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So many of us dream of working alone. We’ve worked for the man, we’ve faced massive commutes and long hours. We’ve had jobs that leave little time for a social life, that mean that we have to work weekends and holidays, and our relationships and health have suffered for work. We imagine that working for ourselves will be completely different.
We think that we’ll work when we want to, when it suits our lifestyles. And that we’ll always take time off work when something important, or fun comes up, that we want to do instead. We know that we’ll work shorter hours, take more time for ourselves, and get a lot more rest. That our stress levels will be low, our relationships will flourish, we’ll be healthy and happy, and that our previously elusive work-life balance will be perfect.
This is rarely the case. Most solopreneurs find that they become workaholics. They can’t stop. They never take full-days off, they always put work first, telling themselves that it’s ok because they love what they do, and they can’t go ten minutes without checking work emails or updating social media plages. Many solopreneurs are terribly stressed out, and their work has spilled into their lives, leaving no balance at all. Here are some tips to help you to claw that balance back.
Stop Being Solo
Sometimes, the only way to get back a little time for ourselves is to accept that we can’t do it all alone and ask for help. This applies to most areas of life, not just businesses. But, that doesn’t mean that you have to hire staff to work side by side with you, which isn’t always possible if you work from home. You could outsource your IT Solutions, or hire a freelance VA to help with admin and social media. You can still feel like you work solo, without having to do all of the work.
Make the Most of Flexibility
One of the reasons that you went solo was probably a search for more flexibility. You have it now if you want it. There’s no one making you work, but you. Remind yourself of this when you need to.
Write Down Your Priorities
What are your priorities? Why did you start working alone? What did you most want from the arrangement? Did you want to spend more time with your family? Or spend time with friends? Would you like to exercise more? Or spend more time outside? It’s all too easy to forget our priorities in life when we’re so busy, so write yours down and leave them somewhere that you can see.
Write Things Down
Writing things down has another benefit. Writing to-do lists can help you to manage your time more effectively, making it easier to stick to a schedule, clock off when your list is completed (don’t keep adding to it!), and take entire days off.
Make Plans for Life
Sometimes we need firm plans in place to give ourselves permission to take time off work. Make plans with friends, and make bookings so that you are less likely to cancel.