Have you ever spent a vacation day caring for a sick family member? Do you have an unfulfilled bucket list a mile long that never seems to get shorter?
If you answered “yes” to either question, chances are that you have a traditional job instead of a freelance writing job.
Even flexible traditional work positions don’t give you the same control over your schedule that a freelance writer has. In fact, the desire for a better work/life balance is one of the reasons that many people become freelancers.
But even freelance writers sometimes struggle with work/life balance. Without proper planning, you may find yourself with a more demanding schedule as freelance writer than you ever had as an employee.
In this post, I’ll list over ten freelancing practices that can help you to achieve a better work/life balance.
How to Manage Work/Life Balance
If you’re not careful as a freelancer, you may find yourself working through vacations, weekends, and even in times of family crisis. Here are more than ten precautions you can take.
- Get real. If you are in the middle of a family emergency or if you have obligations that take a lot of your time, your ability to work will be affected. Don’t expect to be able to do the same amount work you would do if everything was going smoothly.
- Charge enough for your projects. If you’re under charging for your work, you may have to work a lot of hours just to make ends meet. Charge a decent rate for your writing services and you’ll find it easy to maintain a healthy work/life balance.
- Learn to estimate project time accurately. Nearly every freelance writer has underestimated the amount of work a project requires at one time or another. Naturally, this results in overwork. Over time, it should get easier to estimate project effort.
- Save money. If you have a savings cushion to rely on when things are slow, you won’t be tempted to take on projects you shouldn’t take. Try to save enough money to see you through three months of living expenses.
- Be cautious about accepting rush work. Lots of freelance writers like rush work because it gives them the chance to charge extra for a project. Too much rush work can also wreak havoc with your work/life balance. Only accept rush work if you’re sure you have the time.
- Stay focused during work time. If you’re distracted, you’ll wind up working extra hours to make up for any careless mistakes you make or any time you waste. Make sure your work environment is as distraction-free as you can make it and stay away from non-work related websites.
- Make use of time savers. There are lots of apps and other tools that are designed to help you save time. Find out which ones work best for you and make use of them.
- Outsource when you have to. A benefit of networking with other freelance writers is that you have someone to turn to if your work schedule becomes too much for you. It’s a good idea to have several writers in mind who would be willing to take outsourced work from you.
- Have a backup plan. First of all, you should always back up the work on your computer in case of hardware failure. You should also think about other places where you could work if there were a power outages or other problems with your home office.
- Renegotiate if necessary. If something unexpected happens and you can’t handle it any other way, let the client know and try to get an extension. Unless you are always late with your projects, most clients will understand. Most of them have families too.
- Bonus: Stop comparing yourself to others. You can only do what you can do. There will always be some writer out there who claims they can write a blockbuster article in 15 minutes. Who knows whether they really can or not. It doesn’t matter. Do your best and don’t worry about the rest.
Do you struggle to maintain a healthy work/life balance? What are some of your tips to avoid overwork?