Working for yourself is the dream, isn't it?! You manage your own calendar, your projects, and your professional relationships. You are in control and you are building your legacy. Those who have ventured down this path can certainly attest to all of these things...but can we also be real for a second? Working for yourself is equally as challenging as it is rewarding. In essence, you are running a company (for many, every department in that company, too) - and companies never stop running.
So, is it impossible to have a life outside of your professional existence? Of course not. It starts with accepting responsibility for creating AND maintaining a balance, the latter of which is often the greatest struggle. We've broken down some tried and true behaviors, and lifestyle commitments, that have worked for our team of rockstar freelancers in creating a life of both personal substance and professional success.
Setting your own schedule is easy. Sticking to it is a different story: Your calendar can't be a suggestion of what you need to do. Setting exact hours of operation for yourself every day - and maintaining consistency with your schedule - gives you the ability to accurately and strategically map out your day and task list. To put it simply, define your business hours based on your current workload and block these hours on a calendar. That way, you know exactly when you are ON and running the show.
Create a beneficial and productive workspace: For many of us, the space within which we work defines how we approach the actual work we are doing. Some of us find we are at our most productive when plopping down at a quaint coffee shop, while others need a more physical office space to produce their best. Take time to understand how you operate - and test working from a variety of spaces (a home office, a shared office space, a coffee shop, etc.). Once you have a better understanding of how you operate and under which conditions your work thrives, you'll be able to leverage your working environment to maximize your productive output.
Know when to turn it off: This is perhaps the most challenging element of working for yourself. As we mentioned previously, a company never stops running and you'll begin to discover that there is work to be done always. Does this mean you should be working always? Absolutely not. Knowing the moment to shut down and reset - whether that be weekends, evenings, or a period of time you know you are not bringing your best - will not only help you avoid burn-out, but will also allow you to make the most of the time you are actually putting in work.
What does turning it off mean? In our experience, physically TURNING IT OFF. Shut down your computer, turn off email notifications on your phone, and leave your work behind. Detaching can be hard, but it is often the best thing to do as a freelancing professional.
We'd love to hear from you - about experiences you have in working for yourself, the challenges you often face, and how you work to overcome them. Feel free to leave a comment below - or shoot us a note using the Get Gauged! tab at the top of the page.