As a self-employed professional, it can be “me” time, all the time. When it’s all about your business, it can be all about you…the professional you. It’s important to maintain a steady work-life balance in order to enjoy life’s pleasures away from work while operating at peek productivity levels when you’re “in the office.” This article takes a look at ways to squeeze in some crucial personal time and get some headspace. To quote productivity expert Laura Stack (via WebMD), "You have to make a little time for the things that ignite your joy."
Being independent allows you to be your own boss, not confined to a 9-5 regimen. But it’s still in your best interest to set, and follow, a more regular working schedule. These hours can be catered to your needs, of course – early riser? Night owl? Just make sure it’s consistent, whether that means calling it “a day” at 7PM or starting shop at 7AM.
Independent or not, to quote a 1980s classic, “everybody’s working for the weekend.” Weekends give people the opportunity to participate in and explore activities they wouldn’t be able to in a normal day. It’s important to make time for hobbies and activities that take you outside of the work mindset. Time with family, friends, and activity partners serves as a pleasurable “distraction” from your work tasks and to-do lists. The end product of your leisure activities should provide you the health and happiness needed to enhance your work performance. If you have freedom in your schedule, you may even want to consider taking a weekday as your “off” day – it’s much easier to accomplish time-sucking tasks like grocery store visits and dental appointments when you’re not fighting with the masses.
When the day’s “shift” ends, it’s important to spend time doing those things that refresh your energy and spirit. Family time, dinnertime, and yes, solo time, are crucial. Worried that your mind will be occupied with visions of the work you have tomorrow?
Clear it. Easier said than done, of course, but to quote Harvard Business Review, “Meditating daily will strengthen your willpower muscle. Your urges won’t disappear, but you will be better equipped to manage them. And you will have experience that proves to you that the urge is only a suggestion. You are in control.”
We’re strong advocates of meditation. For those worried about how much time you’d be “pulled away” from your work, or sleep, keep this in mind: the amount of energy one gets from meditation is much more than sleep. According to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, meditation can have the same restorative power of good sleep in significantly less time! Meditation is budget friendly in two ways: saving you money and time!
The beauty of modern technology keeps us in-tune with all of our responsibilities within mere moments, but the constant connection can lead to a dependency. Does your phone always need to be within clear sight? Step away from the devices for a moment…or a few moments. Still having separation anxiety? You can program your mobile devices to only sync with work-related applications during specific time frames. Just be sure to tell your clients – if they respect your work, they’ll respect your time.
Four tips for independent consultants to avoid career burnout.
Finding a balance between creating your own schedule and completing everything on your to-do list can be challenging as an independent professional. Follow these five tips for effective time management.