Let’s face it, maintaining the elusive work/life balance is a challenge for many professionals. Those in permanent employment at least get to leave the office, switch on an out of office or take a break while a colleague keeps on top of any vital tasks. All of which might seem like an unobtainable luxury to those who don’t have the safety net of an employer to rely on.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t freelance or contract while maintaining a personal life too. We spoke with some of our clients and they all told us that, no matter how much they enjoy their work, reserving some time for themselves, friends and family is vital. So, we’ve come up with our top Freelancing tips to help you balance your work and your lifestyle.
Don’t believe in ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities
Thinking you have to put something personal off or on hold because the work offer you just got is a ‘one time thing’, isn’t the best idea. Most of the time ‘unique’ opportunities will be presenting themselves more than once.
Few larger Jobs are better than lots of smaller ones
When you are taking on jobs, think about taking that large paying job rather than taking on a number of small jobs, it will benefit you in the long term and save you a lot of stress. They may be worth the same amount of money, but the focus on one project will save you the aggravation
Set appointments, don’t be on call
One of the top tips when creating a work/life balance is keep your phone in check, set hours to answer emails and phone calls in, and don’t waver from your schedule. If you waiver even once, it could upset your schedule and therefore interrupt your social life.
Maintain Core Work Hours
Again, set up your schedule of work hours and stick to it. It is ideal to be working around 9-5 as that is when everyone else will be available on call and email. If something comes up, agree realistic working hours with the client and leave yourself enough time to rest and relax away from work.
Shut the Door
If you work from home, make sure you are away from distractions and in your own space. The best way to do this is to simply shut your office door. Keep this procedure in place and it should help keep you in a work mind set.
Maintain good client relationships
Keep in contact with clients during a job and make sure to send follow up emails to check they are happy with work. A simple follow up will be appreciated; don’t start emailing every day, hassling them for more work!
Replace some work goals with personal goals
If your work goals take priority over your life it’ll begin to take a toll on your mental well-being. Take some time to set some personal goals to achieve instead of focusing on just work-based ones. Some ideas could be, setting a goal of going to the gym a certain number of times a week or starting a new hobby.
Don’t forget you are your own boss
This is important, don’t forget it! The fact you are your own boss means you have the freedom to dictate what you do. If you don’t think you can meet that deadline, tell the client and figure out a new plan. If you feel like you need some time off, figure out a plan around your work and do it. If you woke up and you don’t quite feel up to working, go back to bed make sure you get the rest and let your clients know you’ll be a day behind. You have the freedom to do what is best for you, use it.
Do one thing at a time
Finally, although multi-tasking may feel like you’re getting a lot done, a lot of the time it is just spinning wheels. Multi-tasking can often lead to mistakes and extra stress in your work. The best way to keep you from falling into this trap is to make a list of all your tasks and finish each one before moving on.
We’d love to hear from you if you have any tips or advice of your own so please feel free to add a comment below.