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  • Writer's pictureXero Queen

Work Life Balance - Are you getting it right?

I'm self-employed and I love it, however I have found it really difficult, at times, to switch off at the end of the working day.  After all everything in the business is my responsibility from completing client work, taking sales calls, responding to emails, creating marketing content not to mention the general admin.




There are, of course tried and tested ways to help achieve a work life balance when you're self employed and working from home, here are some tips that may help.


Set Yourself Strict Work Hours

One of the best ways I have found to maintain a work life balance is to set strict work hours. Whether that be 9-5 or you want to be flexible and work around a young family. It's important to have a definitive start and end time and to ensure this is communicated to your customers and clients to set expectations of when you will be available to speak with them. One of the easiest ways of communicating this is by having your hours on your email footer and set an out office message when you are not going to be there. The out of office should indicate when you are going to be able to get back to them, adding your business hours to your social media profiles and website will of course help.



Now you have set your hours, how do you stick to it? Firstly it's important to ensure you are not answering work calls and emails outside of these hours. I know, easier said than done but if you don't manage your clients expectations you may find you are getting calls at very inconvenient times.


Need a Separate Phone?

That is, of course one option, however, this can become expense and be a real pain having to carry two devices around. There is a workaround I have found, most Smartphones have profiles in the settings, so it is possible to set up a work profile setting to allow all calls through when you're working and a personal profile that will only let calls through from your selected family and friends, work calls are diverted directly to voicemail. I have found this works very well.


Other Measures to Take

I must admit, that I found having an office at home very difficult at first, the computer is always on so the out of office works, I'd have that familiar ping of an email or WhatsApp message arriving on my phone and think that "will only take a minute I will do it now". This had to stop or I would never achieve the balance that I and my family deserved. So how did I deal with this? Firstly I set up WhatsApp for business, it's free and gives you additional options, with the ability of setting your work hours and an automatic holding message outside those hours. It is also possible to exclude family and friends from getting this automatic message. This was a game changer, clients had a response to say the office was closed and what my office hours were.


The next thing I did was to remove my work emails from my phone, I know this is a biggy, but it's been so liberating. I don't want to be getting client emails popping through when I'm out to dinner with my Husband or spending precious time with the Grandchildren or friends. So often this has happened and it has then played in my mind and ruined what should be relaxing downtime.


Lastly, I purchased work jumpers and shirts with logos, so now I get ready for work in the morning and when I finish work I get changed and psychologically I feel that I am finishing work for the day. This gives me a feeling of separation from the business at the end of the working day. It is also nice to have a corporate presence at networking events and on Zoom calls.


Plan your time Effectively

When you're self-employed it's important to plan your time effectively in order to ensure you meet all your deadlines and avoid working late into the night or at weekends.


Start each week by writing down your priorities and deadlines and what you want to achieve from day-to-day.


Whether you have a VAT return to file or an important meeting to attend, write a to do list. Don't forget to schedule in time to work on your business as well as in it. Having a to do list will help you stay on track.


There is one other thing that I do which helps me stay on track, I have joined a group called the Accountability Circle, a great group that helps to keep me accountable for the tasks on my list. There is a link to the group below.


Outsourcing

If you’ve taken on too much work and the only way to get it done is to work all hours of the day and let your work life balance go out of the window, then you should consider outsourcing or delegating some work to a freelancer or colleague. 


Not only will this allow you to concentrate on the important tasks at hand and ensure you’re producing your very best work for your clients, but it’ll allow you to stick to your work schedule and ensure you maintain that all-important work life balance.


I hope you have found some of these tips useful.


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