Creating a work-life balance is no easy task for anyone, but if you are a freelance writer, the odds get compounded manifold. For one, you don’t have a fixed hours schedule, neither a work space, and then you are your own boss – no one to set timelines, ask for status/progress updates, or even guide you on a day-to-day level. Sure, you love writing and don’t mind spending a few extra hours in the day for it, but hours can quickly fade into days and weeks, until you realize that the boundaries between work and life have faded.
So how do you create the coveted work-life balance, being the master of your own words? Here are four proven tips to get work-life balance right for writers:
#1 Set aside a dedicated workspace: It could be a corner in the house, a full-fledged work room or even a space in your balcony where you love to get inspiration for your writings. The idea is to have physical delineations between ‘work space’ and ‘play space’, which will automatically translate into separating ‘work time’ and ‘play time’. That’s’ how the human brain responds – it will get into work mode when you are in your designated work space and into play mode when you hop out of it.
#2 Define work hours and communicate to everyone: Sure, you don’t like a 9 to 5 schedule but that doesn’t mean you can’t set boundaries for work hours. Whether you have a four-hour work day or a fifteen-hour one, be clear to family and friends that this is your no-disturbance time. No chats, emails, doorbells, or requests will be entertained during those hours. If you fail to guard your working hours, friends and family can easily take you for granted and this is something you’ll regret later.
#3 Delegate your non-core tasks: Being at home does not mean you will have the time to do cooking, cleaning, laundry, baby sitting, running errands and do your writing. To be able to focus on your writing passion, delegating other less important stuff like grocery shopping, gardening, dropping/picking up kids, etc. is imperative. While it’s best to hire a virtual personal assistant to get all such things sorted, if you can’t find one, don’t hesitate to ask for help from family, friends or spouse whenever required.
#4 Be mentally and financially prepared for change: Just as there is no fixed schedule for freelance writers, fixed income is also not part of the game. To avoid panicking over financial instability, start investing some money in a flexible financial plan every month – when you have better income, invest more. In months when you don’t have much, invest the minimum required amount, but do so without fail. This discipline is necessary to keep you afloat as a writer and knowing that you have emergency savings stashed away is a big plus for attaining mental peace.
Cultivating healthy habits such as exercising regularly and eating right, getting some sunshine, pursuing hobbies, and practising mindfulness are some other great ways for writers to lead a balanced life. We would love to know how you create your work-life balance, do leave us a comment!