As a freelancer, it’s super easy to cross that fine line between your work and your personal life. Especially if you’re working from home. Working to a deadline at the kitchen table can mean you look up from your computer screen and find it’s 10pm and you haven’t had dinner. Similarly, you can get into the routine of your home life and suddenly realise you’ve spent the whole morning on laundry rather than writing that copy. So here are some tips on achieving a good work/life balance.
Don’t be all things to all people
This is mostly about playing to your strengths, but it’s also about carving up your time. You might be happy to help your client with their tax return or attempt a wee bit of graphic design on their behalf, but if you’re contracted to write copy for their website and nothing else, then that helping hand becomes time you’re stealing from someone else’s project. Or worse, from your own precious personal life! Stick to your skill set and don’t be tempted to be all things to all people.
Have set hours (and stick to them!)
Work out when your best time of day is. Are you an early bird, or a night owl? Find when you’re at your most productive, and schedule your working hours around that time. And stick to it! We know how easy it is when you’re in the grip of inspiration to just push on and that’s fine, within reason. But don’t go too far past your set hours. Similarly, don’t start later than you’ve scheduled. Clocking on is already hard enough without trying to pack in another episode of The Big Bang Theory before you get going.
Make your workspace work for you
We harp on about this a lot simply because we’re in the business of offering spaces that augment your working day, whatever shape that has. But believe us when we say, an effective workspace is half the battle in the war to maintaining a good work/life balance. Especially if your office is in a corner of your home. So, find equipment that supports your freelance life. Ergonomic is the key here. Also, give your workspace a designated home: the spare bed isn’t going to work long-term. Make it somewhere you’re comfortable spending time. And, ideally, make it somewhere you can leave until the next day.
Prioritise your wellbeing
When you’re a freelancer it’s easy to cancel that gym class or that meal with a friend when you’ve got a project deadline coming up. Friends are great, but paying the rent is better, am I right? But that’s not a great idea. Having free time to maintain your health and personal friendships is one of the keys to maintaining a good balance. And, honestly? As much as we hate that Pilates class or the evening run whilst we’re doing them, there’s nothing like a bit of exercise to clear the mind for future creativity. Friendships are similarly important to maintaining your wellbeing. So, don’t feel guilty for staying out late and grabbing that second glass of wine. Seriously though, the fifth one was probably too much.
Take time to make time
We’re slightly evangelical about time-tracking tools. We’ve utilised a few of them over the years in various forms, and they’re an excellent way of making us responsible for how productively we use our time. Whether time-tracking software is the way forward or simply making a note of when and how long a task lasts, making time to see how your spend your time is a great way of holding yourself accountable. Plus, it means that in the future you can know where you need to invest more energy, and where you can shave off a few minutes for yourself.
We hope that these tips are helpful for you, and we’d love to know how you’ve applied some of them to your own freelance journey! And of course, if you ever need some advice on how to find an effective workspace for your working day, you know where to come.