Getting a work life balance isn’t easy. It takes a lot of effort time, and concentration. It’s all too easy to let things spiral out of control and swiftly find yourself working every evening, spending every moment doing things you don’t want to be doing. It can be quite the drain! You can soon find yourself wondering if the tasks will ever end, but all you have to do is follow these quick steps and you can easily end up striking the sweet spot and really finding your balance.
Stop thinking about work all the time
Seriously, it will still be there tomorrow. This is one of the most crucial points and one that tends to drive people insane. When you have designated time off, do not think or worry about work, it’s meant to be time off after all. Instead, spend that time relaxing and doing things that you actually want to do. If you need to justify it to yourself (and you shouldn’t but we’ll come onto that later) then think of it as investing time in your future happiness, which in turn allows you to work more productively. If you’re too stressed all the time, the quality of your work will inevitably suffer. You want to be able to relax a little and come into work fully focussed, rather than still stressed after a weekend.
Realise that it’s not the end of the world
We all make mistakes sometimes, but when you’re freelance those mistakes can seem crushing. The client could suddenly crack and decide that actually they don’t want you anymore. Or worse still, go under and not pay you. Then how would you pay your bills? And you’ve decided that you need this one badly, this is your best client. You shouldn’t have spent some of the money already but you have because it’s so easy to do just that. It’s a nightmare all round really, and suddenly your mind is overflowing with stress and worry and that’s no good for anyone. So what can you do? Well for starters you can realise that life will go on. The world will keep turning and everything will be fine, even if you do end up losing the client. And realistically, how likely is that to even happen? You can’t always assume the worst when you work, or you’ll end up driving yourself and everyone you vent to insane. Instead, you have to have a level of trust in yourself, your colleagues and your clients. Even if the worst does happen, you will bounce back, so make provisions for it happening then move on. Don’t let worry consume you, or you’ll spend every waking moment in fear.
Be kind to yourself
You want to push yourself and achieve and that is highly admirable. It’s great infact and that drive is going to be a great thing for you. But it cannot become the consuming emotion of your life. You need to accept things sometimes and just be happy. We know that it can seem stressful but it’s necessary to just let go sometimes. To let yourself enjoy your accomplishments and revel in them. After all, you’ve likely done exceptionally well to get to where you are. So pat yourself on the back every now and again and say well done. You deserve it, and keeping morale up is essential. When you have appreciation for yourself, you won’t let yourself fall into the common traps of anxiety and fear that often scar many freelancers. You’ll be able to find a better worklife balance because you’ll know that actually, you deserve it. You deserve the time off, you deserve not to succeed every single time.
Don’t be afraid to say no
We’ve all ended up taking too much work on and being swamped by it. Sometimes, it can feel like you’re drowning beneath a wave of responsibility and worry. After all, when you have that much work, it’s all too easy to snap at people and be short. To mar personal relationships with your own professional anxieties, letting others get caught up in your worries. If that’s the case, then just say no. Take less work, don’t let yourself be treated in a way that causes such issues. It’s a simple thing but one that so many of us struggle with now. It can seem like you’re failing when you say no to work or unreasonable demands, that you simply can’t hack the increasing demands but in reality it’s just about setting realistic expectations. If you worked at a company, your manager would be doing this for you, they would be ensuring that your workload isn’t too heavy. So let that happen here, let yourself be the voice that says “they’re too busy for this, sorry”. It isn’t a failing, it isn’t weakness, it’s a necessary part of being a successful and self-respecting person. If you want to get your work life balance into a good place, there’s no more important factor than this.
Remember why you’re doing it
Sometimes, there will be periods where you have to work harder than ever. You might be saving for something, work might be especially hectic, you might make a major mistake and need to fix it. Whatever the reason might be, accept that sometimes it happens. It isn’t a reflection of you and going through those periods is necessary sometimes. You need to stick it out, dig your trenches and win that war. It will be slow, it will be draining, there will be times where all you want to do is lie down in the mud and just give it all up. But if you keep on going, if you let yourself find the will to succeed and rise above it all, then you will get to the other side. And it will all be worth it. You will get there, you just have to hold on. Having a goal or objective here can be vital and can give you the focal point you need to make it through all that uncertainty and doubt.