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Finding that perfect balance between your work and home life can be difficult in any work situation. But when your office is your home, it can be nearly impossible! Here are a few tips that have helped me.
Whether you have an entire room that serves as your office or just a desk in your living room, make your workspace just that – a workspace. Keep your area clean and free from any distractions. Keep your bills and personal paperwork filed and out of sight. Believe it or not, those “personal” items can be extremely distracting while you are working. Also, keep your work area fully stocked with all your essentials such as pens, paper, and paper clips. I use a wireless keyboard and mouse, and I always keep an extra set of batteries in my desk.
Setting work hours can really help in creating the work/home balance. Not only does having defined business hours help create boundaries for your clients, it also helps you keep work time and family time separate. Personally, I have my phone set to only update my inbox during certain hours. I also let all my clients know that I usually don’t answer calls outside of my pre-defined business hours. This may sound harsh, but the majority of clients will understand that being a virtual freelancer is the same as running any business.
This may sound pretty obvious, but you might be surprised at how much work time you really are wasting. For example, I like to sip a nice hot cup of coffee while I’m working. I make it a point to have my coffee hot and ready before I ever sit down at my desk. Sure, that’s just a simple step. But it saves me a trip from my office to the kitchen in the middle of a brainstorm, which keeps me more focused and makes the most of my time. Eliminating as many distractions as possible helps you offer even more value.
Don’t be scared of defining your time. This is probably the most important step in creating an efficient and successful work/home balance. I have a wonderful husband and five amazing children. Needless to say, my time with them is important to me. As much as I want to enjoy my time with them, my clients expect the time I have dedicated to them to be just that – dedicated to them. If I worked a normal 9 to 5 in an office, I wouldn’t be able to drop everything and run home to fix my children a snack. I do my absolute best to keep work time and family time as separate entities. This means my children and husband have to understand that the distractions need to be kept to a minimum during work hours. There will, of course, be times that your children or spouse need you. The main idea is to create general guidelines, so everyone understands that when your office door is closed it’s work time.
Seriously! When you are with your family or friends, enjoy yourself and make the most of your time. After all, you work hard. Being able to cut loose and separate yourself from work is important. Yes, you could spend all night thinking about work and finding the most efficient way to execute your next campaign, but at what cost? It’s essential to make time for yourself and your loved ones. You need to enjoy the people in your life, and they need to enjoy you.
Whether you’re a full-time virtual freelancer or you’re just getting started, I hope these tips help. Feel free to share your tips by commenting below.