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Create Your Own Happiness as an Independent Contractor

Going into business for yourself and becoming an IT contractor is a no-brainer for many technology professionals. While some take the leap and quickly realize they were happier as an employee, many others love the flexibility, benefits and challenges that come with the independent contracting lifestyle. Regardless of how you’re employed, happiness is in your control and it goes beyond finding the right job with the right company.

Chris Christoff, co-founder of MonsterInsights, recently wrote an article for Inc. where he highlighted the importance of a positive attitude at work. He references a Harvard Medical School study explaining how the right attitude will keep a steady heart rate, reduce stress, and improve your happiness. And most importantly, he notes it is only you who can change your mindset. Christoff provides 4 tips: Practice Gratitude, Help Your Colleagues, Stop Complaining, and Smile Often.

Of course, a positive attitude will be difficult to keep if you dislike your job. As we’ve noted, independent contracting presents an opportunity for IT pros to buildwork-life balanceand that should lead to more happiness. According to this article on FastCompany and written by John Rampton, though, there are 10 myths to Work-Life Balance that set false expectations, stress out entrepreneurs and set you up for failure, inevitably making you resent your career path:

  1. Myth: It’s actually about achieving balance.

    Truth: There’s no such thing as “balance” but instead, it’sintegrationor Be fulfilled everywhere.

  2. Myth: Life needs to be compartmentalized.

    Truth: It’s not possible to divide everything evenly. Some days have more work, others have more leisure.

  3. Myth: You can have it all.

    Truth: There are always trade-offs and sometimes you have to give something up to have it better somewhere else.

  4. Myth: Time management is the answer.

    Truth: Don’t trust outdated time management tips that say you can go completely off-grid every night.

  5. Myth: Technology will give you more free time.

    Truth: Technology is an assistant, but you still need to put in effort.

  6. Myth: It’s what employees care about most.

    Truth: Those you work with or manage often prioritize meaningful work over the flexibility of their location and hours.

  7. Myth: The early bird catches the worm.

    Truth: Waking up early doesn’t necessarily lead to productivity. And working late isn’t bad either.

  8. Myth: You never have to work during off-hours.

    Truth: IT contractors especially do not have this luxury. If you need to (or want to) be working, then you work.

  9. Myth: The less you work, the happier you’ll be.

    Truth: “It’s not about how many hours you work or do something you love. It’s about the quality of how you’re spending your time.”

  10. Myth: Everything has to be scheduled.

    Truth: Schedule important tasks but leaving gaps in your schedule opens up for flexibility and spontaneity.

Whatever your role, how do you maintain happiness in your work life? Do you agree with the advice provided in the referenced FastCompany and Inc. articles? As usual, we love your feedback, so please share your comments in the section below.