Freelance Designers: How to Balance Your Work Life

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Do you work to live or live to work? Freelance designers may have started off imagining work as being flexible since they have freedom to plan for their own schedule. However, ceaseless project demands can make one’s life end up with wear and tear. As we all know, we become emotionally disrupted when we couldn’t get enough balance between work and lives. Being a workaholic may ironically backfire and prevent you from accomplishing what you want so hard.

work life balance for freelance designers

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For sure, we read articles or get information from the internet on how to attain a more balanced lifestyle. Yet, do we really take actions on it? Or we just go for extra mile in the work so as to hit the target? Come and read this! Below are some tips to help you to strike for balance between work and life, so that you can be, however you put it as an optimal functioning human being.

Make Time For Exercising!

You would probably agree that most freelancers lead quite a sedentary lifestyle. When you spend more than three-quarters of your waking hour sitting in front of your PC, it’s easy to become physically out-of-shape. Everyone knows you might get all sorts of health problems like cardiovascular diseases, obesity, etc. Exercise improves your immune system, which means that you will be less likely to fall sick!

make time for exercising
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Physical health aside, keeping fit has also been proven to improve one’s mental health in terms of mood, cognitive functions like memory and concentration, which are all crucial components of work productivity.

From now onwards, set aside some time each day to exercise. Even if you are pressed for time, try to work out for at least twenty minutes each time. The great thing about it is that you don’t have to make it a chore; you can always find some physical activities that you prefer, and even do it with a friend. Cycling, swimming, dancing, running and the list goes on. Frequent exercising will definitely make your mind sharper and clearer.

Quality Time With Friends and Family

Everybody needs social support from friends and family, but the question is how much and whether you are getting it. Apart from that, relationship means two-way, so you would need to consider how much you are willing to dedicate yourself to the closed ones.

This is something you need to determine it by yourself. If you have a family, it’s important for you to maintain good communication with them on a regular or even daily basis. Even if you are at home working on your projects most of the time, it doesn’t mean that you are spending genuine quality time with them. Your attention is on work more than anything else.

quality time with friends and family
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If you are single, then you probably have more leeway on how you want to allocate your time for friends and family. Organize an outing every now and then and really enjoy yourself when you’re there. Don’t take your work with you everywhere. When it’s time to relax and have fun, do that. It’s a good way to recharge yourself before you’re going back to work again.

Nurturing relationships with loved ones may not seem as urgent as your work, so it’s tempting for us to put work before them. But if you are willing to set aside a little bit of your working time, you will come to see that it’s really well spent in the long run and for sure, it is worthy. Isn’t it wonderful to know we are not in this alone?

Go for Vacations

Taking a vacation is a perfect way to recharge you from the drudgery of work. As much as you may love what you do for a living, focus on work day in and day out can tear down anyone’s passion and energy.

For creative occupations like designers, it is in fact essential to open up our mind and perspectives to find inspirations for your work. If you follow a rigid schedule every day, spend most of your time at home working, it is hard to gather creative ideas. Yet, when you travel to a foreign environment, where is something out of your comfort zone, you can experience new culture and formulate new ways of thinking. You see the world in a different light, and you can even come to understand yourself better.

go for vacations
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Besides, a planned vacation some months down can actually give you something to look forward to. When you’re really stressed out by all of your works, you can look at that picture of the Bahamas beaches on your desk and imagine yourself there. You can even convince yourself to work hard and endure for now, because you will eventually get your well deserved break!

One thing to note about vacation is that it has to fulfill its purpose of recharging yourself. Be sure to go to places where you can really relax yourself and take your mind away from work. If you find city life taxing, then opt for scenic countryside vacation. If you find it a burden to take care of your kids, then don’t bring them along. You can choose to go alone, or with your loved ones.

After all, it’s your trip, but you wouldn’t want to end up becoming even more stressed out after that!

Engage in Hobbies, Learn Something

As I repeat my case about expanding your mind by traveling to different places, the same can be applied to learning something new or indulge in hobbies. One thing about working hard without giving time to yourself to explore is that your life can become too monotonous. It’s hard for you to become more creative if you are exposed to the same thing every day.

To strike for a balance between the time you’re working and the time you’re not, you can find something else that you really wish to do. The more you become good at other things as well other than your work, the fuller your life becomes. You will not only see the world in the perspective of your job alone, but instead you will also appreciate it from different angles based on what you’re learning.

engage in hobbies
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Of course, one of the benefits of engaging in hobbies or learning something new is that it frees your mind from work alone. If you have several other activities which you are involved into, then you have more options to indulge yourself with. It’s just like having a TV with several channels versus a TV with only a single one. You can always switch to another when you’re bored with the one you’re watching.

There’s more to life than work. I’m sure you have a couple of hobbies or things you wanted to learn but have been procrastinating. Well, make time for it!

Daily Reflection Time

Finally, you need to have time for yourself every day. No, I don’t mean having time for yourself to spend with your love ones; I mean having time alone with your own thoughts.

We all need some amount of time for ourselves no matter we are an extroverts or introverts. It doesn’t have to be too long; fifteen minutes per day would be enough. It is time for you to be conscious of your goals, your dream and your life purpose. When you are not conscious of what you do day in and day out, days, weeks, months and even years can quietly speed by before you know it. That’s okay if you know what you are doing, but what if you don’t and you miss out on what’s truly important to you?

daily reflection time
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Another benefit from taking time to think and reflect is that it allows you to temporarily distance yourself from work and other stressors. Also you may have some existing issues which you couldn’t seem to find a good solution to resolve it, no matter how much you have been pondering over them. Sometimes, the answers to these problems pop in when you’re not focusing on them. This is most probably because you are less tensed, so your subconscious mind is able to figure out for you.

One thing you should be cautious about is the tendency to use such a time to worry about work. This should be an opportunity to put things in proper perspective, not to further burden you with problems. If you have such propensity to indulge in such counterproductive ruminations, you can use this period to clear your mind instead. Try learning some simple meditation techniques to bring down your stress level.

Conclusion

The reason why we often neglect our personal life is because there doesn’t seem to be any deadlines, unlike your projects and stuffs. Yet, it is crucial that we maintain it, just like how we should maintain our computers to keep it functioning at its best.

I’m not asking you to devote half of your time to work and the other half to your personal life; that depends on you. I’m only reminding you that we have to offer ourselves from time to time to things that are certainly more important in life than just work.

Author:

Michael is a freelance blogger and regular contributor for Hongkiat.com. He graduated from the National University of Singapore with a double major in Psychology and Communications & New Media in 2011.He believes in the power of the written word to influence and inspire. An enthusiastic video gamer, Michael is also actively engaged in various physical activities in his spare time.

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