Now that a lot of people are working from home, I’m getting more questions like, “How do you do it?” Unfortunately, many people are learning how to balance work and life the hard way. They’re figuring out how to set up a home office, and many are working long hours as they transition.
Because of this, a lot of friends are looking at me for a little guidance. “You’ve been doing this for years,” they say, “How do you survive it?” It’s not always easy, and it’s not always smooth, but I have a few rules I keep for myself. That way, I know I’m striking the right balance.
Key Phrase Here: Balance
When you’re working from home or as a freelancer, the most important thing to remember is that it’s always a balancing act. Sometimes, that balance might get a little off, but that’s okay—as long as you have a plan you can stay on track with.
For example, I was up late last night working out some ideas for videos I may use on a lawyer’s website, like Christensen Law. But, I was working late because I spent my morning on a coffee date with my parents, since I don’t see them very often. Maintaining the balance could mean some long nights here and there, but it can also help you keep most of your days on the right track.
Act Like You’re Working
When you’re working from home, you may be thinking first about never changing out of your sweatpants again. My first month of working from home, I did the same thing—my wardrobe turned into nothing but sweatpants (and leggings if I was feeling a little fancy).
The lack of a long commute may be good for your mental health, but you still need a separation between work and home. You’re not going to feel like you’re on the job if you’re too comfy. Sure, sometimes I live life on the edge and work from the couch, but part of finding your balance is feeling like you’re at work. So, get your pants on and keep them on until work hours are over!
Separate Work and Play
The trick to a balanced life as a freelancer is maintaining boundaries between your work life and the rest of your life. Once those two mix together, it can be difficult to put attention on your work or play separately. Now, your lunch dates are getting canceled because you’ve got work-related calls to handle.
That’s why I have a separate space just for working, as well as setting specific work hours. After breakfast, I go into my office, close the door, and get to work. Once the work day is over, I close the door behind me, and that’s it for the day. No more feeling like I’m not working, just because I’m home.
Be Mindful of the Overlap
Now, of course, there are going to be exceptions to that rule. Maybe you set up a lunch date with your best friend, who’s never in town. Maybe you had a dentist appointment and you need to take a half-day off. Sometimes, the best part of being a freelancer is the flexibility you get from working from home.
Take the time you need during the day if you need it—we all have other things to do outside our work. Just be sure you’re being mindful of the time you’re spending on work and the time you’re spending on play, and you’ll have a better chance of keeping these parts of your life separate and balanced.