Improving your work-life balance when you’re self-employed

If like me, you’re self-employed you’ll be fully aware that your business is part of your lifestyle. There’s no escaping that and I can’t imagine many of you would want to escape it, I know I don’t. I’m lucky enough to be able to combine the two and I love it. However, it’s still import to draw a line between work and life at certain points throughout the day. Getting rest is essential to creating quality work you’re proud of.

Today I want to share a few simple ways in which I try to create a little balance between my work and life, even if they do overlap sometimes. I don’t always stick to them but I do try and often they leave me with time to rest, create new ideas and avoid getting overwhelmed with work. I then find myself back at my desk full of ideas and motivation to create amazing things.

The friendly team over at Calibre Office Furniture raised this topic with me when they launched their fun little quiz, Will Office Life be the Death of you? Let me know what age you get, I ended up with 100, I’m pretty happy with that. It’s just a bit of fun but it got me thinking about the importance of a work-life balance when you’re your own boss. I know that many of you are also small business owners (don’t forget that your blog is a biz too), or hope to be so I thought it would be interesting to discuss the topic a little further.

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Remember, these are just a few ideas, you don’t have to follow them and you may have some better ways in which you bring balance into your self-employed life. Feel free to leave your work-life tips in the comment section below, I’m always looking to learn more.

Plan your time – I think this is important for everyone. Having specific days and times that you complete work and leisure tasks is important. For example, I have set days and times in which I go to the gym. I spend 30 minutes each morning and afternoon to answer emails, in-between this try not to open my inbox.

Planning out your time will give you the opportunity to schedule in coffee with a friend at lunch and it’s a also a good way to prevent procrastination. Remember, your time is valuable.

Join a co-working space – Working at home is fab, especially during the winter months but it can be easy to spend too much time on your own. Working from home can also prevent having a clear, defined work space and home space. The two overlap, even if you have an office in your home it can be all too tempting to work form the sofa.

I’ve recently joined a co-working space in Sheffield and it’s brilliant. It gets me out of the house, mixing with new people and simply working from a new location.

Take a lunch break away from your laptop  This can be hard, especially when you want to enjoy your lunch while watching YouTube videos and catching up on blogs. However, over the last year I’ve aimed to take at least 30 minutes away from my laptop during lunch breaks. If I’m at home I’ll listen to a podcast or if I’m in the town I’ll pop out to a coffee shop, usually with a podcast playing in my ears. I then use the rest of my time to catch up on blog posts from my favourite blogging pals.

Aim to take a little time away from your laptop, if it extends to a full hour then that’s a bonus. You have to start with small steps.

Have a laptop cut-off point Aim to shut your laptop down at the same time each evening. After this point you shouldn’t be doing any work. It’s not healthy to be typing away on your laptop late into the night. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t always manage to do this, do you? I have improved over the last year though. My latest cut-off point is currently 9pm but I aim for around 8pm when possible. It’s understandable that we all get into the swing of writing or creating something exciting and don’t want to stop. That’s fine, as along as it’s not every evening.

You’ll find that once you get into the routine of shutting down earlier and putting a show on Netflix it becomes a habit, especially if it’s something addictive like Sons of Anarchy .

Stick to a routine – This follows on from my last point, routines are fantastic. They sound boring but they can bring a lot into your life. It could be as simple as going for a run every morning, having a fortnightly meal plan to rotate between or closing your laptop at 7pm. Taking small steps to implement new routines will help you to define work and play time.

Don’t do work in your bedroom – Make sure your bedroom is a place of calm and rest. Keep it clean and tidy and try hard to leave your laptop in another room.

This is something I find hard but I realise the importance of. I love to have hot drink around 7am answer my emails in bed. However, 8am is my cut-off point. If I happen to still be sitting in bed by then it’s time to move on. Working from your bed is bad for your back and your mind. It’s essential to have a room which is just for home life, not for work.

Although your business is part of your lifestyle, how do you ensure you take a little time off?

Thank you to Calibre Furniture for sponsoring this post. 

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