At first glance, freelancing seems too good to be true. After all, don’t freelancers spend their days watching television and Instagramming their avocado toast at some fancy brunch? Um, no.
FYI: “freelancing” is not a euphemism for “funemployed.” Truth is, freelancers hustle harder than anyone else we know. They’ve ditched the cozy nine-to-five job and a stable pay to be their own boss, take on on projects they love, and make bank. At the same time, having a flexible schedule can make it difficult for freelancers to maintain a healthy work-life balance – especially when they work from home.
“Work-life balance is about health – finding time in your day to take care of yourself and your needs. It leads to increased productivity, creativity, and joy,” says Belma McCaffrey, the CEO and Founder of Work Bigger.
McCaffrey is dedicated to helping people unlock their full potential and live their best, most successful lives – without burning out. Below, she shares her tips for freelancers who are craving a more, well, balanced work-life balance.
1. Don’t procrastinate.
Let’s face it: We all have that one project we really, really don’t want to do. Whether it’s difficult or tedious, we’ll do everything in our power to brush it off. Sure, pushing back that dreaded task might feel good at first, but you know you’ll wind up scrambling to finish it in the eleventh hour. Is the instant gratification worth the inevitable stress? No, which is why you should prioritize the things you don’t want to do first.
“I prioritize the work that requires deeper thinking,” McCaffrey explains. “I do that in the morning before any meetings because that’s when I have the most energy. As a result, I get the most difficult work out of the way.”
Trust us, you’ll feel more productive when you’ve finally completed whatever’s hanging over your head.
2. Make “me time.”
We’re all for working hard, but hustling from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed isn’t healthy for anyone – and can lead to some serious burn-out. Give yourself the self care you deserve by scheduling “me time” and sticking to it.
“It’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have,” McCaffrey says. “We’re human, so prioritizing things that bring us joy and make us feel good is absolutely essential to our success”
Whether you’re booking a yoga class or a much-needed drinks date with your best friend, go ahead and add it to your calendar. But – and here’s the tricky part – don’t cancel because you feel like you can’t spare the time. You wouldn’t be a no-show for the important meetings on your agenda, so why should “me time” be any different?
3. Less is more.
Everyone’s idea of their maximum workload varies. Some people thrive when juggling multiple tasks at a time, while others are a one project kind of person. If you’re trying to figure out how much is too much, McCaffrey says less is more.
“Take on less projects at higher price points,” she explains. “Figure out what you need to do to up your value. Once you do that, you can simplify your workload and reduce your stress level.”
McCaffrey shares that she takes on three major tasks at a time.
4. Evaluate your energy.
Freelancers are constantly thinking about time – when a project is due, when they’ll receive their paycheck, and when they should send a cold email to their dream client, for starters. However, McCaffrey argues we should stop placing so much emphasis on time and start focusing on our energy.
“I think finding that balance is about energy versus time,” she says. “We always tell Work Bigger clients to tune into their energy – what energizes them and what depletes them?”
You could have all the time in the world, but won’t get anything done if you feel tired and burnt out. That being said, it’s important to use your energy as efficiently as possible.
“If you’re doing a lot of busy work, you’re using your time and energy ineffectively,” McCaffrey adds. “It’s not so much about the hours in the day but the value you’re creating with those hours.”
For example, if you have a slow week with a relatively clear calendar, use that extra energy to scheme up new ideas or network with like-minded professionals in the Fiverr forum.
What other tips do you have for maintaining a healthy work-life balance? Tell us in the comments below!