How to Have a Good Work-Life Balance as a Freelancer
Freelancing gives you the freedom to organize your own time. That, however, can lead to a situation where there is no time for fun, which is not ideal. But as a freelancer, you should be able to strike a healthy work-life balance. For example,
- You should make time to socialize, especially if you work independently from home.
- Establishing healthy boundaries can help you stay focused and prevent burnout.
- Workspace matters; create a comfortable, organized spot to get things done.
- Schedule some time away from the computer to relax and pursue interests outside of work.
This guide explains practical ways to have an excellent work-life balance as a freelancer.
Let’s dive right in.
1. Write Down Your Big-Picture Goals.
It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of freelancing, especially when you’re just starting. But this is the perfect time to think about your big-picture goals—the “why” behind everything.
To set yourself up for success, write down exactly what those goals are and make sure they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
For example, your plan may be to earn $100k in your first year as a freelancer. Or you may want to take clients who value quality over price points by November 31.
2. Know When to Start and Stop Work Each Day
The opportunity to work from home is a lifelong goal for some people. But it’s important to know what to do to make that lifestyle work well for you.
One of the best ways is to start and stop working at times that allow you to get things done without getting distracted.
Starting early will help keep distractions at bay. But stopping late in the day could lead to burnout and procrastination as work piles up.
Do your best work in the morning. If possible, schedule meetings or calls with clients or colleagues during this time. Whenever something comes up, you can postpone them.
You can finish early and start work again tomorrow morning without feeling exhausted.
3. Obey the End-of-Day Rule
Remember that your workday is finite. There is a time when you have to close the laptop and step away from the keyboard.
Before your work day ends at a reasonable hour, typically around 5:30 pm, tell yourself that you will stop working after that time. And it doesn’t matter whether or not all of your tasks are complete.
If there’s any task left unfinished when it’s 5:30 pm, take a rest. Then, come back and finish the work later in the evening or tomorrow morning. That way, you don’t burn out from overworking yourself.
You can use a time tracker for freelancers to ensure you’re on track while staying productive.
4. Take Breaks Throughout the Day
Although you manage your own time, you should still take daily breaks. This can help prevent burnout and make your work more enjoyable. Here are some suggestions:
You can take a walk outside at lunchtime and get some fresh air. Also, take five minutes after each task or project to reflect on how things went, what could have been improved, etc. That can help you improve next time around.
5. Take a Lunch Break.
You might think that taking a lunch break is optional. That’s why it’s normal to see freelancers working through their lunch hour. However, don’t skip that midday meal to stay productive and happy at work.
It’s important to remember that your body needs fuel and rest. So if you don’t have time for lunch, try eating healthy snacks, but don’t make it a habit as it will eventually affect your health and productivity.
Always make time for a healthy lunch break. If you’re going to eat at your desk anyway, make sure the food you choose is well-balanced with protein and fiber.
6. Say No to Things That Don’t Fit With Your Goals
As a freelancer, saying no is one of the most important things you can do for your work-life balance. If you can’t say no to things that don’t align with your goals and priorities, it’s a problem with you, not others.
Saying no means setting boundaries so that other people know where they stand around what you will or won’t do. It also helps protect your time so that it doesn’t get wasted on activities that aren’t serving any real purpose.
You may think this makes you seem uncooperative or unreliable, but there are many ways around this:
- Ask questions when someone asks for something from you;
- Be clear about how much time each request takes up; and
- Be honest if anything isn’t possible at all
7. Take Vacation Breaks
It’s easy to let work-life balance slip through our fingers as freelancers. But what’s the point of hustling if you don’t take time off? You shouldn’t feel guilty for taking your days off. You’ve earned them.
As a freelancer, no one can tell you whether or not it’s okay to take a day off. It’s entirely up to you to decide how much work is healthy for your life and your business.
However, ensure no urgent tasks are available and that your clients and relevant people know you’re on a break.
8. Take a Digital Detox Once In a While.
To maintain a healthy work-life balance, you have to take a break from your computer and other digital devices once in a while. Of course, we all know that technology can be addictive. However, taking a break from it is also necessary.
That way, you won’t lose sight of what’s truly crucial. Here are some ideas to try out:
- Take a walk in nature with no headphones or music. Just enjoy the beauty around you.
- Read a book. If there isn’t time for reading or listening to books during the day or night, watch TV shows or YouTube videos.
- Take a nap. Not only does napping improve productivity, but it also helps reduce stress levels.
If you feel your work-life balance is off, you can do plenty of things to get back on track. It’s not easy, but the payoff is worth it. You’ll feel better about yourself and your work, which will, in turn, make you more productive.
All it takes is some self-awareness and planning. So if you’re ready to start taking some proactive steps toward a better lifestyle for yourself that’s less stressful and more rewarding, use this guide!
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