Work-life balance is a concept to be skeptical about. Can You Have Too Much Life? Work for sure. Everyone who works as a freelancer has arguments to debunk the myth about stress-free work that takes place between social gatherings. So how to find the balance and optimally design your time?
Independently, whether meetings with clients take place in the morning or in the evening, whether we work among other things or in a sequence – nothing breaks the rhythm like the lack of a good routine. Whether your day starts with yoga practice, coffee, or getting dressed for work at home, make sure that our little rituals are performed every day. They allow us to maintain not only the circadian rhythm, but also concentration. There are no better or worse solutions – the most important thing is that these habits are yours. For me, there was nothing more destructive than forcibly copying, for example, waking up at 5 a.m., meditation for an hour after leaving bed, and an icy shower just because several articles on the Internet treat it as a revealed truth. Different solutions work better for everyone. Listen to your body and your mind – they will tell you more than articles on Lifehacker.
Jocko Willink in his book “Extreme Ownership” as well as outside of it often repeats “Discipline = Freedom”. Among the freelancers I know, those who are extremely disciplined are successful. For example, I found that I had to wait two weeks to meet a certain freelancer whose service I wanted to use. Why? Because I only had time to meet when he was in jiu-jitsu training. He chose to risk losing a client rather than give up his schedule. When the meeting took place late in the evening, we got down to business quickly. It is not without reason that I also try to translate many things into the evening – our will and concentration decrease as the day progresses, so I encourage you to do the most difficult things at the beginning of your work day. This will surely help you improve your work-life balance in remote work.
To hell with the beach
It’s not the novelty that a freelance job from a beach bar is a myth. I myself have worked (also for Talent Place) from two exotic locations. One of them was Zanzibar. And while it’s hard to find a more inspiring place, it was the worst place to work in my life. Moisture destroyed my computer, Wi-Fi worked properly on average two hours a day, there was no electricity several times a week, and at 6 p.m. it was getting dark and mosquitoes were prowling. As much as I value travel experiences, today I prefer to fly to such places only for holidays. Do you know why Gran Canaria is one of the favorite destinations of digital nomads? Because there are many coworking spaces with air conditioning and fast Wi-Fi! The condition to be able to afford work-life balance is that before you go to the beach you want in the afternoon – you have easy access to a work environment where you can simply focus.
When working creatively, however, I appreciate the occasional change of workplace – while a coworking office works best for remote operation, I like to work from a cafe once a week – rarely the same. The new space helps not only with a fresh look and generating new ideas. It is also a great way to slow down your perception of the passing of time. Our brain has new stimuli, and by feeling that time is passing slowly, we can work a little faster. Just remember that cat coffee shops aren’t the best choice – otherwise you will spend most of your time negotiating with the furry to stop hitting the keyboard.
How do you “work? ”
I was originally convinced that self-discipline would be the hardest part of working as a freelancer. Nothing could be more wrong. The hardest part for me was letting others know that just because I’m not in the office doesn’t mean I don’t work . Or why am I working Friday and Saturday night? (Because unlike my colleague working during “standard” working hours, I took Tuesday and Wednesday off. Those of you who have ever tried to work while spending time with your family during the break between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, know how difficult it is to concentrate. Not to mention keeping your habits – especially those related to your diet.
The whole situation becomes much more complicated when we start talking about the recently popular work-life integration. Entrepreneurs and freelancers in particular are basically constantly at work. In social relations it may come as a surprise when, after going out for coffee, we say goodbye and return to our tasks, instead of spending more time with friends, taking advantage of the Saturday afternoon. These and other situations in this model of work often lead to a painful decision for some: changing the frequency of meetings with specific groups of friends.
All the time at work
Let’s first look at the whole work-life integration phenomenon. This recently fashionable term assumes that , unlike work-life balance, we do not separate work from leisure with a thick line . On the contrary – the point is for private and professional life to coexist, and we should learn to switch between them efficiently.
I am ready to say that for people working remotely, this approach should be the foundation. Young parents are among the largest groups of people working from home. Many of them will surely agree with me that their children do not yet understand when their parents are at work. Looking from a completely different perspective – a rigid demarcation of work and time for oneself can and does allow to maintain a certain order. But on the other hand – how many of us have had a bad day at work and the results were zero? As a result, the day passes and the tasks remain. I myself noticed that giving myself the right to a long walk or a spontaneous meeting in the middle of the day has a positive effect on my well-being. I like to go back to work in the evening, and thanks to this, despite working remotely and at irregular times – I do not burn out because working hours are not a compulsion for me. What I do is part of my identity, not a place. So, unlike the approach with work-life balance in remote work I don’t have to “leave” work.
Work-life balance in remote work – summary
The conclusions above are, however, only a few observations that I have been able to collect over the past years. Some of them may be subjective – no wonder. Effective organization of remote work largely depends on what action plan fits our personality. When we prefer to get up, how to spend our time, what gives us the most pleasure. By comparing it with data and scientific knowledge, we are able to work out an optimal workflow. Of course, a lot depends on how our remote team works – after all, you usually have to agree on an appropriate time frame together, bearing in mind the good of all involved people. What about the rest? We have to discover it ourselves through long-term search and improvement of our favorite solutions. And we don’t need an icy shower before dawn.