Lilani Goonesena is an Australian freelance writer, SEO copywriter and Squarespace web designer based in Vientiane, Laos. She loves boosting freelancers and small businesses with web design, SEO content and digital marketing strategy. She writes an awesome weekly newsletter on digital marketing, social media, blogging, web design and "all that online stuff". Lilani also blogs at the delectable Eat Drink Laos, just for fun.