I have been blogging since the beginning of 2022 and commend myself on being consistent and sticking to the plan, week in, week out. If you check in with me every week or have read this far, you will know I’m a freelancer. My official title is Executive Virtual Assistant although I am thinking of a new swish name to give myself, as my work is becoming less and less virtual.
For the five years that I have been doing this as a career, what I’ve noticed the most though is how much it can take a toll on your personal life. Of course, like anyone else, I have problems finding a balance between work and life. You can catch me working at 5:00am or 5:00pm, it really depends on how my day has gone and what is on my list. If it is project-based, I tend to spend some evenings getting through it at my own pace, this way I know that there are fewer interruptions for me. I think my clients love the fact that I will get the work done regardless of the time. I do however ensure mailboxes are manned during office hours.
As mentioned, it can take a toll on your personal life so here is what I do to find the perfect balance, this was not always the case though.
- Have a separate workspace area
When we were in lockdown, many had to work from home so we were forced to set up workstations, laptops, desks etc. Now the world has opened back up, many are returning to the office. If like me, you never had an office outside of the home, now is the time to ensure your space at home is the ‘office’ and just that! Keep all work-related items where they should be and your work lives there. Not at the kitchen table, not in bed (once or twice is allowed) and not on the sofa. Having been tapping away on your keyboard for long periods of time can eventually have an adverse effect on your back, neck and even wrists. Choose your workspace carefully, even if you are restricted to space. If you must work from the sofa
- Schedule time in
As business owners, we would love to say we close doors at 5:00 pm but the truth is we keep going as long as we have the energy to do so. Scheduling in time for your family is key and your children will remember when you were not at that play, sports day or graduation rather than the new Nike Dunks that you purchased in the unusual colour way so whatever you use to book yourself in for appointments and meeting, schedule in anything that is related to your family there. If you use Gmail, you can actually change the colour of appointments to suit ‘business’ or ‘family’.
- Let your family in
Now I am not saying you must go to your family for any advice about the business, but if they can help in any way, accept it if it makes sense to you and the business model. As a solopreneur who is off doing a million and one different things for my clients, I use my husband as a sounding board. He does not completely understand the business BUT he can offer advice from his point of view and how he understands things – it is always helpful to hear another person’s point of view looking from the outside in. Sometimes I may not even like the advice given but ultimately it is down to me to act upon it or not.
If you have children, perhaps getting them involved in sorting your receipts, filing paperwork or even tidying your workspace together is also a nice way to spend quality time without even realizing it.
Don’t let your time slow you down. Get smart about how you manage your time, and make sure that you’re getting the most out of both work and your personal life. Yes, running your own business does come with challenges and stresses that are no surprise to the next person. If you don’t lose sight of what’s important (your work and your life), then you should be able to overcome any roadblocks that might get in your way.
Remember your ‘why’ about the business, I believe one of the reasons you created your own business was to give yourself more freedom in terms of spending more time with your family and doing more of what you love.
You can certainly do both. If you are going to implement any of the above, well done! If you still feel you cannot find the balance, outsourcing is another option for you, and I would be very happy to see if I could be a good fit for you and your business. Book a call here.