It can be difficult to create a work life balance when you’re self-employed. From replying to emails and queries at all hours, to working late into the evenings or at the weekend, when you’re solely relying on yourself for your income it can be difficult to switch off. It can also be tempting to work at all hours in order to maintain client relationships and make as much money as possible. However, this can have an impact on your mental health, leading to increased stress levels, anxiety or even burnout. So if you’re looking for ways to improve your work life balance and ensure you remain healthy and happy at work, then the following tips are sure to help you.
One of the best ways to ensure you’re maintaining a work life balance is to set yourself strict work hours. Whether you want to work a traditional 9-5, or you want to fit your workload around your schedule, it’s important to have a definitive start and end time to ensure you’re remaining productive at work and leaving enough time to relax, chill out and do the things you enjoy.
If you work with clients, it is also important to ensure they know what your work hours are so that they know when they’re able to contact you, helping you to avoid late night phone calls or weekend emails. You should state this in your contract with them so that it won’t reflect badly on you if you don’t reply to their email on a Saturday night! This way, you’re able to maintain a healthy work life balance whilst managing your clients’ expectations.
Another way to help you to maintain a healthy work life balance is to invest in a work phone and keep your personal number private from colleagues and clients. That way, you can switch your work phone off at the end of the day and avoid getting any late night phone calls or emails and keep your personal phone for leisurely scrolling.
Not only can a work phone help you to improve your work life balance, but can also help you to remain productive, preventing you from checking social media, taking personal calls or getting distracted by your WhatsApp notifications whilst you’re at work, ensuring that you complete all of your work during the hours you’ve set yourself.
When you’re self-employed, it’s important to plan your time effectively in order to make sure you meet all of your deadlines and avoid any all-nighters.
Start each day (or each week if you want to be super-organised) by writing down your priorities and what you want to achieve from the day. Whether you need to submit your tax return, or you’ve got an important meeting to plan for - writing a to-do list will help you to stay on track, plan your time and ensure you get your work done.
If you’ve taken on too much work and the only way to get it done is to work all hours of the day and let your work life balance go out of the window, then you should consider outsourcing or delegating some work to a freelancer or colleague.
Not only will this allow you to concentrate on the important tasks at hand and ensure you’re producing your very best work for your clients, but it’ll allow you to stick to your work schedule and ensure you maintain that all-important work life balance.
Finally, one of the most effective ways to maintain a work life balance is to avoid working from home where possible. When you’re working from home, not only are you less productive, but it also turns your home into both a ‘chill out’ space and an office, meaning you’ll find it difficult to switch off and stick to the work hours you’ve set yourself.
Instead, you should consider renting a desk in a coworking space to give yourself somewhere to base yourself from. Additionally, coworking spaces are great for networking and diminishing any feelings of loneliness that are common among small business owners as they’re full of like-minded people who are always up for a chat over a coffee!
So whether you just take a few small steps to improve your work life balance, or decide to rent a desk at a coworking space, it’s important to switch off from work and set some time aside for the things you enjoy to keep you happy, healthy and stress-free as possible.