Everything in moderation. These three words come in quite handy when trying to figure out how to attain the perfect work-life balance as a freelancer. While having the freedom to work from home is a major benefit for remote workers, it can also be an enormous setback for those who don’t know how to limit themselves (i.e. workaholics). A recent data poll from Inc. reported that remote workers are more likely to work longer weekly hours than their in-office counterparts, with 53% saying they put in over 40 hours when working remotely. So how does a remote worker learn to limit oneself when work starts taking over his or her life?
For many freelancers, there’s no “clocking out”, which means that if they don’t set some boundaries for both themselves and their employers, work can quickly become an overwhelming presence in their lives. Of course, a job that you love is a wonderful thing, but maintaining a balance between your work and non-work efforts is vital in creating a well-balanced life that will keep you loving that job.
Here are our eight tips for helping maintain a work-life balance in the midst of a productive and lucrative freelance lifestyle.
1) Create a Flexible Daily Schedule
Almost every freelancer finds that creating some sort of flexible schedule for themselves will instantly help them in getting work done consistently while not becoming overworked in the process. This doesn’t mean you have to give up your overall flexibility, but instead give yourself a schedule to adhere to for a majority of your work days, keeping you accountable to both work time and free time.
Decide how many hours a week you want to be working, and make that clear to your employer from the get-go. Obviously, if you have other commitments that fall through in the future, creating a slower week for yourself, you can always ask to pick up more assignments or hours when the situation arises. However, overcommitting yourself during the average week will either lead to you burning out or not having your work done by the set deadlines.
When you’re working remotely, employers can often forget that you’re not actually available 24/7. Tell your employer when you’re “signing off” for the day so that he or she knows you may not get back to any emails or messages until your next work day. You don’t want to be fielding texts and emails during your “off-hours”, or else you truly won’t be able to “turn off” for the evening. (No one wants to be working constantly!).
Much of freelance work comes in the form of short-term projects or gigs. That being said, a significant percentage of a freelancer’s work life includes seeking out future job opportunities. While you might not get paid for this, it’s definitely still a form of work. Schedule time for seeking out new work during the hours you want to be working, not during your “off-hours.”
If you’re a freelancer that’s charging a flat fee or project fee, then you’ll want to keep track of how much time you’re spending discussing the project with your manager, going over feedback, and reworking the project. If it’s more than you initially expected, you should consider discussing this with your manager and potentially asking for a higher project rate to account for all the time spent talking about the assignment’s logistics.
Depending on what kind of work you do, you may want to outsource some of the more tedious aspects of your job to other freelancers. Of course, this will cost you, but it may also create more time for you to pick-up additional work (and subsequently, make a higher income during your self-established work hours) or enjoy more personal time spent not working.
Working as a remote freelancer can become isolating, so find a community that you can work with whether that be at a local coffee shop or at a coworking hub. In addition to providing you with the kind of social interaction you’re craving and providing a healthier work environment, coworking spaces may also lead to future work endeavors through networking. (Check out this list of best coworking spaces across the globe for some inspiration).
While the thought of grabbing your laptop and working from your bed might sound like a good idea, it can actually be quite harmful in maintaining a proper work-life balance as doing such may keep you working after-hours because of the assumed convenience. If you work from home, keep yourself limited to a desk or table for completing your assignments. Also, avoid multi-tasking (such as watching the TV and working on your laptop) for similar reasons.
Originally written by Chelsey Grasso on Remote.com