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Work-Life Balance

Stay Sane while Freelancing: Tips for Nigerians

Last Updated on August 2, 2023


Freelancing is the act of working for different clients on short-term contracts without being permanently employed. It has become popular in Nigeria due to the high rate of unemployment and the flexibility it offers.

However, it comes with its own challenges such as irregular income, isolation, and burnout. As a freelancer, it is important to prioritize self-care, set realistic boundaries, maintain communication with clients, diversify your income streams, and seek support from other freelancers and communities.

By following these tips, Nigerians can stay sane while freelancing and thrive in the gig economy.

Freelancing involves working independently, often remotely, offering flexibility and diverse income opportunities.

Its popularity in Nigeria stems from economic shifts, technological advances, and the desire for work autonomy.

Yet, freelancing brings challenges like inconsistent income, isolation, and managing multiple clients simultaneously.

Tip #1: Create a routine

Creating a routine as a freelancer is very important. It helps you stay focused, organized, and productive. Here are some reasons why:

  • It sets expectations for your clients: When you have a routine, your clients will know when they can expect to hear from you, when they can expect your work, and what to expect in terms of communication.

  • It helps with time management: Having a routine will help you prioritize your tasks and manage your time more effectively. This will enable you to meet deadlines and deliver quality work.

  • It reduces stress: When you have a routine, you don’t have to worry about what you are going to do next. You have a plan, and you know what you have to do. This can help reduce stress and anxiety.

  • It helps with work-life balance: Creating a routine can help you separate work from personal life. You can schedule your work hours and take time off for yourself and your family.

Now that we know the importance of having a routine, how do we create one as a freelancer?

How to Create a Routine as a Freelancer

  • Define your work hours: Decide on the hours you will work each day and make sure you stick to them.

  • Create a to-do list: Write down the things you need to do each day and prioritize them according to importance.

  • Take breaks: Schedule regular breaks throughout the day to refresh your mind and avoid burnout.

  • Set boundaries: Let your clients know when you are not available and when they can expect to hear back from you.

  • Create a workspace: Having a designated workspace can help you stay organized and focused.

Having a routine can also help with mental health. Here’s how:

How it Can Help Mental Health

  • It promotes self-care: When you have a routine, you can schedule time for self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies.

  • It provides structure: Having a routine can give you a sense of structure and purpose, which can be beneficial for your mental health.

  • It reduces decision fatigue: When you have a routine, you don’t have to spend time and energy making decisions about what to do next. This can help reduce decision fatigue and improve your mental clarity.

In fact, creating a routine as a freelancer is essential. It can help you stay organized, productive, and promote mental health.

Take the time to define your work hours, create a to-do list, take breaks, and set boundaries. With a little bit of effort, you can create a routine that works for you and your clients.

Read: Nigeria’s Freelancing Landscape: Prioritizing Personal Time

Tip #2: Take breaks

As a freelancer, taking breaks is as crucial as getting work done. Here are some tips on taking breaks:

  • Short breaks: These are essential, especially during long work sessions. Take a break for at least 5-10 minutes to rest your mind and body.

  • Stretch breaks: Being seated for long periods can cause physical harm to your body. Take a few minutes to stretch or go for a walk.

  • Social breaks: Freelancing can sometimes be lonely, making it essential to take a break from work and interact socially with people around you.

Taking breaks should not be seen as a time-wasting, but an opportunity to refuel and become more productive.

Read: Managing Stress and Success in Nigerian Freelancing

Tip #3: Stay social

As a freelancer, it’s easy to feel isolated. You’re working on your own, without the office banter, lunchtime chats or casual water cooler conversations.

While the freedom may be appealing, staying on your own for too long can lead to feelings of loneliness and disconnection.

Why socializing is important for freelancers

  • Connect with potential clients, collaborators or partners.

  • Expand your network and open new opportunities.

  • Get feedback, inspiration and fresh perspectives.

  • Combat feelings of loneliness, anxiety or depression.

But how can you stay social while still maintaining your freelance work?

Ways to stay connected with people while freelancing

  • Join online communities or forums, such as Facebook groups, subreddits or Slack channels. You can connect with like-minded people, ask for advice and share your work.

  • Attend industry events, conferences or meetups. This is a great way to learn about new trends, showcase your skills and meet potential clients or collaborators.

  • Collaborate with other freelancers or creatives. You can work on joint projects, swap skills or refer work to each other. This can also keep you accountable and motivated.

  • Take breaks and socialize in person. You can work from a coffee shop, attend exercise classes or hang out with friends and family. This can give you the social interaction you need and prevent burnout.

Remember, socializing doesn’t have to be a distraction from your freelance work. In fact, it can enhance it by providing new skills, contacts or ideas.

Take advantage of the opportunities available to you and make sure to prioritize your social well-being as much as your professional success.

