You know you’re self-employed when you’re planning a vacation and all you care about is the wi-fi. When I was working in an office it was easy to unwind by going home, reading my favourite blogs and working on DIY’s. But now it’s like the to-do lists stretch on forever and expand to fill the day.
A lot of my day is spent as an artist, blogger, diy-er and photographer. I spend at least 10 hours a day working on different projects. But an unexpected side effect of not having office hours (or an office for that matter) is that your work-life balance can get out of whack. Finding a balance is so important to create your best work. I still struggle with clocking out but here are some things that have helped me.
5 WAYS TO UNPLUG IF YOU’RE SELF-EMPLOYED
1. Start a daily just-for-fun ritual.
When you have a 9 – 5 job, you may have a lunch hour or leave work at the same time each day. It would be crazy if your boss expected you to work through the day without a substantial break. So it shouldn’t be any different when you’re your own boss. A fun daily ritual can motivate you to hustle on deadlines and be a great reward system. You can make it as indulgent and unproductive as you want – at 4pm, I like to get a delicious cup of coffee and wander around my neighbourhood.
2. Have a designated work space that you can walk away from.
I’m so guilty of not following this but I’m making progress. The perks of being self-employed is that you can work anywhere- in bed, at the coffee shop, in front of the tv. But at the end of the day it’s easier to mentally separate work from relaxation time if they are in different physical spaces. It also helps you get back into the work mindset the next day if you have a dedicated space without distractions.
3. Have a tech free hour.
Have you ever forgotten your phone at home while out? If you have, you know that after the initial panic it starts to feel sooo liberating, you can swing your arms freely! Put all things technology far away including your laptop, tablet and phone. You can do this for as long or short as you want and if you’re worried about missing important calls, you can turn the ringer up while keeping it away.
4. Plan a vacation day (midweek if you’re brave)
Ok, stay with me if you’re in a panic at losing a full day of work. First, a whole day off gives you plenty of time to recharge and relax. But also everyone gets reeaaally productive right before going on vacation. Suddenly you’re plowing through your to-do list with new energy. You realize you’re running out of time! You can mimic that pre-vacation boost with a vacation day to get more efficient and then enjoy a whole day off.
5. Read a great book, make a fancy dinner or put on a record.
It’s so fun to get absorbed in something like a good book or preparing a delicious meal so use your other senses to turn off your work brain at the end of the day. I especially love reading biographies to stir up inspiration and learn lessons from other people that have accomplished great things.
Give yourself a break so you don’t burnout. You are your most valuable employee after all!