The standard corporate job is undergoing a massive shift as more office-based workers quit to become remote workers or freelancers. Self-employment continues to become a striving industry with approximately two million Filipinos working as freelancers across the country.
It is often assumed that freelancing is like living in a real paradise where you can work as much as you can or take a vacation anytime with no prior clearances to be signed. You will never even worry about an authoritative boss holding off your back. But the reality is that pursuing a freelance career may be even more demanding than you think.
When you become a freelancer, you are likely to enjoy the flexibility of time, better stress management, and higher earning potential. But not every freelancer will tell you that since you will be dealing with direct clients rather than corporate superiors. And it might be more difficult to cope up with extreme work pressures when you are already pushed to the limit.
Freelancing and remote working may require a fresh perspective with regard to proper balancing between a professional career and family life. You may consider these principles of balanced work-life in order to preserve your own sanity:
1. Think about the reasons why you are working
If you have a stable job, whether you are working remotely or working on a regular 9-5 shift, you are able to pay your bills, BIR taxes, settle your social contributions, and pay for other recurring expenses. However, if you are only working to make ends meet, you might miss the point on why exactly you need to work. Remember to take time to enjoy the fruits of your labor rather than just working to live each day.
Establish a realistic financial goal that may allow you to purchase a new car or take your family on a weekend trip. Working towards something new other than just paying your monthly amortizations can make your freelance career journey more fulfilling. Though you are not receiving a fixed income from your freelance job, you can still save money when you practice self-control and proper monitoring of expenditures.
2. Get some help from other professionals
You don’t need to chew the entire workload alone just because you are doing things on your own. Consider working with other freelancers and independent contractors to relieve you from getting burned out. If you are optimistic enough, you might consider this as an opportunity to share your blessings with other freelancers or another way to increase your network. Try not to think of this as a competition, but rather a solution to protect your health and manage your stress levels.
You may contact other freelancers to help you manage some of your projects if they get too overwhelming. Alternatively, you can hire someone you don’t know personally to carry the workload for you if you feel apprehensive about asking the help of another acquainted freelancer. You may utilize this opportunity to look for new clients when you run out of projects. Increase your network with fellow professionals and established organizations to create more windows of opportunities for your career.
3. Be willing to let go of demanding clients
Clients deserve to be treated well since they are paying you for your products and services. And if you wish to keep them coming back, it is your responsibility to give your clients the best experience while working with you. They may possibly refer a potential client to you if they get satisfied. However, not all clients are easy to deal with.
Some clients might turn to be perfectionist or even excessively demanding which can make project goals become unrealistic. Don’t afraid to say “no” to them if you feel that their demands are overwhelming especially when the project deadlines are too tight. Learn to determine who are your nightmare clients and turn them down before their demands take over your life completely.
4. Accept that you are not perfect
You don’t need to be perfect in every project you do just to please your clients though work proficiency and efficiency are always appreciated. Simply accept the fact that you can’t do everything alone or perform the job 100%free free from errors. If you are a web developer, for instance, who happens to be perfectionist, you could waste as much time trying to find mistakes on every single detail, including graphics and text contents. You are not having an excellent quality of life if you do this for every project you are trying to accomplish on time.
5. Draw a clear line between a freelance career and personal life
When you are handling multiple projects or jumping from one client to another, expect the line between professional work and personal life to snap easily. When you become a full-time freelancer, you no longer enjoy the standard 9-5 office time to help you differentiate home and office life. You don’t even have a dedicated working space at home where you can work in full concentration.
As a solution, you can create your own workstation at home by setting up a small home office or establishing your own work shift. If your home spaces are not sufficient, consider placing an office table in your bedroom or use some bookcases or screens if you are living in an open-type layout. More importantly, don’t let anything bother you when working except during emergency cases and guest visits.
6. Maintain an organized calendar of events
Having an organized calendar can help you manage both personal and freelance work better. What’s inside the calendar will include your lists of personal goals, career objectives, priorities, client meetings, and special family events to be attended. If you have a calendar to follow, you can plan ahead and avoid scheduling conflicts with project clients, family members and even co-freelancers. There are no standard rules to follow when creating a calendar, but try not to compress two or more items on a single timeline.
7. Step away from your freelance life once in a while
You are probably working on your projects or checking your messages almost the entire day. Consider stepping away from your computer or any electronic device during weekends to freshen up. Though getting offline may seem impossible, you might want to consider leaving your desk table or shutting down your working computer and just leave only the phone connected to the internet. What’s important here is to get adequate rest, particularly your eyes from staring at a computer screen all week long.
Sometimes, you just need to disconnect yourself away from the internet world, so you can recharge and give yourself a little breathing space. Remember that constantly checking your emails and news feeds during time-off will further depreciate the quality of time that you need to spend with friends and family.
- Practice healthy eating habits by keeping your carbohydrates consumption in moderate proportions since high blood sugar may affect your work performance.
- Schedule your personal or family time the same way you make schedules for client meetings and project deadlines.
- Make time for personal hobbies
- Maintain regular, light exercises such as brisk walking or meditating
- Don’t ignore any medical symptoms when you get stressed such as severe headache, indigestion, mental fatigue, and breathing difficulty, among others.
Without that balance between personal and professional life, you may find it even more difficult to get out in a situation where your mental or physical health may become affected.
Aldrich Tan is a duly registered Filipino architect and is currently working as a freelance writer focusing on content writing and blogging purposes.