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How to work your ‘Work Life balance’ when Self Employed…Diary of an Employable Blogaholic

Work Life. What does that mean? It is fine preaching about making sure that you find employment that compliments your personal life, but the reality is, that many of us, are at least partly controlled by the jobs that we have.

Whether you are employed, self-employed, or unemployed, it is tough, practicing in reality, a  healthy work life. Having been in solid employment for ten years, and then dealing with redundancy and then self-employment, each work discipline has its own work and life challenges. For me, I have found the boundary between home and work life, hardest to balance, since I have become self-employed. In fact the boundary between being self-employed and your home life, can become a murky shade of grey, should you allow it.

Being in employment means you sometimes struggle to have a life. Full stop.

Post the ‘unemployment honeymoon‘, you can be left with dealing with a work life balance that becomes just ‘life’….childcare, school runs, housework, (daddy day care), day time TV…

Self-employment, (or self starter as we like to call it) is more a case of self-discipline, to me. Trying to arrange a telephone meeting, or even write an email, can be a tricky prospect, if like me, you have two loveable, but larger than life, children. The reality is, like the stereotype, I am a man who struggles to multitask! So the reality of working, and working professionally from home, with two young children, can be tough going. You often find yourself in a work / life limbo – both your work and your family demand your 100% commitment, but neither parties, including yourself can be satisfied. This is where a sinking feeling of guilt can step in. You are neglecting both your work and your family in one foul swoop.

Don’t get me wrong I am very lucky with the amount of both personal and childcare support I have been given – some people have none. However, here are a few things I have so far learnt along the way, that might be helpful to others about to make the jump to self employment…

1. Take off your email and twitter alerts from your phone! If like me, you can become easily obsessed with a certain aspect of your job, there is nothing more disruptive than getting messages throughout the day and night. I sadly started getting into the habit of checking my phone, even when I awoke in the middle of the night!It is actually rather enjoyable, turning on your laptop and checking your emails and twitter feeds anyway, to see what action has been happening, so, see it as an advantage to not be wired up to your emails, twitter etc 24 hours a day! If you really need to have your emails, twitter etc on your phone, turn off your phone, when you are not working, to avoid work / personal life conflict – or – have a work phone and a personal phone to help separate the two.

2. Agreeing when you are working and when you are not. The hardest thing for me, is stopping! Even when I am not working, I am working (if that makes sense). Being self-employed, mean there is always something you need to do, or you feel cannot wait until tomorrow. However, self-discipline is very important and you have real issues with your time management if you cannot just leave work well alone. Rather than being on the case 24 hours, make sure that you set strict boundaries on when you are working and try not to deviate too far away from your plans.At the same time, give yourself the discipline, to tell others that this is when you are working and that just because you are self-employed, does not mean that you are free to be flexible with when you are working and when you are not.

3. Get a Business Partner. You need a real break from work, but you also need to know that the business you are developing is being left in a safe pair of hands. Therefore, the easiest solution to this is to get a business Partner and one that you can fully trust that has the same work ethics as you. Then, when you take that well earned holiday away from work, it is just that – a holiday.

4. Remember, it is only a job! I love what I do, but I often forget to remember that it is still just a job. Your family, partner, children, friends – they are the things that make all the difference. Work harder at improving your relationships with these people. Without wanting to sound all ‘hippie’, you may find that a healthier home life, means your work life is healthier too…

5. Don’t sneak off. Don’t pretend you are not working, when you are! 🙂

Please do comment below, if you have other suggestions that may help our readers out our managing your work life… the more help the better with this one, me thinks!

If you are a self starter or thinking of becoming self employed – you should check out our platform for the self starter – Startacus

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