Many freelance writers start their job for one reason. They want to spend more time with their family.
Well, there are likely other reasons, but the spending more time with family is a big reason for starting. After all, you get to set your own hours and work from home, right? You should be able to take time off when you want and spend more time with your family during the day.
It sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
Well, it could be. But it takes some time to get there. When you first start freelancing, it can end up taking up a lot of your time. You’ll find you’re working longer hours than you did in a regular 9-5 job, and you may find it hard to get one day off a week.
It makes it seem impossible to find a work/life balance.
It doesn’t have to be that way. You can get this balance from the beginning with a few simple tricks. Here are my tips for getting that work/life balance.
Create a Schedule for Work
Make your work schedule. Set your specific times for working, like you would if you had a nine to five job. When I used to work in Coventry, I would commute for an hour and half to get there from home. So, when I started working from home, I would start working when I would have left for my commute. It meant I got an hour and half extra time in the morning to get on with work.
My boyfriend (as he was at the time) left for work around that time anyway, so it wasn’t like I was missing out on time with him.
I’d then work until all my work was done or until it got to the time my boyfriend walked in through the door at around 6pm. I’d take breaks, but from 7:30am until 6pm those were my working hours. And that was five days a week. Then on the sixth day, I’d do the extra work if I needed to or a couple of marketing hours.
This schedule helped to create my work/life balance. It would also make it easier for friend who weren’t in work. I’d make it clear that I was working and couldn’t do anything except for maybe on my lunch break—and I only set myself an hour at the most for that.
Having a schedule will help you set your working hours. You know anything around that is your spare time. Now you just have to stick to it, because it is really easy to think you can run over a little into your spare time to get some extra work done.
Have a Set Day Off
I recommend two days, but having at least one day off is essential. You need it to give your brain and body the rests they need. And you get to spend time with your friends and family members.
If you don’t have a day off, you will just burn yourself out. Trust me, I’ve been there! My mother-in-law had to force me to take Easter Sunday off one year. They were going to the beach for the day, and she made my boyfriend hide the laptop so I had to go with them because she knew I’d burn myself out completely if I didn’t. I’ve got to admit that the day off was refreshing and was necessary. I think I’d done a month without a day off around then.
Put It All Away
I can’t shut the door on my work because the desk is in the living room. If you can shut the door on your work, do it. It’s like leaving the office for the day!
If you can’t, then try putting everything away. Turn the computer off completely and put all your notebooks in drawers out of the way. If you can’t see it, you’re less likely to want to get on with stuff.
Try to keep your desk clear anyway. It will help you with productivity, as well as making it easier to create a work/life balance. You won’t have to spend so long going through your paperwork!
Hopefully my three tips will help you create a work/life balance. It is possible, honestly it is. You’ll soon get the freelancing career you want.
6 thoughts on “How to Create That Work/Life Balance as a Freelance Writer”
Great tips. It can not be stressed enough how important it is to take some time off. Like you say, it’s easy to get burned out, and then we are no good to anyone
It is all too easy, Ed. We don’t make it easy on ourselves at times, either, do we?
I did decided to start working from home and freelancing so I could be around for the kids. But you’re right, it’s a lot more work than a regular 9-5. Thanks for the tips.
Alex, I’m a workaholic so this is tough! Ok, a recovering workaholic this year, or that’s the plan.
Not setting a work schedule – guilty. Not having a day off – guilty. Not shutting the door – guilty! 3 out of 3 🙂
I’m still in planning mode after taking holiday time off so this is a great reminder to me to build in that free time for my life – thanks!
I know how you feel, Mel. I’m a bit of a workaholic too. I’m easing off though but I have taken on two jobs. I get a day to myself if I’m lucky! But we all need free time in our lives. Good luck with getting some and I hope you enjoyed your holiday!