As a freelancer, how do you balance your time? Is it difficult to not always “be” at work since your home office is in the next room? – Shelley L.
You could ask 10 difference freelancers this same question and get just as many answers. Why? It’s about what works for you.
One of the reasons I picked answered this question is because I found myself assessing my priorities this spring. While claiming I wanted more time for a personal writing project, I proceeded to book copywriting gig after gig, racking up more than 280 hours in a single month.
I also kept comparing myself to other freelancer friends who were billing 60 hours a week or building businesses as weekend warriors (taking new projects on Friday afternoon and delivering them on Monday morning). They were thriving. I was burned out.
With the help of very supportive people in my life, including a fantastic mentor, I started to focus on what I needed to do to achieve my goals and take care of myself. Here’s what works for me (at least for now).
- Separating email accounts. I used my professional email address for all of my email, whether it was work-related or not. Which meant I was always plugged into work. So that I could still keep in touch with friends and family, but take a real break from work, I began using a separate email for personal messages. It’s made a huge difference in helping me recharge. If I need to turn off work email for a weekend, I can. It’s also helped me keep my work email more organized and efficient.
- Setting work hours. With an occasional exception, I keep Monday-Friday “business hours,” roughly matching those of my clients. Those hours may extend or vary based on deadlines or times zones, but I function better with a somewhat set routine, rather than varying my schedule each day. It also helps to establish boundaries with people who think you’re available all the time because you work from home.
- Designating a workspace. I got to my office every workday. Okay, it’s a 60-second commute (if you include a stop at the coffee maker), but it helps me get into work mode. Since I have one space designated for copywriting, it’s easier to “leave” work and let myself relax in the evening.
Okay, fellow freelancers, what works for you? How do you balance work with taking care of yourself? Please share in the comments here.