Working 24/7 – how to claim back some work-life balance

When you are self employed you have the hardest boss you have ever worked for – yourself. You must allow yourself some down time…

Once you have got your business up and running you might find that you have less free time than ever before. Flexible working is all very well, but there has to be give and take and if you find yourself still working on your books or business plans in the wee small hours, or you turn down invitations because you can’t spare the time, then something has gone wrong with your work-life balance. The thing to remember at all times is why you decided to work for yourself in the first place – it certainly wasn’t so you could see your children for five minutes at bedtime and work 24/7.

When you are self employed you have the hardest boss you have ever worked for – yourself. You must allow yourself some down time and this is easier if you work from a dedicated space in your home. This should definitely not be the bedroom or you will never be able to get away from it. If you can’t spare the space, then make sure that your paperwork can be packed away easily so that when you are relaxing with the family, it is out of sight.

Some good advice often given to people wanting to start working from home part time is to do something you love. That advice should not be ignored but it should also be remembered that if you make your hobby your job, you won’t have a hobby any more! When you are putting on your thinking cap to come up with self employment ideas, the thought of knitting or crochet, art or cooking will immediately spring to mind if those activities are what you love to do, but even a passion can get stale if you do it all the time. Using a hobby to generate some extra income is fine, but you still need to unwind somehow.

Home based work can so easily take over your life if you let it. If your business involves telephone calls, it will help you to keep your home working in its proper hours if you have a separate number which you can switch to answer phone in the evenings or any special time you plan with the family. There will always be times when you might have to break your own rule about phone calls after business hours, but as long as this doesn’t happen too often, it shouldn’t make too much impact. Customers have families too and they will quite understand that you need down time.

Don’t forget that if you find the business taking over your life there is always tomorrow. Don’t let deadlines creep up on you so that you have no leeway and then you can always stop what you are doing and go for a walk or play with the kids if they need some time with mum. However old they are, they won’t ever be that exact age again, so grab it and enjoy it and answer that query or parcel up that package tomorrow; if you have planned your time properly, it will wait.


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