Balancing Work and Life
So you’ve finally done it. You’ve made the leap from day job to working from home. You’re super excited and you’re ready to hit the ground running with your freelancing business. You’ve set up your home office just how you like it in order to get the job done, and things get underway. After a while, you start adding client after client and taking on more and more responsibility. After about six months you’re starting to feel overrun , tired, and tense. Why? Isn’t this what you wanted? Of course, but chances are, you just aren’t balancing work and life as a freelancer like you should be. Here, you’ll find some tips for balancing work and life as a freelancer.
Don’t take on too much work
I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s super-important that you understand this. We’re all in the same boat. I know you may be terrified that next month may be a slow month, but that doesn’t mean you should take on more work than you can handle now, in order to make up for what may happen in the future. This snake ends up having several venomous heads:
- You’ll start making a habit of taking on more work than you can do in a normal work day.
- You’ll consistently work longer hours to keep up with it.
- When more work comes next month, you’ll still take on more work than you should be handling solo.
- You’ll start getting burnt out on doing what you love.
- Your work will suffer.
You have to set working hours
I know you want to rake in every client, and you want to hover over every email, but you have to draw the line somewhere. You can work all the time, and if a client thinks you do, they’ll abuse it, trust me. Your work day has to end sometime, otherwise you’ll go crazy. The whole point of owning your own business is having the freedom to do what you want to do, when you want to do it, and how you want to do it.
Make sure you do those things you wanted to do
You started your own business because you were looking for more money and more personal freedom. Make sure that you are enjoying some of that freedom. Responsibly, take a day off every now and then and go visit a friend, or take a road trip. Cut out early on a Friday when you have all of your projects done and take a weekend trip to the beach. If you have a family, like I do, take a surprise weekend vacation, or just make sure you spend a lot of time with your kids.
Why Balance is Important as a Freelancer
I am reminded of the original Karate Kid movie, where Mr Miagi tells Danny that in life you have to have balance. In the end, Danny could quit the tournament because he got hurt, because he fought valiantly, but Danny tells Mr. Miagi that he’ll never have balance knowing Cobra Kai got the best of him. The same thing works in freelancing. You have to have balance to be happy. Without balance, your work will suffer, your life will suffer, and your health will suffer. If you don’t have a balance of life, work, and fun, none of it will ever be balanced.
Think about when you get frustrated trying to solve a problem. Does that ever work out for you? Does it ever go smoothly when you get frustrated? If you’re like me, then no, it doesn’t. Thinks work out much better when you walk away and come back to it with a fresh mind. The same thing goes with design. You may be stuck on a solution that day for a client. If time permits, don’t site there and dwell on it, working after hours, missing dinner with your family, not putting your kids to bed. Come back to it the next day with a fresh mind, and you’re more likely to solve it in less time, while coming up with a better solution that doesn’t seem forced.
Are you balancing Work and Life as a freelancer?
What are your experiences with this? Do you have a problem cutting it off at a certain time each day? Share your stories and thoughts in the comments section below.