One of the top reasons to choose a freelance career is the flexibility. For those who freelance on multiple projects, especially remotely, this autonomy allows for better control over work-life balance.
But it isn’t always that easy. Especially for remote freelancers, it’s hard to not bring the “stress of work” home with you when you’re already home. Here are some simple ways to ensure that you’re still achieving the work-life balance you desire, even if you’re working remotely.
1. Leverage Your Productivity
When are you most productive? Where are you most productive? What are your biggest distractions? There isn’t a one-step solution, since each of us have our own time and place to produce our best work.
Once you determine how you are most productive, find ways to leverage that. Whether it’s wearing noise-cancelling headphones, working from a co-working space or coffee shop, or front-loading your work in the first half of the day, commit to your style and own it.
Ask yourself the above questions again, but this time in regard to your non-work life. What is the best time, place, and activity to spend time with your loved ones, and yourself? Don’t forget that “life” is the other half of the balance.
ProTip: Reduce clutter in your workspace. It’ll help remove distractions and sharpen your focus.
2. Stick to Your Commitments
A habit doesn’t form overnight, it takes nearly a month. Once you set your schedule, stick to it and be consistent. In the beginning, overestimate how long everything will take. Then, adapt as you go.
This isn’t just about sticking to your work schedule, deliverables, and deadlines — this also includes your social and personal commitments. Carve out time specifically for friends, family, and self-care.
ProTip: Ask a friend to hold you accountable to your plans, whether it’s a daily workout, weekly happy hour, or mid-day project check-ins.
3. Project Manage
Whether you work best with an analog system (like notepads or a bullet journal) or digital to-do lists (where the options are endless), find a way to keep track of everything. Yes, everything! Separate your social calendar with your work calendar if you need to, or keep it all in place.
It will take time to figure out what works best for you; it’s a trial-and-error practice. If you notice that you’re missing deadlines, flaking on plans, or getting burnt out, use a different approach to your project management. Especially if you’re working with a new client or project, it will take time to figure out the best way to organize your tasks.
ProTip: Write your to-do list items with an active verb and specific, measurable deliverable. “Outline chapter two” is a lot more actionable than “start writing project.”
4. Be Transparent
Unexpected events arise, and you can’t always plan for it. Have a high standard for communication between you and your clients, friends, and family, and use whatever method of communication is most convenient for each relationship. Be open and transparent about what roadbumps have emerged, and don’t be afraid to say “no” to plans or projects.
ProTip: Be honest and realistic with yourself, too! After each project, reflect on your relationships and communications.
5. Forgive Yourself
Cancelling plans with friends or extending a deadline can mentally and emotionally wear anyone down. Understand that you’re not always going to get everything done perfectly, and that’s ok. Be easy on yourself and be willing to adapt your estimates and expectations as things change.
ProTip: Do a personal daily check-in and adapt where necessary.
With services like Ease, you can more easily take control of and manage your freelance career to achieve that work-life balance. As you continue to excel in your freelance career, remember to pause and take time to reflect. Think about where you want to be in the coming months and years, and whether your current behaviors are pointing to that goal.