So you’re a freelancer, which could mean more free time for yourself. After all, working from home means no time lost commuting, right? You have control in where and when you can work, but a freelancer’s freedom also has a dark side.
This freedom includes the ability to work well over 8 hours a day and choose multiple clients with big requests. When this happens, your work-life balance may be affected. Perhaps a client has a big event coming up they need plenty of designs for and it’s taking 10 hours a day. Or more. You find yourself losing sleep. You’re sacrificing a healthy diet for fast, convenient meals, having lost the time to cook.
What should you do when you’re horribly swamped but want to stay physically and mentally healthy and alert? It’s not easy, but there are plenty of resources to help you out.
1. Streamline your work process
First, see if you can cut down the workload at least a little. There are plenty of apps out there designed to streamline and enhance your productivity, cutting down time spent working. One such app is Feedly, a site that aggregates all new blog posts on the sites you visit. This might cut down some time switching from site to site, loading new pages, and trying to remember what site you wanted to visit.
If communication is dragging out your time, you might want to check out Slack for a common chat. You can be more informal on a group chat, no need to send a greeting and “sincerely” with every message. Important communications aren’t as likely to be buried like in email, and all text is searchable. Add emojis and don’t worry about typos. Asana and Trello are apps that help digitally manage projects so you can access all the details you need for your assignments in one place. CloudApp can help you share information with others in a more visual way, for example drawing on screenshots and recording video from your screen. This can help you and your clients understand each other more easily.
2. Keep your personal life organized
You probably already know about these apps though, since your clients probably use them or something similar. If you want to take the organization up a notch, check out to-do apps like Things or Todoist. Those are more for your personal lives and only for you to see. Jot down all the tasks you need to do, from small things like vacuuming your living room to big things like giving a speech at a conference, and the apps will make sure you’ll get them done. Or at least remember to.
3. Eliminate distractions
If non-work related things such as checking Instagram is getting in your way, there are fortunately apps for that too! Freedom can block out social media, shopping, games -- whatever you often feel tempted to waste several minutes on. Clean up your workspace to help you feel more productive. Studies have shown that a messier workplace can reduce productivity, so bring out the cleaning supplies and organizing bins! You don’t want to spend time searching for papers or other items. A messy workspace can also lead to mistakes, costing extra time to fix.
Is your music distracting you, but you don’t like silence? Listen to video game music. Video game music is typically pretty mellow and free of singing. It was created to help players concentrate on the game. It also helps you concentrate on your work and has been shown to increase productivity.
Hang up sticky notes for important things as a shortcut so you don’t have to flip through planners or apps. You want to be able to access critical information as quickly as possible.
If your schedule is extremely hectic, these aforementioned apps can definitely cut down on some time. However, you shouldn’t only be depending on that to make you feel better and more balanced overall. External changes don’t always lead to internal changes, which is why you should pay attention to how you physically and mentally feel within. Make sure to get a sufficient amount of sleep and take regular breaks. Check out apps like Headspace to help you meditate. If your sense of smell has a significant effect on your everyday life, try aromatherapy to destress.
5. Eat well for less (both time and money!)
Sadly, it’s possible to do all the above and still not have enough time to do what you want. High-quality diet and exercise should be essentials, but are sometimes luxuries to busy workers. However, they don’t always have to be!
You can make changes in your personal life to sustain better health, leading to increased productivity. Improve your diet by incorporating healthy, clean, stress-reducing foods such as certain teas and dark chocolate. Eating clean also helps with mental clarity, but is associated with time-consuming preparation. If you don’t have enough time to prepare delicious, healthy, nutritious meals, you might want to have others do it for you. No, you won’t be hiring servants, you’ll just be using meal prep services which will deliver the meals right to you. If you’re willing to invest the money, you could be saving around ten hours a week.
If you insist on cooking your meals yourself, you could still save time. Learn some recipes that are nutritious but require little time. Make them for yourself and your family. Spend one hour on Sunday and pre-cook your lunch or dinner for the rest of the week. This is a common activity for fitness enthusiasts.
6. Get some exercise in less time
Now that we’ve mentioned fitness, we’ll mention that exercise has also been proven to be strongly associated with destressing. But if you’re reading this, you probably don’t have time to exercise! Commuting to a gym takes time, doesn’t it? That’s why we’re suggesting to try bodyweight exercises at home. No gym or fancy equipment needed. Just your body and the willingness to sweat it out in your own home. If you don’t even have time for that, try to stay fit anyway with desk exercises. That’s right, get moving right at your desk. These exercises won’t replace going to the gym, but they’re better than nothing. If desk exercise becomes a huge thing for you, you can even buy some equipment to enhance your workouts.
Work-life balance is a critical part to living a healthy, happy life. It may be difficult to achieve, but there are plenty of resources out there for you to start heading down that path. If it means having more time to spend with your friends and family and feeling and looking better, it’s worth it to check out some suggestions to improve your overall quality of life.
No matter how much you want to achieve in your career, it’s not worth it to sacrifice your wellbeing. Fortunately, bringing your work to a co-working space can help! Here at Mesh Cowork, you’ll be surrounded by a community of productive and creative individuals bringing together their unique skills and knowledge. That means there could be someone there to help you with work you’re stuck on or make you laugh to take some stress away. There could even be someone giving you time-saving tips tailored to your individual lifestyle!
Free coffee, tea, and water will save you some time running to a coffee shop and back (we have one right downstairs if you really want to go to one anyway).
Sound like something that’ll restore some balance in your busy life? Contact us for a tour!