I’ve been working as a freelance writer since late 2017. One of the biggest problems that I’ve faced throughout my career is having a healthy work/life balance as a freelancer.
Transitioning from having a “boss” for 16 years (public school & college) to being your own boss was awkward for me. It’s a hard realization that you are the only person who’s responsible for getting up every day and getting the work done on time.
Over the past three years, I’ve learned that you have to be intentional about optimizing your workdays while simultaneously ensuring you get your rest. Without intention, your schedule/mental health/physical health/etc. can get out of whack very fast. It’s certainly a difficult balance to master, but I’ve come up with a few tips below to help you keep a healthy work/life balance as a freelancer.
1. Know Your Power Hour
Whether you’re a night owl or a morning (….chicken? robin? blackbird?), we all have a specific point in the day where we work our best.
I’m a morning person. My peak working time is 7 am – 11 am-ish. After lunch at 12, I can feel myself losing steam. By 3 pm, I’m ready to have myself a juice, snuggle with my blankie, and go nap nap.
I design my work schedule to fit my natural habits. My creative, writing-intensive work is done at the beginning of the day. As the day moves into the afternoon, I’m doing more administrative stuff (creating blog graphics on Canva, scheduling social media posts, pitching to editors, etc.).
Understanding how you work helps you optimize your schedule so your work isn’t bleeding into your downtime.
2. Make Boundaries and Stick to Them
Implement “office hours” and stick to them as your life depended on it. When the day’s done, it’s DONE sis. Turn off your email notifications. Close your computer. Walk away from your office.
Don’t take work calls after your day is over. I’ve dealt with clients that have wanted constant contact with me, which is unrealistic. Don’t let anybody play you like those clients tried to play me. Once you set those boundaries, the people around you will adjust accordingly.
Apply those strict boundaries to people in your personal life as well. For example, when you’re working, minimize taking personal calls. (Of course, there are exceptions to this. I’m referring to those time-suck, “calling-you-just-because” calls.) Take your work seriously and the people around you will follow suit. As some rapper probably said, “Real recognizes real.”
3. Make Lists
I’ve been a gigantic list nerd over the past year. Lists help me stay intentional with my actions, whether it’s during my workday or free time.
I have to be intentional about my self-care to make it a reality. If I’m not, I may spend my downtime scrolling aimlessly on social media or mindlessly binge-watching a TV show.
On workdays, my to-do lists are broken into two sections: things I need to do that day and things I’d like to do that day. On my off days, the entire list is things that I’d like to do. It’s personal reminders of the things that I enjoy, so I don’t reach the end of the day wondering where the time went.
How is your work/life balance, whether you’re a freelancer or not? What are some of your favorite things to do during your off days? Let me know in the comments section below!
If you would like to read more about my freelance writing journey, check out my 3rd Blogging Anniversary post or my September writing goals post.
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