We freelancers seem to crave work/life balance.
In fact, the hope for a better work/life balance is one of the main reasons many of us become freelancers.
Achieving a better work/life balance may even be the reason that you became a freelancer. It’s a common goal for many freelancers. And, of course, a good work/life balance can be a difficult goal to reach.
One thing is well known. The lack of a healthy work/life balance can lead to a whole laundry list of ugly problems that no one really wants–problems such as:
- Poor Health
- Relationship problems
So, it’s no wonder that Scott Shane recently published an article on Entrepreneur discussing entrepreneurial freedom. Life balance is something a lot of us (entrepreneurs or not) are looking for.
If you’re a freelancer, you probably already know that a lot of things can go wrong on the way to finding a better work/life balance. In this post, I’ll share some secrets that will help.
How to Achieve a Better Work/Life Balance
Do you want to achieve a better work/life balance? Try these tips:
- A few larger jobs are better than a myriad of smaller jobs. It may seem like a single thousand-dollar project is worth the same as ten hundred dollar projects, but most of the time the ten hundred-dollar projects will cause more aggravation. Also, the more projects you have, the more likely you are to have scope creep. Have a minimum project fee and don’t accept projects that pay less than that amount.
- Set appointments, don’t be on call. One of the biggest destroyers of work/life balance is your phone. This is especially true since most of us keep our smart phones on us at all times. Reclaim your off hours. Rather than give out your phone number to every client, make phone appointments through email. Arrange to call your clients back at a time that is right for you.
- Do one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is a myth. You may feel like you are getting a lot done, but in all likelihood you are probably just spinning your wheels when you multi-task. Multi-tasking can lead to mistakes and carelessness. It also adds unnecessary stress to your work. Instead of multi-tasking, pick one task to tackle first and complete that task before moving on to the next task on your list.
- Don’t believe in “once in a lifetime” opportunities. We freelancers put a lot of pressure on ourselves by believing that a project or product is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. We knock ourselves out to get that opportunity, believing that this is our only chance. Most of the time, these unique opportunities are not really so unique. In reality, most legitimate opportunities repeat themselves over time.
- Maintain core work hours. Although no one is forcing you to work certain hours, it’s a good idea to have set times when your freelancing business is “open” and when it is “closed.” You can even publish your core hours on your website. If you don’t establish and maintain core working hours, the danger is that you will find yourself working all the time. And of course, your work/life balance will be affected.
- Shut the door. Although not every work-at-home freelancer is able to designate an entire room for their freelancing business, it really helps if you can set the business apart from the rest of your home. If you have a door to your home office, that can be as simple as closing it when you are done with work for the day. Otherwise, “shutting the door” may simply mean turning off your computer or letting your phone go to voicemail.
- Maintain good client relationships. It’s much easier to continue working with an existing client than to constantly be proving yourself to new a new client. With an existing client, you probably already know what they expect and want. With a new client, the risk of failure is much higher. Staying on good terms with your existing clients, especially those with high quality work, can definitely help your work/life balance.
As you can see, a healthy work/life balance is attainable with a little planning and discipline on your part.
As a freelancer, do you struggle to maintain a healthy work/life balance? How do you do it?
Share your best tips to maintaining work/life balance in the comments.
Image by Kate Ter Haar