Now that you are a freelancer, you probably realize that you need to carefully juggle work, life, and family time. Failure to do so results in a lot of dropped balls. Forming a work schedule that fits your lifestyle isn't easy, to say the least. Here are a few ideas to help you successfully work from home and take care of your family.
1. Discipline Yourself
When you freelance, you don't have a boss or supervisor. Instead, you have to come up with motivation all by yourself. Some freelancers set an alarm clock and train themselves to get up and get going before the rest of the family gets up. A morning routine is a great way for boosting your productivity.
Other freelancers will have to purposely avoid looking at the dirty dishes in the sink, so they don't feel tempted by doing household chores instead of freelance work.
The beauty of freelance work is a flexible schedule. However, if you don't keep yourself disciplined, you'll find that your personal life can very easily take over your working hours, especially when you are working with other members of the family in the house. Control your workflow, keep an eye on your upcoming deadlines, and dedicate yourself towards a certain amount of work each day.
2. Set Limits
Avoid feeling like you're always at work by setting limits (or boundaries) on how often you’re at your computer, how much time you’re communicating with a client, and how many projects you’re taking on. Giving yourself limits (and sticking to them) ensures you’re not overloading yourself, and you’re still making time for being with your family when they need you. These limits can be specific time limits, or they can be more general, like "I'm not going and checking my email when I'm eating a meal with my family."
3. Stay Healthy
You owe it to yourself, family, and clients to remain healthy and mentally sharp. No one benefits when you’re working yourself ragged and succumb to an illness. This means you prioritizing healthy meals, drinking plenty of fluids, getting exercise, and getting enough sleep.
Be a good influence on the rest of your family by sharing a healthy routine with them. Together, you can take walks outside and enjoy healthy snacks. Don't forget that you need some time alone, too. Just because the house is quiet doesn't mean you must be working. Take advantage of a few peaceful moments by reading quietly, meditating, or just gazing out the window. Your eyes and your brain will benefit from the downtime.
Don't forget to schedule vacation time! When you're supposed to be taking a break from your work, keep yourself off the grid so you don't fall into the temptation of working instead of resting and enjoying your family.
4. Rely on Available Help
When you work remotely from home, you quickly realize that you never have the time and energy to do everything. There is always something nearby that needs to be done. Instead of getting constantly sidetracked by the unmade beds and the messy kitchen floor, try to rely on the other people in your family. You don't need to do every single task that you notice. Let your partner or your kids share your workload. This may require some extra communication between you and your family. When they realize how important your freelancing work is, they'll probably be willing to pitch in to keep you from being distracted.
5. Remember that You’re Not Perfect
Perfectionists only drive themselves crazy in the freelancing world. In order to maintain a good work-life balance, you have to let some things go. So what if the last meal your family ate did not include every food group? Don't feel guilty about forgetting to fold the laundry. It's all going to be okay. Stick to your work schedule as much as possible, schedule in some flexible time for emergencies, and remember to smile. You'll get more accomplished if you face each day with a positive attitude.
6. Set Some Physical Boundaries at Home
As a freelancer working out of your home, you're going to experience some moments when your work and personal life overlap and get in each other's way. Some of this is unavoidable. You might really need to rock the baby with one foot while you're typing up an important email.
Thankfully, there are ways to set boundaries to keep the overlap from happening too often. For instance, you should designate a certain space in your home as your workspace. It doesn't have to be an entire room (although it could be), but it should be a space that you can keep your computer and important papers and work essentials. Let the rest of your family know that this is your office space. Make sure you spend your family time away from your office space. This will help everyone learn to leave you alone when you are working.
7. Automate as Much as Possible
Because you’re the owner of your freelancing business, you may find yourself with many organizational tasks that take away from your actual work. This is where it pays to do some research and figure out what needs to be done by you, and what can be done automatically. Are you taking too much time preparing invoices and finding jobs? How about marketing?
In this age of social media, there are a million places you can go online to get distracted from freelancing work and family life. Social media is essential to making the most of your freelancing business, but it is also a trap that keeps you away from your loved ones.
Don't let that happen to you! Indy is here to help you freelance like a pro. We are an all-in-one productivity suite designed to make your job more streamlined. You'll have more time to spend with family! Check out this article for more time management help.