Stress affects us all at some point in our lives, but the key to staying calm is to avoid hitting that brick wall in the first place.
Of course, that may not always be possible, and extenuating circumstances can come into play. However, if you can eliminate yourself as a cause of stress, you’ll most likely become a more happy and productive contractor.
But how can you achieve this? Here are our top four stress-busting tips:
Organise your workload
As a contractor, one of the key skills you’ll have to master is organisation. You may find that a particular assignment has many strands to it, so it’s important that you work your way through methodically and ensure everything is completed to a high standard.
Prioritise your tasks in order of urgency, so that you can tick off the most important elements as soon as possible. This negates the possibility of missing a key feature, something that could severely hinder your progress.
You should also try to organise yourself and ensure that everything is where it should be. A good tip is to create folders on your computer for each project and ensure that your documents are stored in the correct place. This means you won’t lose valuable time looking for misplaced work.
It’s also a good idea to plan how you will approach each task and make a list of all the resources you will need.
Make a realistic schedule
It’s a good idea to make yourself a timeline detailing when you can complete each element of your assignment. This will allow you to monitor your progress and check whether you are on schedule.
Be realistic about what you can achieve each week, and don’t try and bite off more than you can chew. If you give yourself too much to do at once, you could end up affecting the quality of your work.
Keep track of your progress
There’s nothing worse than leaving a project for a few days, only to return and have no idea where you’re at. Organise your workload into mini goals and tick them off as you go, so that you know exactly what you’ve achieved. This approach is also useful if your client requires a progress report.
Don't waste time procrastinating
Contractors can get distracted by a multitude of things during the course of an assignment, so it’s essential to stay focused on the task at hand. This can be particularly difficult if you’re working from home, so be sure to remove yourself from anything that could draw away your attention.
It can also be tempting to avoid certain tasks that you know will be troublesome and leave them until the last minute. This could severely harm your progress, especially if they turn out to be even more difficult than you predicted.
Be sure to tackle any problem head on and try to get it out of the way as soon as possible. This should leave you with all the easy work to do at the end of your assignment, ensuring a stress-free finish.
Have your say
Are you a contractor? How do you avoid getting stressed? Join in the discussion on Twitter, or leave a comment below.