As freelancers and consultants, we do not have set hours as a full-time salaried professional usually does. Therefore, you run the risk of working long hours and not spending quality time with family and friends. It’s time to stop and think about the reasons you decided to go the freelance route. I bet that many of you will say that one of the reasons was to spend more time with your loved ones and/or for you to de-stress. If that’s true, then you have to stop and do the following:
Spend a couple of hours coming up with a schedule
Create a schedule that works for you. Not everyone is programmed to work 9 to 5, so you have to think about the hours that will allow you to create your best work and spend the quality time that you need for family, friends, and/or you. Mine will not look like yours, and yours will not look like someone else’s. You have to really think long and hard about a productive schedule.
Block off times that you will not work
On the weekends, I unplug and spend it (almost) electronic free with my children, family and friends. Unless, a client has an emergency that needs to be addressed that weekend (remember setting up your fees? You should have a fee for these types of emergencies), then I don’t work. I barely answer phone calls or emails because this is my quality time to forget work and enjoy life.
Make your clients understand that you are not a robot
It would be great if we could work 24 hours a day and still have time for ourselves, but we don’t. Make your clients understand that you can’t always be there. If they don’t, then you have to make them understand or reconsider the relationship (it’s not you; it’s me). You need time to de-stress and focus on the other parts of your life. We are not one-dimensional creatures. We have different roles (e.g. mother, sister, daughter, friend, etc.) that we play in this life, so you can’t ignore them or you will not be happy, which can cause you to no produce your best work.
Even if you work full-time and freelance part-time, you need a schedule that you follow and your clients understand. Your life needs to balanced; not just one-sided.