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Why it's okay for contractors to be 'lazy' sometimes

Paystream News

Kerry Hull

Monday 11th Dec, 2017

How adopting the 'Lazy Manifesto' could benefit limited company contractors.

Working for yourself as a limited company contractor or freelancer requires a lot of hard work and dedication in order to make your professional life a success. But when all of the decisions are down to you, it can feel like you can't ever switch off from your business.

There are emails to send, calls to answer, projects to line up, new assignments to seek out - and all of that requires a great deal of effort, meaning there's never any time to relax a little, right?

Well, that doesn't have to be the case. BrightHR has recently published what it is calling its Lazy Manifesto, which explains to contractors when it's okay to adopt a bit more of a laidback attitude.

What's the theory?

Research carried out by BrightHR found that the average worker in the UK spends two hours a day attending meetings and five hours looking through emails, which - based on the average eight-hour working day - leaves just one hour for getting any actual work done.

Just 44 per cent of workers actually find these meetings useful, while an extra three hours of every week is taken up by problems with technology or inadequate, out-of-date filing systems.

BrightHR therefore believes that workers should adopt a somewhat 'lazier' approach to emails and meetings, questioning whether it is really necessary to deal with them or accept invites on every occasion.

Of course, if something is urgent, it needs to be dealt with straight away, but otherwise a better approach could be to set aside a specific slot each day for answering emails, which would leave contractors free to spend the rest of their day actually completing assignments.

BrightHR also emphasised the importance of taking regular breaks, as these can help contractors to return to their workload feeling refreshed and refocused. Breaks shouldn't be seen as lazy - they're actually vital for maintaining your wellbeing.

'Stop trying to be a hero' was another key principle of the 'Lazy Manifesto', referring to the fact that self-employed people sometimes feel that they have to do everything themselves and take on more work than they can reasonably cope with in order to prove a point that they are successful.

However, this isn't good for anyone. You'll end up getting stressed and burning yourself out and your clients will end up disappointed if you've over-promised and under-delivered.

It's okay to be 'lazy' and turn down assignments sometimes, if you already have a lot on - you don't need to be proving a point to anyone. As long as you're happy in your career, that's all that matters.

Outsourcing help

Following on from the last point, accepting help from others is fine too - it doesn't mean that you can't cope. Especially in your early days of working for yourself, you're likely to have lots of offers of help from family and friends. As your limited company grows and develops, this may start to come from new contacts you make along the way too, which could lead to some exciting collaborative opportunities.

One area that is often a particular cause for concern for contractors is making sure that you are running your limited company in a tax-efficient and compliant manner. This can cause headaches if you're not especially mathematically or financially minded.

However, PayStream's limited company accountancy service, My PSC, is here to help. Our team of experts can help to make sure that your limited company is not only being run in the most tax-efficient way, but is also operating compliantly.

Getting help regarding this often time-consuming task can help to ease stress for contractors and allow them to focus on the areas of their company that will benefit more from their dedicated attention and skillsets.