Freelancers - how is work-life balance possible for you?
Hustle culture. Working all hours. Scrounging all your resources. Early mornings and late nights and the phone just won’t stop ringing. Sound familiar? Are you a freelancer or do you know one? Because that can be the life sometimes. Slowly but surely, the myth is being busted and turns our slowly working towards a complete breakdown is not as glamorous as some people may sell the idea to be. What really was an epidemic, glorified for many unknown reasons, is really under the microscope. There should be no reason anyone works so solidly and properly and yet feels as though they have not done enough - and that they must keep working. But, wait, aren’t we always warned about work-life balance? Isn’t it yet another thing you SHOULD be doing? Herein lies the point of this article: assessing how a work-life balance is possible for you - yes, you deserve it, but there must be a method within the madness.
How to know when your life and work are not balancing out
Are you tired, like, all the time? Mornings are hard, no matter all the superfood granola you eat - but, hey, the end of the day is hard too and the temper is always a little shorter than what you are used to. Sometimes you yourself can find yourself with time - time for a morning run, time to reflect and yet when it comes time to start work you find and realise you do not have the energy, creative or otherwise, to spend on this task. Perhaps you are feeling a little more sensitive to insecurities and valuing your work. Regardless, anyone of the above things will affect you and therefore your business. They may seem tedious, menial or irrelevant but there is no doubt in any case: it is time to change something about how you are working.
You could be new to the game or a seasoned fox who knows all the ins and outs - it will not stop this moment from coming and needing your attention at some point, and sometimes, many points. Avoiding the above issues, and the many I did not mention, requires great discipline, and internalised sense of work ethic and work quality. Now, isn’t that sentence easier to say than do? Why, of course, it is. But with some strategic techniques, you can find a way to negotiate a new system that really works for you. This will probably take time you feel like you do not have - but it is far more valuable in the long run. After all, your business won’t work unless you do.
There are some serious implications when it comes to the stress of work and impending burnout as applied to mental health. Please do not refrain from seeking help and asking for help, and getting it from professionals, if you need it. Sometimes it is not so simple and sometimes it has been going on so long - you forgot what normal feels like, and that is O.K. But for those who are just looking to evolve or educate themselves in the first instances of seeking change, the following tips are for you.
Start with accepting you are not coping
Forget the ego, forget the pride, forget that you are your own boss and this ‘should not happen’. Just forget it all. And accept it is not working: maybe you are not producing as you are used to, maybe you are not feeling healthy. As soon as you accept that something isn’t working, you can start figuring out how to fix it. The key to this is very much, at first, in the little habits. This is especially important when it comes to WHERE and HOW you work. Maybe you find it easier to ignore your work because you are tucked into bed, or you do not get dressed for the day, or maybe because the home is the office everything is a bit too messy so it no longer feels like a workplace. Well, these are small practical problems that can be addressed and changed almost instantly, and therefore it is a good start.
So start with really differentiating your work and home space. This means - when it comes to balancing it there will be a clear definition of what space is for what… see where this is going. Really, begin by acting the same way as if you were going to an office. Yeah, take the bathrobe off, and brush your teeth. Stick to your to-do list for the day and integrate new items or requests so that they can be handled realistically. Do not live in a world where everything can be done on the same day. If you find that there are always some / many points left on your list, think about and revise your time management. It's a sign that you're either always overreaching or your time management is not effective. Be kind to yourself, but be fair to your work and goals.