When I quit my office job, I spent the first couple days surfing the web for writing inspiration. After three days, I had exhausted my patience for silly memes. Before transitioning to full-on writing, I combed my hair and changed into slacks and blouse. I didn’t change my workspace or routine, but dressing professionally made me feel like I was on the clock.
Psychologically, putting on comfortable but professional clothing can signal your brain and body that it’s time for work. When you change out of your pajamas, you’re able to stop resting and start knocking out tasks on your to-do list. Since minimizing distractions is crucial in succeeding as a freelancer of any kind, taking all possible steps to delineate work time from play time is essential.
By dressing up, you’re enforcing a small measure of self-accountability. When practiced on a regular basis, it can help increase productivity and focus. If you surf the web for cat pictures instead of potential pitches, you’re wasting your own valuable time. I’ve found that it’s much more difficult to justify an hour spent on Pinterest or Facebook when I have set goals for the day’s writing.
That said, my one pair of dress slacks is more comfortable any of my jeans. As a result, I’m more comfortable in business casual. By dressing up, I’m also able to schedule and attend last minute meetings away from my couch. More importantly, as I build my freelance base, learning how to define the border between work and personal time will be absolutely crucial to maintaining my passions — and my sanity.
Balancing all of these aspects of my life will be tricky, but it will be doable with practice and support. Luckily, if any of these gets too overwhelming, I will take a step back and rest. All the freelance pitches will still be out in the world tomorrow — and so will the cat pictures.
If you freelance, do you dress up to go to work?