How to balance freelancing, contract working and family life
Making the decision to go from full-time employment to contracting or starting a small business is something few people regret. That said, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy freelance work-life balance once the contracts start coming in.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the steps you can take to help keep your productivity high without sacrificing contact with family, friends and loved ones.
First, for those of you with not much time to spare, we’ll give you the headlines to get you striking that balance straight away. Then, if you want to read further, we’ll delve into each tip to offer some further guidance. Without further ado, let’s jump in.
Our top five tips for balancing family life and freelance/contracting
1 – Try to work set hours
Enjoy the flexibility of freelancing, but stick to regular hours whenever possible.
2 – Get out of the house
Working from home all the time means increased distractions and lower productivity.
3 – Learn to be hyper-organised
Welcome to freelancing, where your calendar is your new best friend.
4 – Outsource where you can
Time is money, so save some wherever you can.
5 – Remember that freelancers need holidays too
Taking time away from your work is a necessity, not a luxury.
Okay, that’s the key headlines covered. Now let’s delve into each one a little deeper, to see how you can work them into your life.
Try to work set hours
One of the many advantages of freelance contract working is its flexibility. But although it is great to manage your workload around the rest of your life, it can start to take over if you’re not careful. So, it’s a good idea to set yourself a daily work schedule.
The great thing is that, because you know your workload, you can set hours to suit you – whether that’s during school hours, or even in the evenings.
Get out of the house
Many freelancers and contractors work from home. And with good reason – it’s cost-effective and convenient. However, you might find it difficult to ignore distractions or even to switch off if you only ever work where you live.
Of course, you don’t need to go out and pay for an expensive office in the city. Just a couple of hours in a coffee shop will see distractions minimised and productivity soaring.
Learn to be hyper-organised
When you’re in full-time employment, your time is pretty much laid out by your employer. But as soon as you become your own boss, that organisation can go awry. Combat it by taking your time seriously.
At first, it might feel like overkill to plan your time out by the hour, but after a while, you’ll come to appreciate the importance of being organised.
Outsource where you can
One of the great things about freelancing is getting a real understanding of the value of your time. Once you recognise that, you’ll start to appreciate the areas of your life where you can save a few hours.
Take food shopping for example. If it takes 2 hours to go to the shop and 1 hour to do an online shop, then that’s an hour of potential earning you’re giving up.
Remember that freelancers need holidays too
As we mentioned above, when you are in full-time employment you’re often reminded by the HR team or office manager to use your holiday allowance. Of course, when you’re freelancing, there is no allowance.
But that shouldn’t mean not taking time off. When you start freelancing, holidays might feel like a luxury. They are not. Without that necessary time off you’ll burn out quicker than half a match. Even if finances are tight, try to schedule in a few days here and there to catch up with family and friends, relax, and focus on other areas of your life.
The journey into freelance working or contracting can be demanding, and sometimes tiring. But by keeping these rules in mind, you’ll keep your enthusiasm up and your loved ones happy.
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