Breaking free from the 9-to-5 lifestyle to pursue a freelance career can be a dream come true for some. Just talk to anyone who’s been going down this path, and they’ll tell you they would never go back to a regular office job since the new-found freedom to work whenever and from wherever you want is pretty much the ultimate professional luxury.
For a content writer, things look even more appealing since you can do your job remotely. Technically, you can type on your laptop from the roof of a skyscraper in New York just as well as from a sandy beach in Thailand, as long as you have good internet connection, right? You can do interviews over email or Skype, should your articles require it, and you can research topics online and come up with the most qualitative pieces without having to leave your home, no matter where “home” is. That’s dreamy indeed!
But just like a blessing can become a curse, so does a free schedule can become a seriously hectic work program. If you’ve initially been overly excited about your new working timeline as a freelance writer (especially because you can stay in when it’s pouring rain outside or because you can take your kid out to the park to catch the midday sun) chances are you’ve also become overwhelmed.
Not working with a typical nine-to-five, five days a week frame anymore means you have to find different hours and a different setting to do the job. That is why we’ve enlisted the following useful tips to help you find the perfect work-life balance.
- Be Mindful about How You Set Your Schedule
Being freelance writers available for work shouldn’t mean being all over the place. If you’re lucky enough to choose your own time slot for work, make sure you stick to it. Having some structure – working 3 hours in the morning and 4 hours at night, to give an example – is important in establishing the discipline required to cover the amount of work.
- Create Your Office Space at Home
As a content writer, you presumably only need a flat surface to place your laptop on. You don’t need a big working room to write your articles. However, it’s not so much the physical space itself that you require, but the psychological environment to work and create. Just like an employee who gets to his office and starts to work, you need a similar physical trigger to get you in that mood. Whether you arrange for a special corner in your house to play that role, or you simply pick your favorite spot in a nearby café, you need to designate a place as your “ home office.”
- Designate Your Boundaries
Family and friends conveniently relate to the “free” part of the word “freelancer.” They often think that working from home is a synonym for being available all the time. They may call you more often during the day, ask for favors they wouldn’t otherwise dare to or just invite you to hang out because you can technically leave your home office whenever you want.
Tempting as it is to answer positively to all their proposals, don’t forget to set your boundaries and let them know you’re working.
- Invest Time in a Hobby
The major downside of doing your work from home is the lack of socializing. If you don’t have to leave the house – or your cozy little coffee shop counter “desk” for that matter – this translates into being mostly solitary. That is why it’s so important to go outside and develop other interests and mingle with people. Be it drawing, yoga or cooking classes, make sure you pick something to get you out of the house and interact with other people.
- Limit Your Availability with Clients
Since you’re working remotely and not from an office, clients or employers might try to reach you anytime, anywhere. They may consider phone calls or Skype sessions to be less intrusive because they don’t require your physical presence. But if you don’t communicate to people a schedule for such conversations, you’ll be unpleasantly surprised to find they can pretty much kill most of your working and your spare time. We’re not saying to be extremely strict; we’re only recommending to teach your clients some boundaries as well.
In conclusion, there’s a right time to work and a right time to play. Don’t confuse the two just because you’ve chosen to become a freelancer content writer.