Do you work as a freelancer and find it hard to ‘switch off’?
Being self-employed presents a lot of challenges especially when you work from home.
Think about it. Your home is your office. Your office is your home. Is can be hard to distinguish between these two things. When you go to a job every day you are in work mode and when you leave your desk your brain will put all this in a corner and instead focus on your personal life.
I worked from home for the better part of a year and while it had its advantages (being stuck in traffic and glancing at the clock is a daily ritual these days) it comes with some big drawbacks too. The isolation of working in the house every day, not having colleagues to bounce ideas off and, perhaps most importantly, the fact that you never felt disconnected from your job,
These are some tips I found incredibly useful to use when you work as a freelancer from home.
Get Up Early and Don’t Finish Late
I’m the sort of person that likes to get things done in the morning. While working from home conjures up images of starting at whatever time suits you, the reality is that the more you put something off the longer it will take you to do it.
Try and follow ‘set office hours’ or why not try and start at 7 and finish at 3? A common mistake many people make is to work well into the evening and while this can suit certain freelancers who work better at night this can cause an unhealthy life/work balance. You usually don’t stay after 5 at work that often in most jobs so why do it every night at home? You’re just eating into your free time and you’ll find it hard to distinguish between what is work and what is not.
Get Out of the House
As you work as a freelancer you generally aren’t earning anything if you’re not at your computer. If we want to make money writing online for example then we need to be, well, working. We aren’t salaried and don’t get paid for our lunch breaks.
That being said, taking time away from your computer is vital. Feeling burned out? Don’t think that you can look at another Word document? Get out of the house. Seriously, you don’t have a manager breathing down your neck wondering where you are every minute of every day. Go for a walk. Get in the car and drive. Head to the gym. Even go and finish up those household chores you said you would do yesterday. Taking time away from your computer and your work is important – you would have a break in the office so why not do it when working from home?
Staying Sane When You Work as a Freelancer
Working for yourself is great. It carries a lot of risk and requires a serious amount of dedication but it can reap fantastic rewards.
The problem is striking a healthy work/life balance because not going to an office everyday means that your home is basically your desk and many people find it hard to completely ‘switch off’. Even figuring out how to take a holiday can be difficult.
Remember to take some time for yourself. Get out of the house and do something. If you function relatively well in the mornings, then get up early and count your blessings that you can start work right away instead of navigating the daily traffic jam. When you work as a freelancer you can suffer isolation, burnout and a sense that EVERYTHING is about work.
Ensure that you make a clear distinction between your work and your life just like you would in any other job and if you can strike this balance then a freelancing career can be incredibly satisfying.