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Work-Life Balance Tips for the Self Employed
by Startacus Admin
If you’re in the midst of starting a business, chances are it’s consuming your every waking thought. It may be great to be doing something that you love, but if it starts to be the only thing that you ever do, that passion may soon wear thin and it’ll all start to become a chore - either that or the other parts of your life will start to suffer. It can be so much easier if you have a regular job. You leave the office. You go home. Your non-work life begins. Working for yourself however is a whole other ball game - your home may be your office - you never leave! Where does work stop and life begin? We don’t necessarily have all the answers here at Startacus - we’re still learning too! What we do have however are some basic tips that we are finding work for us. Try our Work-Life Balance Tips for the Self Employed - we hope they help!
Set your Working Hours As much as it is great to not be in a regimented 9-5 routine, it’s still worthwhile to set (and stick to) some regular working hours. Create a working routine that works for you - whether that means early morning starts before the rest of the household awakens or burning the midnight oil at the other end of the day. It’s important to establish a working routine and to stick to it as best you can. If that means no ‘work’ after 6 in the evening, so be it. Working around the clock won’t necessarily mean that you get more done - in fact you’re likely to be so much more productive if you don’t.
Establish some boundaries Rules and boundaries and routine - they may sound as if they don’t fit with the idyllic freelancer or self employed life, but they actually do. Setting some rules will not only help you achieve more, but will also help your friends and family. Let people know when you are working and can’t be interrupted. Just because your office is in your kitchen doesn’t mean all and sundry can pop by whenever they feel like it. The more you adhere to the rules, the more they become the norm and that in turn will only benefit you.
Have some ‘down time’ Most people who work Monday to Friday in regular jobs can’t wait for the weekends so that they can do all the things they don’t get a chance to do ordinarily. The same should apply if you are self employed. Do make time for hobbies, interests and pastimes that are entirely unrelated to your work. Spend proper time with friends and family and distract yourself from that never-ending to-do list. Having some quality ‘down time’ is crucial if you are going to perform at your best when you’re working - you’ll be happier, healthier and all the better for it.
Switch off the gadgets Gadgets as we all know can be a blessing and a curse. We’re constantly connected and in many cases probably a tad addicted. How many of us feel a sense of panic if our phone battery is running out of juice or can’t even sit and have a meal with our family without our phone being on the table too? The answer most likely is lots! To try and have any sort of work-life balance, it’s vital to disconnect yourself. Set your phone so it only syncs emails or social media accounts during your working hours. Use silent mode or even better leave the gadgets in another room. Let clients or customers know your working hours - nobody expects you to be on call 24/7 so don’t be. It may be hard to do this from the off but like everything else in life, it’ll get easier in time.
Don’t feel guilty Remember if you are self employed, you answer to yourself, therefore any feelings of guilt that you may have for not working are entirely self inflicted. Try not to feel guilty when you are not working - you will be all the more productive for it. You’ll feel more energised, refreshed and that’s surely not a bad thing. Remind yourself why it’s important for you to have some leisure or down time and focus on that when pangs of guilt appear. Don’t let guilt drag you down. Remember you’re in control of your mind as well as your business!
We hope these basic tips on getting the balance right help just a tad - we’re trying our very best to practice what we preach where they’re concerned! Got any other tips that you’d like to share? Why not let us know over at the forum? If you liked this article, you may also want to read our article on The importance of taking a Holiday if self employed...
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