Who doesn’t want a better work life balance? Self-employed people though, can find it even more difficult to know when to stop and sometimes when to start! Here are our top tips for getting the balance right:
- Lack of planning leads to poor use of time and stress. Planning your time is essential for a smooth work life balance for anyone, but even more so for the self-employed who often only have themselves to account to. Don’t put things off. Write your top three priorities down every morning and do them before anything else.
- Keep your working hours flexible if you can. Self-employment is after all about you being the boss, so no more 9-5 unless it’s necessary. Lots of the growing number of self-employed parents do a short day shift when the kids are at school and another shift after bed-time.
- Use planning to slow down. Plan gaps in your day and ensure you organise non-work gaps in your weekends and evenings as well.
- Make the space. Keep you work space separate with either a dedicated area at home or flexible office storage space.
- Set your priorities and be prepared to let things go. You don’t have to do everything. Prioritise the things that are important and be prepared to drop anything that’s not.
- Share the load. It’s not true that you are the only one who can do things. Get others to help and don’t fuss if they don’t do it quite the way you would.
- Value your time. Look at all tasks you do such in your business and home, for example gardening, cleaning, book-keeping and developing your website. If you can afford it, free yourself up by paying someone else to do the support tasks. Maybe you could barter with other self-employed associates?
- Look after yourself because when you are self-employed you will need lots of energy. Taking care of your wellbeing is essential. Take regular exercise, drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet. The trick is to plan ahead. Schedule time in your diary for the gym, a swim or a walk.
- Over 60% of new small firms are family businesses. If you decide to run a business with your partner, work life balance becomes even more of an issue. Plan to share domestic, social and wider family responsibilities according to your interests and talents. Make sure you allow yourself time away from your ‘work colleagues’! Plan a regular day or evening out with friends.
If you get it right, self-employment can and will deliver a great work life balance. Statistics tell us that the self-employed work themselves harder, but are happier with their lot. Having control over your time and workload is definitely one of the reasons why.