So here's the thing I didn't realize, even years into freelancing and working from home, for myself.
I can create my own schedule the way I want to.
Seems completely obvious, I know. But let me explain.
I tend to be very organized and strict with my schedule in order to get things done. So even though I work from home, and can technically "work when I want" I followed a pretty typical 9-5 schedule to be more efficient and be on par with most people's schedules. I usually would work from around 8:30am to 6pm taking an hour break somewhere in between to try to be completely done work with by the time my boyfriend got home from work.
But this proved difficult on especially busy days and I almost always felt rushed and flustered and would almost never be done by 6pm anyway. The hour break never seemed long enough to eat lunch, rest, move around, relax etc and I would end the day irritable, with headaches, and disappointment of not having been productive enough.
Then one day, I came across a blog post from another entrepreneur who created her ideal workday around her lifestyle and actually working less. She essentially worked from 9-1pm, took a 3 hour lunch break, then started again from 4-8.
A light bulb went off. What was the point of a work-from-home business, if I wasn't allowing myself to make my own rules or actually enjoy any of the perks of it? In effort to be disciplined, I was treating myself like a stern boss with strict rules and no wiggle room, even though this method wasn't working for me.
Working this way seemed foreign, but I decided to give it a try. And it's been a total GAME CHANGER.
Here's what my schedule looks like now:
8am-8:30am- Wake up/see boyfriend off/get dressed (comfortable lounge clothes, never pajamas anymore)
9am-9:30-- Start working (I write out broad task on my large physical calendar and put smaller tasks on in my iCal. Trying to always tackle the most difficult thing or timely thing first.
9:30-1pm work work work work work (Rihanna voice)
1pm-4pm lunch break. This has been the biggest benefit in my schedule. I actually now have enough time to do all of the daily life things I felt I was scrambling to complete (household chores, feeding my cat, returning phone calls, grocery shopping, manicure, taking a nap, whatever!)
4pm-8pm continue to work work work. This section working out actually surprised me because I usually like to be done working by the time boyfriend gets home. But since he usually gets home around 7/7:30 anyway, by the time we want to hang out it's usually around 8pm anyway.
Of course, my day doesn't always look this consistent. Some days I may not start working until noon, then working straight through consecutively the rest of the day, depending on client needs or deadlines. Sometimes I work until 11pm. Sometimes I start at 8:30am, and take short breaks in between, it all varies.
But I've learned that it's a lot more stressful to try and place stringent boundaries on yourself and your work style, instead of just going with what makes sense. As long as my clients receive prompt and high-quality service, I can find balance between life and business, and that's a huge win all around.
What changes have you made to your work/life balance?