Freelancing comes with a fair bit of perks. Not having a boss looking over your shoulder sounds like a dream for most people, plus you get to choose your own hours. And with remote work becoming more and more normalized, freelancing is shaping up to be a good career choice.
However, freelancing has its challenges, and one of the biggest ones is achieving a healthy work-life balance. With that in mind, let’s take a look at nine proven ways in which you can achieve that coveted balance.
1. Work with a Specific Goal in Mind
If making money is your sole objective, then you are very likely to lose focus along the way and simply trail off. A better way of going about it would be to have a clear, specific goal that will keep you motivated. This can be anything – for example, getting that car you’ve been dreaming about, saving up to make a downpayment for your first home, or improving your portfolio so you can finally reach out to that huge client you’ve wanted to work with. Whatever you have in mind, a goal-oriented approach to work will help you make the most of your time and energy.
2. Set Working Hours
This may seem counterintuitive since flexibility is one of the main selling points of freelancing. But here’s the deal. When you set your own hours, you not only prevent your work from spilling over into your free time but also save yourself from burnout, which is all too common among freelancers. Anything goes, including nine-to-five, as long as you are productive and there is overlap between you and your clients during which you can communicate.
3. Don’t Let Your Social Life Suffer
Making time for family and friends is crucial for many reasons. First of all, unless you are freelancing from a coworking space, it can get pretty lonely sometimes. Second, seeing your loved ones and spending quality time with them. For example, that quality time can be a get together, going bowling, or something as simple as playing word games and quizzes.
4. Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Health
One of the keys to great work-life balance is keeping yourself in balance, both mentally and physically. Being productive and efficient can only be achieved by getting enough sleep and rest, as well as by eating right and exercising on a regular basis. Find a hobby that will engage you physically in an interesting way, such as paddle boarding, hiking, or simply taking long walks. Other activities, such as meditation, stretching, and taking short breaks, also help with maintaining your well-being.
5. Learn to Say “No”
It’s almost impossible to turn down an additional project that pays really well when you’re a freelancer, but you need to look at the bigger picture. Taking on more work will cut into your free time as well as your time with friends and family. Also, there is always a possibility that you won’t finish that project on time, which creates additional stress. Learning to say “no,” whether it’s to a client, family member, or even to yourself, is a must for every freelancer.
6. Outsource Some of Your Work
Remember that freelancing can be a two-way street, meaning that you can also outsource some of your work to other freelancers. For instance, if you are a content writer, you can hire a freelancer to take care of tasks that don’t represent your core work, such as publishing your posts using a CMS or sourcing images. Not to mention that hiring a bookkeeper is an absolute must, even if you know how to do it yourself. You can use the goLance platform to find skilled freelancers in various fields – including accounting, admin support, and writing – and optimize your search with filters for hourly rate, skills, feedback score, etc.
7. Take a Vacation
Unfortunately, even before the pandemic, many freelancers never even entertained the idea of a vacation. It’s not just about visiting the places that you’ve been wanting to see. It’s about disconnecting from your work and all the stress that it inevitably brings and recharging your batteries. Just make sure to set up everything in advance so that your work doesn’t feel the impact and that your clients are aware that you will be away for a bit.
8. Don’t Work on Weekends
Taking a vacation is great, but you also need some time off that will allow for a short-term recharge, so creating a habit of not working on weekends is an effective way of going about it. If you are working toward a particular professional goal, working every day and burning the midnight oil is a given, but once you get there, go easy on yourself. And it doesn’t have to be Saturday and Sunday either, but any day(s) of the week during which you will just decompress.
9. Stop Chasing Perfection
You will find that achieving a good work-life balance as a freelancer is not always going to work, and that’s perfectly fine. There are way too many factors at play for everything to run smoothly absolutely all the time. Don’t beat yourself up about it; otherwise, you’re just going to stress yourself out even further. There is always a new chance to do it better tomorrow.
Keeping a good balance between your personal and professional life is the key to being not just a successful freelancer but a happy individual. We hope you will find these tips helpful and that you will implement them in your routine. Good luck!