Read: Efficient Time Management for Freelancers in Nigeria

Stay Sane while Freelancing- Tips for Nigerians

Tip #4: Exercise

Freelancing can take a toll on your mental health. It’s crucial to take care of your mind and body to stay sane while working from home.

One way to do this is through exercising. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the benefits of exercise for mental health, how freelancers can incorporate exercise into their routine, and different types of exercises that freelancers can do.

Benefits of Exercise for Mental Health

  • Reduces stress and anxiety.

  • Boosts mood and self-esteem.

  • Increases focus and productivity.

  • Improves sleep quality.

  • Provides a sense of accomplishment.

These benefits are essential for freelancers who work for prolonged hours, often in isolation, and may experience burnout or imposter syndrome.

Incorporating Exercise into Your Routine

  • Set a schedule: Determine your preferred time to exercise, and stick to it.

  • Start small: Begin with short workouts and gradually increase the length and intensity.

  • Find an accountability partner: Partner with a friend or family member to keep each other motivated.

  • Multitask during exercise: Listen to a podcast or audiobook while exercising to save time.

Types of Exercises for Freelancers

  • Cardiovascular exercises: Running, cycling, or dancing to increase your heart rate and improve endurance.

  • Strength training exercises: Weightlifting, push-ups, or squats to build muscular strength.

  • Yoga: To improve flexibility, balance, and relaxation.

  • Pilates: Exercises that target core muscles and improve posture.

  • HIIT workouts: High-intensity interval training combines cardio and strength training for a full-body workout.

Choosing an exercise type that suits your preferences and fitness level is important to avoid injuries and stay motivated.

As a freelancer, exercise can be a game-changer for your mental and physical health. Incorporating exercise into your routine is a step towards staying sane, productive and motivated while freelancing.

Take advantage of listed tips and exercises to add physical activity to your day and prioritize your wellbeing.

Read: Balancing Projects and Personal Time: Nigeria’s Freelancers

Tip #5: Set boundaries

As a Nigerian freelancer, it’s essential to set boundaries to stay sane while working. The following are reasons why this is important:

  • Prevent burnout and fatigue.

  • Enhance productivity.

  • Stay focused on important tasks.

  • Improve work/life balance.

Different Boundaries Freelancer Can Set

Here are some boundaries freelancers can set:

  • Time boundaries: Decide when to start and end work, and stick to it. Avoid working 24/7.

  • Client boundaries: Clearly state your working hours and response time expectations to clients.

  • Communication boundaries: Communicate through designated channels and set times to check emails or messages.

  • Social media boundaries: Avoid getting lost in endless scrolling during work hours.

  • Physical boundaries: Set up a workspace with minimal distractions and a comfortable chair and desk.

Benefit of Setting Boundaries

By setting these boundaries, freelancers can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Improved work efficiency: Boundaries allow for better management of time and energy, enabling freelancers to focus on core tasks and projects.

  • Better relationships with clients: Clients will learn your boundaries and will respect them, which enhances communication and professionalism.

  • Reduces Stress and Burnout: Clear boundaries that help separate work from personal life, can help freelancers reduce stress and avoid burnout.

  • Fosters Creativity: Having clear boundaries And personal life will give freelancers the mental space to be creative and imaginative.

Finally, here are some things to keep in mind when setting boundaries:

  • Ensure that they’re realistic and attainable.

  • Communicate your boundaries to your clients and loved ones.

  • Be consistent with your boundaries and adhere to them yourself.

  • Revisit and revise your boundaries periodically to match your schedule and priorities.

  • It’s okay to say NO to projects or clients that infringe on your boundaries.

In general, as a Nigerian freelancer, boundary setting is necessary for a healthy and productive work and personal life balance.

By developing and maintaining clear boundaries, freelancers can improve their work efficiency, enhance client relations, and prevent burnout or fatigue. So, set those boundaries, communicate them clearly, and stick to them, and enjoy the benefits that come with it!


Staying sane while freelancing in Nigeria is crucial for overall well-being. To recap the tips, prioritize self-care, set boundaries, stay organized, network, and don’t be too hard on yourself.

As a freelancer, your mental health should always come first, and it’s important to recognize when burnout is approaching.

You are not alone, and resources like mental health professionals and support groups are available. Freelancing may seem daunting, but with proper self-care and a strong support system, you can thrive in this industry.

In the dynamic landscape of freelancing, preserving your sanity is paramount. Implement these practical tips to achieve a harmonious work-life balance, foster your mental well-being, and excel as a Nigerian freelancer. Remember, your ability to stay sane ultimately fuels your productivity, creativity, and success in the freelance realm.

By prioritizing self-care, setting clear boundaries, seeking support, and maintaining a positive mindset, you’re equipped to overcome challenges and thrive in your freelancing journey. As you navigate the intricacies of remote work, remember that your mental health matters.

Regularly assess your strategies, adjust as needed, and remain attuned to your needs. Strive for a holistic approach that not only empowers your freelancing career but also enriches your overall quality of life.

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