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7 tips for balancing work and life as a freelancer

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Terkel of AZ Big Media

7 tips for balancing work and life as a freelancer

Striking a healthy work-life balance as a freelancer can be challenging. To provide some guidance, we’ve gathered seven pieces of advice from founders, strategists, and other professionals in the field. From embracing location independence to setting realistic deadlines and communicating frequently, these tips offer valuable insights for freelancers seeking balance.

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  • Embrace Location Independence
  • Charge Appropriate Rates and Avoid Burnout
  • Block Out Non-Negotiable Time-Off
  • Automate and Delegate Tasks
  • Create a Workspace and Prioritize Self-Care
  • Avoid Overworking and Use Productivity Tools
  • Set Realistic Deadlines and Communicate Frequently

Embrace Location Independence

I started freelancing for several reasons, but one of the big ones was to have location independence. I consider this to be among the best perks of freelance life since it allows me to travel, create my schedule, and be flexible with my time without having to build my life around work. 

Since this is one of my biggest motivators, I remind myself to take advantage of it as often as possible. This could mean taking a last-minute work-cation or simply grabbing my favorite table at our local coffee shop and knocking out some client orders. These are helpful reminders of why I do what I do, which helps work feel less like work.

Alli Hill, Founder and Director, Fleurish Freelance

Charge Appropriate Rates and Avoid Burnout

I’ve been a freelance writer for 10 years, and when I was just getting started, it was tempting to say yes to everything, regardless of price. 

I found a much better work-life balance once I started networking with other freelancers and researching rate databases to charge more. That was a significant change in meeting my income goals without burning out.

Lauren Ward, Writer and Content Strategist, Write With Lauren

Block Out Non-Negotiable Time-Off

From years of freelancing experience, one tip is to block out non-negotiable time off in your calendar. This could be leisure time, family time, time for hobbies, or simply some time to relax and recharge. Unless intentionally protected, there will always be something work-related to fill it with, and then you get overworked and burnt out.

Treat these time blocks with as much respect as any other professional appointment or deadline. They’re non-negotiable for a reason, and their role in maintaining mental health and productivity should not be underestimated. 

Just as you wouldn’t cancel a meeting with a client on a whim, don’t cancel on yourself. Personal time is equally important, and ensuring it gets priority is essential for achieving a work-life balance.

Juliet Dreamhunter, Founder, Juliety

Automate and Delegate Tasks

I’m an SEO freelancer with a few large-spending clients. Between working on their websites, posting on LinkedIn, and creating content for my website, life can get a little hectic. 

One tip that’s always worked for me is to automate and delegate my work whenever I can. So, if it’s something like keyword research, I recommend learning automation skills like Python to fully automate the process. 

I also suggest delegating whenever possible. Since we’re freelancers, we don’t have access to larger teams like agencies do, but I recommend building a network of freelancers to whom you can delegate. If it’s content creation or manual outreach for link building, you can lean on other freelancers or VAs to help. 

This has significantly reduced my working time and prevented me from overworking myself, which has led to a much healthier work-life balance that includes being able to spend more time with my significant other.

Taylor Scher, SEO Associate, TaylorscherSEO

Create a Workspace and Prioritize Self-Care

As a CEO, my advice for maintaining a healthy work-life balance as a freelancer is to establish clear boundaries and prioritize self-care. Here are some practical tips:

Clearly define your working hours and communicate them to your clients. Avoid the temptation to be available or work excessive hours constantly. Establishing boundaries helps create a separation between work and personal life.

Set up a designated area where you can work without distractions. This helps create a physical boundary between work and leisure activities, allowing you to focus during working hours and detach when you’re done.

Make time for activities that rejuvenate and recharge you. This can include exercise, hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or engaging in activities that bring you joy. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is crucial for sustained productivity and overall happiness.

Sai Blackbyrn, CEO, Coach Foundation

Avoid Overworking and Use Productivity Tools

One piece of advice for maintaining a healthy work-life balance as a freelancer is to establish clear boundaries and stick to them. Set specific working hours and designate a dedicated workspace to create a separation between work and personal life. 

Avoid the temptation to work around the clock and prioritize self-care and leisure activities outside of work hours. Learn to say no to excessive workloads and avoid over-committing yourself. Plan regular breaks and time off to recharge and rejuvenate. 

Use productivity tools and time-management techniques to stay organized and optimize your work efficiency. Communicate your boundaries and expectations with clients, ensuring they understand and respect your availability. Remember, a healthy work-life balance is essential for your overall well-being and long-term success as a freelancer.

Lukasz Zelezny, SEO Consultant, SEO Consultant London

Set Realistic Deadlines and Communicate Frequently

It’s helpful to ask for client deadlines up front, and then communicate the timeframe that is realistic for the rough draft (V1), accounting for quick revisions and then the completed version. Setting a work schedule to only work weekdays and not setting deadlines or milestones to be completed during the weekend is beneficial. 

Constant communication with the client via quick messages: “providing this by x time,” “will follow-up on x by x,” is also a good idea. Sending a simple update/check-in correspondence goes a long way with the client and reiterates that work is being done while still having a personal life on weekends and, therefore, working within the allocated agreed-upon timeline.

Megan Dias, Career Services Coach, Parsity