Life as a freelancer can be busy. Managing…no….juggling everything can feel like you’re constantly keeping several plates spinning. And if we’re honest, is it even possible to juggle everything without one plate falling?
In short, yes.
Yes, we can juggle everything if and only if we stop looking for the perfect work-life balance and instead start thinking about work-life blend.
Co-founder of Freelance Heroes and Director of Hello My PA, Annie Browne spoke openly about this concept in our recent “How to Find the Ultimate Work-life Balance,” workshop, kicking off the session by saying that there is no such thing as the perfect balance.
Because if we think of balance as a set of scales with work on one side and personal on the other, if we take from one side because, for example, we feel like we have to give a little bit more to work, then the other side will undoubtedly suffer and throw you off balance, and vice versa.
This is where work-life blend comes in, and, if we’re honest, it’s a concept that cannot be underestimated as it certainly explains freelancing so much better.
Work-life blend is an understanding that each day is a day that works for you, i.e., it is a blend of work and play that allows you to achieve everything you want and more.
For example, contrary to external influences and expectations, there is no longer a standard 9 to 5 working day, especially for freelancers. And, some days we will work harder than others, and this is 100% perfectly acceptable. Blend is all about change and flow; it is about the blend of personal and work that suits you.
So, how do we achieve a good work-life blend?
- Identify what success is to you? Of course, everyone’s version of success is different, and only you and you alone truly understand your own success. So what is it that you are searching for? And are you in a place now where you want to be?
- Break down what success means to you into goals, forming actions that lead to timeframes. Planning and breaking goals into stages will provide you with the level of flexibility we all strive for as freelancers. If your actions aren’t moving you toward your goals, then have the confidence to say no, because everything you do should fulfil your purpose and have a positive effect.
- Have a level of awareness, acceptance, and accountability. We need to understand and accept the things we can’t control; you can only control your actions, behaviour, perceptions, etc. You are in control of everything you do, so you need to be accountable for your own decisions.
- Stop following external influences. The reason many of us became freelancers is for the level of flexibility that we couldn’t achieve in a regular 9 to 5. Yet, we can still feel guilty when we operate outside of what society deems as “normal.” For example, why can’t we send an email after 7pm? Why can’t we work Sundays because we took Friday off? There are no hard and fast rules; you need to do what is right and best for you. You have to spend your days doing things that fill you with energy. (Having an honest line of communication with your clients, can also help to manage expectations in this area).
- Look after yourself as a priority. Be kind, compassionate, and respectful to yourself. It’s good to switch off now and then, as in doing so, it can provide us with more clarity as our subconscious works better for us when we take some time out.
Freelancers can accept that there is no such thing as the perfect work-life balance, but by identifying what success looks like to us and having clarity on our vision, goals, and the actions we need to take to get us there, we can achieve the ideal work-life blend.