Elance Blog

Elance Q&A: What Do You Do To Recharge?

You're deploying a custom Drupal platform to a major website and the deadline is approaching. You're crafting innovative and effective marketing campaigns for an up-and-coming Web 2.0 startup. You're burning through almost 100 Excel spreadsheets of seven-figure digits for a high-profile accountant. You're a well-oiled machine running at the speed of light.

You're living the fast-paced life of online work.

At some point, everyone needs to recharge — even those with the biggest batteries. What do you do to slow down, unwind, and get away from it all? I've asked the experts (you) to fill us in on what rituals work best to come back feeling fresh.

Frederick Pohl, Web Developer, Pohl Media"We like to go to the beach and the Springs, go to the park with our daughter, and enjoy cooking on the grill a lot — being in the sun. Music is an essential part of unwinding and helps to regain focus too. I always go back to traditional art, pencil drawing, and printmaking, which were my early beginnings in art."

Julie K. Welch, Writer, Jane Content"I typically work 70-80 hours per week, so in order to unwind, I take several mini-trips throughout each quarter — 2-3 week long trips. Then I participate in a variety of local charitable and social activities. In the evenings, I also attend yoga classes and run. Overall, I work to balance everything I need to get done within a week while minimizing stress."

Jaimie M., Admin SupportGenerally after working most of the day or week I like to unwind by spending quiet time with my kids or by taking them out on the weekends to the park or beach. I also enjoy going out to dinner as a family. Although I sometimes work on the weekends if a project deadline makes that necessary, I try to always take time to unwind and enjoy my family which consists of myself, my husband, three young children, a four month old beagle puppy and an 8 week old dachshund puppy.

Michelle, Internet Consultant, Metric Voodoo"As an 'Internet Consultant', I can be working on several very different types of projects at the same time, so I have a habit of decompressing a little in between tasks throughout the day ... When I really hit the brain-fry zone, I like to go on drives in my Jeep and listen to the radio – not MP3s or satellite radio, but in-the-clear local radio so I can hear commercials and local events and such. This helps me keep up with off-line advertising and gets my brain out of whatever rut it was in - it helps me think 'sideways' with my own ad planning.

Adam Purcell, New Media Consultant, Hungry Dog Media"The greatest way for me to relax is to watch a movie. It's the only time I can get my head outside of work and lost into another world. From a new movie to one I have seen scores of times — it makes no difference!"

Stacy Strayer, Writer, Peppy Girl Productions"Living in the Colorado Rockies definitely gives someone options for blowing off steam or finding peace. After a long day of staring at the computer screen, I love to snow shoe with my two labs near the Sol Vista Ski Resort. If I plan it just right, I'll hit the slopes just as the ski resort closes so I can power up a blue or black run for an extra cardio boost. The towering, naked beauty of the horizon, the Continental Divide, helps me keep my busy life in perspective. I return home totally refreshed, ready to surf Elance once again for enticing writing assignments."

Les Brown, Web Developer, Blue Sky iSolutions"I work from home and my house is just off a scenic highway less than 10 miles from the nearest ski/snowboard area. So to unwind, I usually ride my motorcycle (in the warmer months) or go snowboarding (in the colder months). When it rains, there's always movies or TV."

As for me personally, the tropical destination pictured above looks like a mighty nice place to have an ice-cold piña colada. So, what about you? Share your tips, techniques, and favorite getaways in the comments below.

Comments

Burnout, like keeping a clean desktop, is something you can prevent continually or in chunks. I'm usually a chunker, but I've been working in another solution and getting good results.

A lot of my work is done at home, either alone or in my home-based audio/video studio. Several months ago I produced a CD of soundscapes based on the seven energy centers of the body. My initial thoughts were that it would be useful for folks who meditate, do Reiki or some other body-mind work. As it turns out, based on comments from users, it's also very helpful to have it playing as a simple background ambience.

More about it here: http://web.mac.com/tyreeford/Site/Ty_Ford_Chakra_Balancing.html

Regards,

Ty Ford

My whole work is about teaching people to be energized and stress free so I am a bit of an expert on this topic. I spend about 10-15 minutes a day doing simple processes which I teach in my online course, to increase my natural energy. I also go running or cycling for at least 20 minutes a day. This allows me to work for 60-70 hours a week at optimal energy.
I don't really feel the need to recharge but I do take quiet time for myself on the weekends, relaxing at the park or reading a great book.
I take holidays for adventure rather than relaxation

I work out of my apartment, and I am fortunate to live in a beautiful area, so recharging can be as simple as just taking a break away from the computer, stretching, making a hot cup of tea, and looking out the window at the gorgeous scenery. If I'm really struggling, and the weather permits, I take a walk. Whatever I do, getting away from the job I've been working on for a little bit allows me to look at it with fresh eyes, see mistakes, fix them, and attack the rest of it with renewed energy.

I live in front of a wooded area and blocks from the Chesapeake Bay. So when the hunters are not out stalking geese and deer in the woods (yup, we hear the shots), my dog Wolfie and I run around the woods. I shout RUN! and off we go!

Recently, I've discovered crocheting. When I start feeling burnout on the horizon, I pick up my hook and make a tiny hat for a preemie. I've made baseball hats, flower hats, ski hats -- all in rainbow colors. I listen to music, sip tea and think of "my" tiny babies.

Walking on the waterfront checking out the many boats that come here also blows some wind into my head.

When I complete a project, I bake . It's my personal reward. Scones, quiches and brownies are my favorites. As a former rather tough newspaper reporter covering government, I've always relaxed by turning into Ms.Domestic after 8 pm. It's a big Whew!

I work from my apartment but am lucky enough to live in complex which allows me to have a real garden. If I can't face another minute of writing at my computer, I simply step outside and tend to my growing things. When everything goes dormant in the winter, I take breaks throughout the day to read, read, and read some more. Severe writer's block calls for stronger measures, so I schedule an afternoon out at the movies or a local museum, or simply taking a long walk with a friend.

The great thing about being my own boss is that I can recharge as soon as it's necessary! While I am working more hours per week ( an average of 65) than I ever did in the work force, being able to take short breaks whenever I like keeps the stress more or less manageable.

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