When you’re self employed or running your own business, it can be very difficult to stay focused and get the most of each day without feeling drained, tired or over worked. It’s so easy to fall into a cycle of working on the weekends and late into the evening!
One of the main reasons I started my own business and started to work for myself, was to have and maintain a healthy work life balance, so that I could work hard and achieve everything I needed to in a certain amount of time and still have time to myself. This is a constant struggle for me and something I keep having to work at as it’s so easy to get caught up with all the things I have to do and lose the balance very quickly.
Here are few things I try to do for myself that I have found helpful in maintaining a good work-life balance. Some of the points sound quite easy but actually I find that sometimes they are a lot harder to put into practice than you might expect
- Don’t check emails or look at your computer after you leave the studio/office.
For me it’s really important to sleep well and have time in the evening when I am winding down so that my brain can relax. I have now come to the conclusion that when I deicide not to look at my computer or check emails after I leave work at 6 30pm-ish, then I have a much better evening and it’s mush easier to wind down. This has a massive effect on the quality of my sleep and I know I am a lot more relaxed as I have taken the time to transition away from work and properly wind down.
2. Take a proper lunch break.
I think is really important to take a proper lunch break. Taking time out in the day to stop what I am doing and eat lunch properly without checking my emails or doing anything else makes me feel so much more focused in the afternoon. When I do this, I find it so much easier to concentrate for another 4 or 5 hours after lunch.
I also always make sure I don’t have lunch in my studio. I think it’s really important not to have lunch in my work space so I don’t have the energy of work there while I’m eating and also because my studio is where I create my paintings and I don’t want my food to get all chemically!
3. Start work at 9am every day.
I think it’s really important to get in to the studio early. I try and get to the studio at 9am, so that I have time to properly tidy the space and sort myself out so that I can get everything ready for the day that I need, and focus properly. Like many creative people I used to start my day at 10am but now I really apreciate having the extra hour as it enables me to finish at around 6 /7pm and get everything done.
I am someone who likes to work hard, in a concentrated amount of time and get things done quickly. Maybe it was something to do with my Math’s degree but it has shown me the value of efficiency.
4. Don’t meet with friends or answer calls during the day!
Being disciplined with my day and not meeting up with friends on work days is key in helping me to stay focused. It’s so easy to meet a friend or to have some tea in the afternoon with someone else so it really important for me to have structured working times that I stick to. This also extends to trying not to take non work related calls during the day as it can be so easy to pick up the phone when my Mum or a friend rings and have a chat for an hour or so but actually being strict and not answering my phone to anyone during the day really helps me to gain more time and allows me to get more done, so that I can leave early and have a lovely evening at home!
To have a really focused week, I need to have a proper rest at the weekend. And even though it’s so tempting to sometimes work on the weekend, I know that when I have taken the weekend to rest and given myself a break from constantly thinking about work, I am in a much better place when the next Monday morning comes along. I can go to the studio early and really get into what I am doing. I notice such a difference in the quality of my work in weeks when I have had a proper break over the weekend and weeks when I haven’t. I am so much more enthusiastic and inspired which in turn makes my work more focused and productive.