As a freelancer, maintaining work life balance can be a hard task. As well as juggling lots of clients and projects at once, there is the added pressure of taking care of all the housekeeping that comes along with freelance life. From finances and new business, to updating your social media profiles and chasing client payments, it all comes down to you.
So how do you make sure you get your work done and keeping your clients happy, while getting time to relax and see your family and friends too?
Jon Gill, who freelances under the name Playful Communications, gives this advice: “I’m convinced that being at work ‘all the time’, because you have your own business, is a choice. It doesn’t have to be that way. One promise I made to myself was that being ‘freelance’ is a ‘perk’! When I’m no longer seeing the family or if I’m worrying too much about bills then it’s time to get a ‘proper’ job!”
Other ways to make sure you see the family is to finish work at an appointed time in the evening, no matter what. Not only will you be more focussed in order to get finished on time, but you’ll also be able to relax in the evening and get a better night’s sleep. You can always get up early the next day to finish off anything urgent, but your mind will be more refreshed and you’ll finish the task quicker than if you plow on into the night.
Another hard fact of freelance life is that you often take *less* holidays than if you were in a full time job. The pressures of earning your own way and keeping clients happy (not to mention finding new clients) often means that it can feel extremely difficult to take time off.
Sarah Stimson, a freelance PR trainer and writer, thinks that it’s absolutely true that you tend to take less holiday when you are freelance: “You are also, generally, worse off if you have a baby – no employer paid maternity/paternity leave – as I discovered last year. The best bit of advice I’ve had is to to treat your work day as just that. Take a lunch break. Then, occasionally, skive off for the afternoon (and in my case go to the beach a few minutes walk away). Remind yourself why being freelance can be so good for your soul.”
Another area that often gets freelancers working overtime is when you have too much work on. It can be hard to turn down lucratively paid work, even when you have plenty on already. Ben Serbutt, a freelance graphic designer and illustrator, recommends that “while it may be the hardest thing to do, learning to say “no” to work is really important! Otherwise it can be very difficult to maintain a sensible work/life balance.”
There’s plenty of ways of maintaining your sanity while freelancing without working late nights and weekends. Just make sure you remember why you went freelance in the first place – preferably while taking a walk in the middle of the afternoon while others are slaving away at their desks in their stuffy offices.
What tips do you have for achieving work life balance as a freelance?
Leave them in the comments below!