LIFESTYLE

Sweat: The Surprising Secret Weapon of Top Creative Freelancers3 min read

January 17, 2017
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Sweat: The Surprising Secret Weapon of Top Creative Freelancers3 min read

For freelancers and entrepreneurial spirits, work means pouring blood, sweat, and tears into each and every project. When it comes to developing strategies to optimize productivity and manage a heavy workload, getting literal about sweat is one of the best bets a freelancer can make. Read on to learn how physical hustle can help propel you to success.

Stress Management & Perspective: Deadlines vs. Hungry Bears

The benefits and risks intrinsic to running a business of one, or being part of a small founding team, are exceptionally high. Triumphs, failures, and a spoonful of “what just happened?” punctuate each day, and these professional outputs come to feel like a personal representation of our value and ourselves.

With higher stress levels at play, independent professionals stand to gain plenty from leveraging stress-reducing strategies. Among its many health benefits, exercise decreases cortisol and adrenaline, the primeval fight-or-flight, keep you up at night neurochemicals that serve us quite well when being chased by a bear, but decidedly less so when working against a deadline or preparing for a meeting with prospective clients.

This reduction coupled with increases in endorphins means increased cognitive function, potentially lower anxiety levels, and higher emotional resilience, making it a bit easier to dust yourself off and get right back up in the face of adversity.

Brain Function: Becoming a Sharper Tack

For folks independently wrangling a long and varied to-do list, the juggle can be a struggle. Happily, a new study of out the University of British Columbia suggests aerobic exercise increases the size of the hippocampus, regulator of verbal memory and learning. It also boosts the prefrontal cortex, which governs executive functions at the core of productivity like planning, problem solving and decision-making.

In short, that morning jog makes for a day of smarter decisions, more efficient task prioritization and superior memory. With mental acuity being paramount to productive efficiency, carving out time for cardio becomes a no-brainer.

Creativity: Lateral Thinking & Big Ideas

Innovative thinking heavily influences any freelancer’s livelihood. Whether navigating a stubborn business obstacle or willing the next capital-B Big Idea into existence, the sublime flow of creative ideation is a phenomenon of beauty. It empowers us and inspires our best work.

When it comes to a grinding halt, the experience of that mental record scratch can be a paralyzing force. Long an anecdotal remedy for writer’s block, new evidence suggests exercise measurably improves creative thinking. Researchers at Leiden University in The Netherlands found subjects who exercised at least four days per week outperformed their sedentary counterparts in multiple creativity tests.

While regular exercise primes the brain to function more creatively, a quick workout or brisk constitutional around the block can help break through the stagnation—not to mention reduce the stress caused by a mental blockage.

Sweatworking: Hustle, Meet Muscle

As an alternative to lunch or cocktails, folks on the cutting edge of professional culture are increasingly turning to hosting or attending workouts with clients, prospects and partners. Meanwhile, studios and gyms with a finger in the wind have begun to capitalize on the trend by proactively scheduling sweatworking classes.

This unique approach to relationship-building is predicated on a shared physical experience, and a whole lot of endorphins. Consider it the healthier, more expedient, and distinctly modern answer to an afternoon on the links. Coupled with the positive impact exercise has on professional life at the individual level, sweatworking has the potential to jumpstart more creative—and ultimately, more lucrative—relationships.

If the abundance of upsides to hitting the gym isn’t reason enough to lace up (it is), making the effort to engage prospects or clients through their interests, whether spinning, kickboxing, or yoga, introduces a more thoughtful, personalized style to stewarding critical relationships.

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Emily Friga is a contributor for Hustle&Co, the leading publication devoted to educating and empowering the future workforce. Beyond offering up insights here, Emily is an Account Manager at Ibotta, where she is responsible for growing partnerships with top brands in the retail and restaurant verticals. In Emily’s free time, she enjoys running, drawing, playing the violin, and hiking.
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