Simplify, Focus and Work Smarter

I have been meaning to talk about work/life balance ever since I read this great post entitled ‘Work chunky, work better’ over at The Freelancery (on my blogroll for a very good reason!). This need was compounded by coming across this advice piece on Self Employed Success, which offers some solace for those of us still in the early stages of our careers, as well as providing some food for thought for more seasoned professionals.

So how can we deal with ‘overwhelm’? I have highlighted a few points below, which I found to relate to my personal situation particularly well, but please feel free to head on over and pick out your own.

• don’t try to be everything to everyone – this is something that I readily admit to struggling with. I have always been someone who is energised by being busy and having a lot going on (I’m currently running my business while completing an MA), but I accept the need to focus my energies on other aspects of my life sometimes (e.g. reading a good book/enjoying a lovely meal/spending time with family).
• say ‘no’ to people and projects – I addressed this point in a post a few weeks ago, and it is a vital lesson to learn for newcomers to the industry. Reputation is everything, but we also owe it to ourselves to take time out and recharge the batteries now and again. Do you really need to take that rush job? Haven’t you got friends to catch up with, a newspaper to read, or, as is often the case for me, cakes to bake? In short: take on the work that you know you can handle, refer the work that you can’t, and take time out.
• clear the desk  I am sometimes guilty of keeping things on my desk that don’t need to be there. I try to restrict the documents on my desk to those concerning ongoing projects, but I still end up needing to clear the decks every now and then. Tidy desk = tidy mind, and lots of various bits of paper only serve as distractions to the task in hand.
• tick things off – I have sung the praises of Anxiety in a previous post (read it here), but there is definitely something to be said for crossing off tasks on a physical to-do list. It’s very satisfying!
• celebrate – I hadn’t previously considered this, but why not mark the end of a particularly challenging project with a little treat? I’ll be putting this into action as soon as possible!

What do you think? Do you have a work-life balance strategy?

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This article was written by: Megan Onions

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