It is hard to imagine that work that allows sleeping an extra hour on Mondays can cause stress. But it does.

Freedom to work independently comes with its own share of anxiety.

While the number of independent workers will grow to make 40% of the American workforce in the next five years, sudden change in routine can be a daunting experience for many. Here are six powerful ways to combat with pressure of freelance work and to make the most out of the flexibility it offers.

  1. Budget your money

A great deal of stress in working independently is caused by poor finance management. There are no regular paychecks. Tax is not automatically deducted from your monthly income and keeping a track of all earnings and spending can be tedious. Spreadsheets are useful to keep an eye on your finances but can be very intimidating. You can use great budgeting apps like Mint, which probably is the smartest money manager out there. It can gather your financial information through the accounts, cards and bills you allow it to see. It tracks your spending pattern and suggests ways to save some of your hard earned money for a rainy day.

  1. Manage your time

Time is a kind of currency for freelancers and the best way to make more time is to organize work better. If you don’t like old-fashioned paper lists or messy reminders stuck to the wall, try Trello. The free app creates simple lists to give you the full picture of your project. You can also use Evernote to combine lists of ideas, images and web clippings in one place. This free productivity tool has a powerful search feature that can help you keep your project documents at hand.

  1. Nurture your self-esteem

There will be times when you will think you don’t have any work. Think again. “Just because you’re not actually working doesn’t mean you can’t trick your brain into thinking that you are. And if you’ve gone through a dry spell before, you know that looking for work is definitely work,” writes Peter Hilton for FreelancersUnion.

The liberty to work in pyjamas doesn’t mean you have to. Try to look sharp at all times and stick to your routine. Exercise, go for regular walks and take normal breaks during the day. It helps to do things other than work. But when stress takes over, it pays to be grateful for little things in life and thankfully there is an app for that too.

  1. Work on your personal brand

You are what you do. Keep your social media presence updated at all times. If you are a designer, keep your portfolio accessible. Krop and Behance are great sites for putting up design portfolios among many others. Redesign your visiting cards or promotional material while waiting for the next project. Design and printing sites like Moo have a variety of templates to choose from or you can always design your own promotional material to hand out at the next networking event.

  1. Socialize- away from social media

Social media is a powerful promotional tool but there is no substitute for meeting people in real. Meetup and Eventbrite are popular places to find and connect with people with similar interests as you. Show up at events and make new connections. Try to meet someone new every day-be it someone at the corner coffee shop. Talk to strangers. Shut down Facebook for a few hours and just look up from your screen. Smile back. You are still a part of the world.

  1. Learn to say ‘no’

It is extremely hard to refuse new projects, especially when money is tight, but if taking up extra work means compromising on quality then just say no. You simply cannot afford to promise something you cannot deliver. The ‘no’ doesn’t have to be definite. You can always refer projects to other freelancing colleagues. Creating work opportunities for others is a mutually beneficial way to grow in the freelance world.

In time you will appreciate that the power of a well managed ‘no’ is perhaps the most liberating stress buster in your freelance work cycle.