Freelancers! Like it or not, we run on caffeine, chasing payments and to-do lists. Whether our reason for doing this was sidestepping corporate bureaucracy or simply wanting more control over our time, we’ve already made these choices for ourselves.
As a freelancer, self-motivation is everything, but just as we are humans too, we can tend to be more relaxed when these goals turn to ourselves. Understanding that procrastination is part of a very natural human process and finding ways to work with it rather than against it.
Now that 2022 has arrived and firmly on its tracks, maybe it’s time to take a serious look at making some of your New Year’s Resolutions permanent.
After all, the best time to start was yesterday, and the second-best time is now!
Use Apps to help Track Habits
Strides is an iOS app with a simple, easy-to-read UI that tracks goals and habits. There are a dime a dozen habit tracking apps out there with clean interfaces, which is hardly surprising; just about everybody wants to be more organised. Where Strides differs from these apps is its flexibility.
You can set goals in multiple ways. For example, you can set your goals as streaks, which is good for 30-day challenges. These goals can further be classified in Yes/No habits (good for things like watering the plants), quantity goals (good for things like steps taken in a day or number of pages read in a good book). and lastly, average goals. This last goal allows you to set habits like doing an online course for an hour three times every week on average.
Strides is free to download with in-app purchases on iOS, iPad and Apple Watch. Its deep integration into the Apple Ecosystem is both its greatest strength and weakness, and its payment model means creating as many habits as you want is locked behind a monthly subscription paywall.
Productive is another alternative to the habit tracker for both iOS and Android and takes a more visually pleasing approach with coloured icons. Besides just being a good alternative to Strides for Android users, it comes with some additional strengths of its own.
Productive has an already-curated list of popular habits like drinking enough water, getting more sleep, and reading more. This makes it such that the time from downloading it to using it is as little as possible.
Oftentimes, the hefty time investment in trying out a new to-do, reminder or habit tracking app comes in the tedious setting up of parameters, taking up precious time that us Freelancers already do not have.
Furthermore, Productive is integrated with Siri shortcuts on iOS, meaning you can check off habits using voice command.
Just like Strides, Productive is free to download with in-app purchases on both iOS and Android devices. One last thing to note is that the premium subscription costs less than Strides, which could make or break it for you.
The wonderful thing about Habitica is that it takes an extremely creative aspect to managing our habits. While other productivity-oriented habit trackers like Strides and Productive prioritise making the habit-setting and tracking as fast and minimally invasive as possible, Habitica sidesteps that altogether by being the first-ever Habit-tracking RPG.
Essentially a RPG video game wrapped around a productivity app, you set real-life tasks that when completed regularly, give you in-game currency and experience. You can even group up with friends, defeat boss monsters and complete missions together, keeping each other accountable as it is the clearing of tasks that will determine how effective your party is.
You can customise your avatar, show off to your friends in your circle! The strength of Habitica is that if you love gaming, you will want to use the app, noting down all kinds of little commitments to yourself, small tasks like going out to get some air or calling your parents, and checking the app multiple times a day to see what new armour you can buy and what tasks you can check off.
Habitica is available on iOS and Android for free.
In today’s age, it is quite often people find themselves resorting to virtual alternatives. For example, maybe if your goal is to get fit you might end up spending your hours before or after work watching a guided workout, or if you have a resolution to spend more time learning about a specific topic you might end up watching an online docu-series about it.
However, we are living in a time where working from home is increasingly normal, and when the bedroom is the workplace, workout corner and place for sleep, it might be difficult to do any of these things with peace-of-mind. This is not purely psychological either. You may have heard of people around you going on a “digital detox“. One of the main reasons people are pulling themselves away from their devices is that screen-time, or more importantly, the blue light emitted by these devices, disrupts the production of melatonin, a chemical used to regulate our internal clock called the circadian rhythm.
The trick here is to take your resolutions offline. Since most remote work rarely involves paper-and-pen documentation, actively choosing offline ways of going about your New Year Resolutions can be an effective way of differentiating self-improvement/leisure activities and work activities. It’s time to de-couple some of these associations so that your mind can think more clearly.
A wonderful thing to have that ties this all together is a physical clock in your room to help you keep track of time spent doing activities offline. Nothing is a better feeling than kicking back after submitting your last piece of work for the day, having a hot cup of tea and cracking open your favourite paperback books, knowing you can put your phone down completely.
Automating the tracking and reminding of habits with apps mentioned earlier in the article while using physical, real-world alternatives such as alarm clocks, paperbacks, audio recordings, and pen-and-paper notebooks combines the best of both worlds for a sustainable and mindful method at tackling self-improvement.
At the end of the day it’s important that we’re accountable; whether for the work we do or the things we want for ourselves. We at Friz believe that there’s always a way to make everything easier. Your thoughts?