This article is not meant to diagnose or provide medical advice—that responsibility lies with physicians. The author is not a licensed medical professional.
Running your own business is no easy task, but that task is even more difficult when you are running it yourself, and doing so from home. One of the perks is setting your own hours and being your own boss. But what happens when you become a “horrible boss?” The employees suffer. Meaning, you.
You’re constantly pushing yourself to work unreasonable hours, setting too high of expectations that not even the best employee could meet, and beating yourself up when things don’t go quite as planned. You begin to stress yourself out, so your mental health suffers and in turn, so does your productivity. But being the entrepreneur that you are, you know that there’s a way to fix anything. In fact, there’s an app for that!
Whether you’re launching a brand new home business right now, looking for ways to make your current business more productive or still putting the finishing touches on your plan, these apps can help you care for yourself mentally when working freelance. Because, your “boss” isn’t doing the best job of it so far.
Problem #1: Focus and Discipline
When starting out in your freelance business, you may be super excited and ready to GO, GO, GO. But soon enough, a lack of focus and discipline sets in. You start off your mornings slowly, not sure what to do first/next. In order to get your head on straight and start your day off on the right foot, mindful meditation via Headspace may be the key. Just 10 minutes a day could change your entire morning routine; daily meditation has been proven to help people stress less, exercise more and even sleep better. After the first free 10 lessons, you can go straight to the Performance series to meditate on Creativity, Focus, Happiness or Balance—and improve your life in the meantime. Headspace is available on the App Store, Google Play or Amazon.
Problem #2: Organization
There’s no one to remind you something’s due or organize your calendar anymore—well there is, and it’s you. Keeping track of all of your ideas, projects and to do lists can be seriously daunting for even the most naturally organized person on the planet. But as a freelancer, keeping track of everything becomes even more important when you’re setting your own hours and workload—because everything little thing you do or don’t do equals money. Thankfully, Evernote is here to come to your rescue for … well, basically anything. You can create to-do lists, jot down reminders or snap photos of a sketch. Once you create a “note,” it can become anything you want it to be. Your notes can be accessed from anywhere, with plans ranging from 60MB to 10GB of storage. With advanced plans, you can even keep track of things like business cards (by scanning and digitizing them), emails (by forwarding them into Evernote) and PDFs (by searching text or annotating). It truly is the easiest way to remember everything, especially when you have no more space left in your brain for even the tiniest little thing—which seems to happen to freelancers a lot.
Problem #3: Difficulty Setting Priorities
Solution: One Big Thing
When you’re a freelancer, one of the best things about the job is that you get to make the decisions. There’s no big boss screaming at you to get XYZ done. Instead, you can focus on doing the things you love. And that’s exactly why you became a freelancer in the first place, isn’t it? But to run a proper and successful business, you need to be able to set priorities, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. Your heart might want to do one thing—like research that story you’ve been dying to write, or watch TV … #noshame—but your brain and wallet wants you to log hours for that annoying client. That’s where the One Big Thing app comes in. It is hands down the easiest way to keep you focused on your biggest task every day. Since its easy to get overwhelmed with all of the little things you may need to do, One Big Thing instead forces you to prioritize and start with that one task that you know needs to get done ASAP. Each day, you’ll open the app (no logging in required) to set your daily task. You’ll also add a few smaller tasks that you can focus on after the big one is done. The simplicity of this app allows you to get down to business and just get things done.
Problem #4: Isolation and Disappointment
Becoming mentally and emotionally affected by your work situation is common when starting a business. Sometimes you can’t stop worrying about the next step, other times you set expectations so high that you’re not even sure where to start. The worst part? You have nobody to bounce ideas off. Isolation is a natural part of the process. But there are ways to combat all of the mental health issues that come with being the solo employee in your office. This is where the online therapy app Talkspace comes in. When you don’t have the time (or money) to find an in-person therapist, the professional licensed therapists of Talkspace can provide you with “affordable, confidential and anonymous therapy at the touch of a button.” There’s a no-commitment assessment to get you started before you select the right plan for you (including an unlimited texting-your-therapist plan for only $32/week). It’s available on the App Store and Google play.
Irina Gonzalez is a freelance writer and editor, focusing on culture, relationships, food and health.