Boundaries and Balance as a Freelancer
In the spirit of change and improvement I made two big decisions about my working life this year (and it’s only May!) - I quit something I loved and I stopped working from home. These actions are about boundaries and balance, and they’re very much connected.
The Covid pandemic has drastically increased the number of people who work from home. As things get back to ‘normal’, more people are moving back into the workplace, but some flexibility has remained – about 38% of the workforce are still working from home. Some people find that they don’t want to return to the office full time whilst others, (about 1 in 4), are keen to return.
In my own situation, I was working from home pre-covid as a freelancer anyway so there was no real change for me during lockdowns. I ran my freelance business from my desk in the corner of my bedroom and I found myself thoroughly fed up with being in that space.
This year I found myself a co-working space and moved my freelancing business out of my bedroom and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Benefits of a Hot-Desk
I now work three days per week from a hot-desk in a co-working space located not far from where I live (Kuta Hub at Redhead). It’s affordable, a great space, not crowded and has all the facilities I need. At the end of my first day, I packed up my laptop and felt an amazing sense of freedom. I felt like I had gained at least two to three hours of spare time.
Working from home I would often keep working, my workday getting longer and longer, interrupted by kids, washing, shopping and other household tasks. Sometimes I would be working at my desk by 6am and not logging off until way past 7pm. Now – I walk out of the office at 4.30pm and my day is done.
It feels fabulous.
Aside from my state of mind, other benefits include:
I have access to a much better printer and photocopier than I have at home.
Internet and phone work better (I was always having trouble at home, especially when it rained).
There’s a real coffee maker in the kitchen.
There’s a meeting room.
I can chat to people in the kitchen when I’m getting my coffee.
Knowing that I’m coming into work three days per week has had the added impact of making me schedule my work more effectively too. I keep two days per week to deal with life admin, personal projects, networking and meetings. I’m doing more in less time which is exciting because it opens up space to explore new opportunities and work on passion projects. (I’ve always got at least one passion project on the go!)
I’ve never been good with boundaries. I have a tendency to give too much and then to resent how much I’ve given. This happened with a volunteer position that I held for three years as a board member with very active roles in marketing, sponsorship, PR and arts curation. As much as I loved this work it was taking over my life. My small business was blossoming but needed my attention and focus in order to take advantage of my increasing clientele.
So, I let it go and it was painful, but the benefit is better work life balance and more time to dedicate to paying clients. And the chances are that I will still work with the organisation albeit in a much smaller capacity.
Boundaries are important for maintaining work life balance and for preventing overwhelm and stress. Other ways to create healthy boundaries include:
Schedule time for personal pursuits – exercise, meditation, walking the dog.
Set work hours and stick to them as much as possible – in most instances the work will wait. I schedule my work ahead and let my clients know when the work is likely due.
Take time off – if you can’t afford a holiday, have a staycation.
Do something creative – I joined a choir this year!
Turn off your phone or restrict your usage – this is a big one – I’ve downloaded an app to help monitor my social media habit.
Outsource or delegate tasks to free up time or to work smarter – for example, I outsource any SEO requirements that my clients may have because I’m not an expert and I can concentrate on what I do best, which is the story telling, marketing or PR.
If you’re looking to create a better work life balance, perhaps it’s time to outsource your copywriting or get some extra help with your marketing. Contact me for a free 30-minute consultation and we’ll free up some of your time.