There’s a lot to love about being a freelancer. At the top of the list is the ability to make your own hours, along with firing the clients who are nothing but terrible. The downside about the freelancer lifestyle is that can be difficult to manage your work-life balance. Unlike some 9-5ers, we aren’t necessarily done just because a certain hour.
Luckily, there are ways that you can have a favorable work-life balance.
Here are 12 Tips to Work-Life Balance with Your Freelancing Business
1. Realize What You’re Working For
Whether you’re a freelancer or working a 9-5 job, your career makes it possible to pay your bills. But, if you’re just working to make ends meet, it’s easy to lose focus on what exactly you’re working for. Instead of just working simply to work, take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Are working to purchase a new vehicle? Are you planning an European vacation? Working towards something other paying bills will make do the freelance hustle so that you can live your life.
2. You Don’t Have to Be Perfect
This doesn’t mean that you can slack on a project. It means that you have to accept that you aren’t perfect. And, that also applies to work. If you’re a writer, who happens to be a perfectionist, you could spend just as much time overanalyzing every single word as you would actually writing the article. If you do that for every piece that you compose, you aren’t living much time for your personal life.
3. Enjoy Yourself
One of the best things about being a freelancer is that you have a flexible schedule. That means you can find the time to do the things that you make your happy without always fitting that into the typical work schedule.
For example, I love going to the beach. I make sure that I complete my important tasks first and then are able to squeeze in several beach days throughout the summer. Best of all? I can do that during the week which means I can avoid a crowded beach. Once I get back, I’m ready refreshed and ready to tackle the batch of articles.
4. Make Time For Your Friends and Family
It get can be stressful being a freelancer since gigs can come and go over the course of a month. Add that unpredictable to juggling work for multiple clients and your stress level can go through the roof. And, that’s when your nearest and dearest come into play.
They can help you cope with stress. Not only is this good for your productivity, it’s also beneficial for your overall health since social interactions can reduce health concerns like cardiovascular disease.
5. Make a Calendar For Your Professional and Personal Lives
It’s one thing to make time for travel or going to dinner with friends. It’s another thing to actually make that happen. To help you schedule time for both your personal and professional lives, you can make two separate calendars; one for work and one for play.
It’s a simple way to stay organized so that you can ensure that you’ll find the time to complete projects and enjoy yourself your time off.
6. Stick to Your Daily Routine
I mentioned earlier that the flexible schedule that freelancers have is a major perk. But, you should attempt to create a daily routine. Just like working 9-5, your daily routine allows you to have a healthy work-life balance since it can determine when you work and when you take time off.
I try to get an early start in the morning at around 8am so that I can check email, read my newsfeed, and plan out my articles for the day. I usually try and finish up my tasks for the day by 5 o 6 so that I can enjoy the rest of my night.
7. Go Off the Grid
As a freelancer, you’re probably checking your email multiple times throughout the day and then working on your articles, designs, etc. After spending all week online though, you need to step away. Once Friday evening arrives, usually around 5 or 6 for me, I’m willing to unplug for the weekend. While I don’t turn off my phone, I don’t frantically check my emails as I would during the work because my eyes need a rest from staring at a computer screen.
Besides, constantly checking your texts and emails during your time-off prevents you from getting the most out of your quality time with friends, family, or your favorite hobby.
8. Outsource Certain Tasks
This may not be the case for all freelancers, but if you’re in a situation where you can outsource some of your workload and tedious tasks, then take advantage of sites like Upwork or Taskrabbit. For example, you could hire another freelancer to assist you with a web design project or a hire a virtual assistant to manage your invoices or even someone to clean your house.
Without worrying about completing a project on-time or doing the things that you dread, like going to the grocery store, you can now spend that time doing something that you really want to.
9. Focus on One Thing at a Time
Every month I get a list of articles that have to finished by the end of the month. At first, I look at that list and then feel completely overwhelmed. To deal with this, I start working on one article at time. Once that article is done I cross it off a list and move on to the next one.
When you only focus on everything that you have to do, you’re wasting valuable time that could be spent on being productive. And, when you’re not productive, you’re spilling work-time into your free-time.
10. Eliminate Distractions
You only have so many hours in a day to complete your daily to-do-lists, both personally and professionally. That’s why you need to avoid as many distractions as possible so that you can accomplish all of your tasks – remember, the sooner you get done work, the sooner you can play.
If you want to eliminate distractions you can use time tracking tools, download apps that block email and social media distractions, have a clean workspace, or just shut the door with a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign.
11. Eat Healthy and Meditate
It’s easy to neglect your health when balancing both your work and life. However, you aren’t nearly as productive as you could be when you’re not feeling your best mentally or physically. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise can pump up your endorphins, relieve stress, and improve your mood.
Whether it’s mediating, walking, or becoming a bodybuilder, you can boast your productivity by finding a couple hours each week to get your body and mind in better shape. And, if you’re in a pleasant, people will actually want to be around you.
12. Learn to Say ‘No’
Uttering the word ‘no’ to a client is one of the hardest things that a freelancer can say. After all, you never know when work is going to dry up. The thing is, if you already have a full plate of work, why take on another project? The additional work is going to increase your stress level and interfere with your personal life. Besides, it’s not fair to your client. They expect your best work and if you’re too time-strapped, you may deliver subpar work.
If you can’t handle the workload, be honest with the client. They may have to move on to another freelancer. Or, they may be flexible with you and extend their deadline.