Some people claim that work-life balance is a myth, but I’ve always been a believer. Most of us have to work to earn money and most likely still want to have a social life and take care of our other responsibilities.
Thus, establishing a balance between work and your personal life is a must.
When I was working a traditional job and running my business on the side, I really thought my work-life balance was horrible. When I quit my job, I quickly realized that being self-employed would require 10x the energy, dedication, and productivity I that was required to maintain my old schedule.
As a result, I set out to improve my work-life balance as a full-time freelancer by doing these three simple things.
1. I Got a Full 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night
I know it sounds easy to recommend that business owners sleep more, but when it comes to working for yourself, your to-do list is never-ending. Once you accomplish one thing, something else will pop up.
On the other hand, being newly self-employed can be very exciting. You can work on your own terms, watch daytime talk shows in place of a hefty daily commute, travel, or even stay up eating Cheetos and watching Netflix all night if you wanted to.
As much as I wanted to go on a Netflix binging spree, I knew that I had to prioritize getting the rest I needed. Sleep not only restores your body and improves your health, but it can influence your productivity level the following day.
With so much on my plate during the first few months of self-employment, getting enough sleep was a must so I could maximize the time I was most productive to knock out my most mentally challenging work tasks.
2. I Got on a Schedule
My schedule is not as strict now as it was when I was working a traditional job, but I still have a schedule in place because, without it, my life would be a mess.
As soon as I quit my job to freelance, I created a rough schedule of what I wanted my day to look like. I scheduled out the chunks of time I would use to work, when I would do chores at home, what time my ‘lunch break’ would be, when I would head to the gym and work out, what time of the day I’d utilize for down time, etc.
Every day looks different for me and sometimes things don’t work out as planned but I try to draft up a rough schedule Monday through Sunday so I can stay on track. I’m a big fan of writing things down and that’s what really helps me realize where I’m spending more of my time and whether I’m overworking myself or not putting in enough effort in one particular area of my life.
3. I Started Valuing My Mental Health More
Getting enough sleep and sticking to a schedule allowed me to have enough time and energy to value my mental health more. I’ve always been a perfectionist and sometimes that hasn’t worked in my favor.
I tend to set too many goals, work until I burn out, and beat myself up when I don’t meet the unrealistic standards I set for myself.
Valuing my mental health more has allowed me to take it easier on myself and embrace prioritizing downtime, work on improving my personal relationships with others, get comfortable with outsourcing some tasks to others, and give myself permission to close my laptop and go screenless during certain times of the day.
Most important, I can truly enjoy the perks of being self-employed while providing the neccessary amount of self-care when I need it.
Summary: Measure Your Success By the Balance You’re Able to Achieve
A happy and balanced entrepreneur is a successful entrepreneur in my opinion. If you’re making a ton of money but you’re miserable, stressed out, and have a sucky relationship with yourself and other people, you need to think back to the reasons why you wanted to start your own business.
It probably wasn’t so you could be unhappy all over again in a different work setting. While you may never achieve the perfect balance, you can’t give up on it completely.
Make yourself a priority, commit to a schedule, maximize peaks of time when your productivity is highest, and stop being so hard on yourself.