Learning when to say no as a freelancer
Ahh the dreaded balance beam of work and life, you’re probably tipping over the edge with work and not having enough time for your everyday life, right?
Achieving a work-life balance can often feel like an impossible goal however, you’re not alone. Most freelancers struggle to separate between the two, causing them to carry on working whilst at home which ends up leading to them feeling like they have a constant working life and no time for themselves.
Whilst having a successful career is an important part of people’s lives it can sometimes be hard to set aside your work life for your personal life; its a must to distinguish between the two, not only will you feel happier but your own well-being will improve and you will be able to experience both aspects of life freely.
Everyone’s work-life balance will be different depending on your age, career goals and commitments that you have. However, it’s essential for a healthy mind-set to keep the scales as even as possible.
Why is a work-life balance important?
Not only is a work-life balance crucial in creating a healthy mindset but, if not balanced it can affect a person emotionally, physically and financially.
Only focusing on one won’t benefit you in the long run even if you’re not fully aware of this, not having a work-life balance can cause a break down in relationships or can even disrupt your performance at work.
Having a work-life balance will:
Avoid causing burnout
Working too hard and being overloading with work can cause extreme exhaustion and somewhat make you feel depressed in your job which can affect your mental health. Believe me, you don’t want to have a burnout. (link to burnout blog)
Having a work-life balance will enable you to feel more relaxed, however, if you only focus on the working aspect of your life then this can cause increased stress due to not having time for your personal life. If left to linger this stress can lead to health problems in the future.
Enable you to fulfil your career and personal goals
Making an equal amount of time for your work life and personal life will enable you to focus on both of them equally. Some people believe the harder you work the more you will achieve but this isn’t the case, in fact, not giving yourself a break will lead to you being overworked and less likely to progress in your work.
Ways to achieve a work-life balance:
Step away from the email
First things first, freelancer’s worst habit is checking their work emails out of work hours. How are you meant to distinguish between your personal life and your work life if you are incorporating them both into one? This pointless stress of replying to work emails on a Saturday night is not necessary for helping you achieve a work-life balance now, is it?
Just say no – set boundaries
Being the person that always says ‘yes’ may make you look good but won’t make you feel good. With all due respect, these types of people tend to be the ones that are mostly taken advantage of and are the most likely to be exhausted and stressed.
If you agreeing to do something extra for a client last minute will mean you won’t get home till 9 pm, is it really worth it?
By setting boundaries and saying no will create a routine and make you feel less stressed and much happier.
Stick to your working hours
Being a freelancer allows you the freedom to set your own working hours, which is great when you want that lie in on a Tuesday morning, however, this can cause you to work into the early hours of the morning.
By saying that you are going to finish work at 5 pm for example, and sticking to it will allow you to take back your freedom.
Let your clients know your chosen working hours as well, this way you are less likely to be receiving any work-related emails after 5, which means you can have a stress free evening to relax.
Prioritise your tasks
When prioritising your tasks the first thing you need to identify is which tasks are important v urgent.
By being realistic about what topics you can complete by the end of the week and which need your immediate attention will help you to schedule your day more effectively.
Track your time
Knowing how long you take to complete tasks for clients will enable you to see if you are doing too much work for them. If your work is eating up into your personal time then it might be a good idea to invest in a time-tracking tool that can help track what you do in a days work. This will allow you to estimate how long your next work task will take and will help you to improve your time management, allowing you to go home earlier!
Set time aside to do what you love
Once your hard day of work is over and you have done what you needed to complete, make sure that you finish at a sensible time every day and set aside some time to do what you enjoy (that isn’t work-related) and give it the time it deserves.
Whether you go to the cinema, pamper yourself with a long bath and face mask or you decide to go out for food, whatever it might be, prioritise yourself and allow enough time in the week to do the things that you love. It will give you the chance to refresh your mind and feel happier, and that’s the aim, right?
By following our advice, this should help set you in the right direction to achieve a work-life balance, you’re not alone, seek out help from other freelancers if you are struggling.