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Simple Ways To Achieve A Good Work-Life Balance When You’re Your Own Boss

Summer in the Garden
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Being my own boss has always been a goal. Flexible hours, having no one to answer to but myself and being able to work from just about anywhere. Only it doesn’t really work out like that. Being your own boss certainly has its perks, but it also comes with the realisation that you do, in fact, have people to answer to. Another potential work hazard is a poor work-life balance.

IN SOME WAYS, WE’RE ALL OUR OWN BOSS

We often think that there are certain qualifying factors for being a boss. Owning a successful business or having employees, for example, but that’s often not the case. Working for yourself doesn’t necessarily equate to an abundance of power or wealth.

Some of us choose to work on our own terms, for ourselves, around a day job. Others juggle life around degrees or occasional freelance work. Sometimes, being your own boss means little other than having ultimate control and responsibility for how things pan out. It requires a large amount of self-motivation and really just means that the onus for success is on you.

Achieving a good work-life balance can be challenging whatever job you’re in. However, having to work from home as a student, freelancer or as self-employed (the list goes on), can even further blur business and pleasure. I’m one of the people who piles my plate, and as such, am currently employed in an office as well as splitting the rest of my time between a degree and freelance work. For that reason, I know both the pros and cons of employment as well as those of being my own boss.

I know I’m guilty of hitting a mental block from time to time. When the day reaches a certain point, staring out of the window, scrolling through Pinterest or even tackling laundry can seem more manageable than continuing on with the more mundane jobs on my to-do list, which I, of course, left until last. So here are a few simple things that tend to improve my own efficiency when I’m working from home.

KEEP YOUR WORKING ENVIRONMENT FRESH

The best word to describe spending every working day at the same desk, in the same room, is mundane. I can categorically say that I don’t want that for myself. Variety is the spice of life, after all.

A huge benefit of working for yourself is flexibility. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t sent a few emails from the comfort of my bed, but it’s not the best practice. Beds, sofas and any other places which you use for downtime are well worth avoiding when you’re trying to work. They’ll do nothing to encourage a productive mindset and there’s a chance they’ll make you’ll feel lazy and less motivated.

Saying that, I like to keep my environment fresh by having a few go-to working places; the kitchen table, my desk, and weather permitting, some outdoor areas are fair game.

Working From Home
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TURN INTO A SINGLE-TASKING PRO

Despite my best efforts to do everything at once, I’ve admitted that I can’t. What’s more, I don’t know why I so often feel I need to. Honestly, juggling ten things across various tabs, apps, and accounts is my default. That is until it inevitably gets too much and I forget what I was supposed to be doing.

Single-tasking is my new way forward. I’m writing lists and crossing them off one at a time, making sure that I tackle them in a well thought out order (so not leaving all of the most difficult until after lunch and then kicking myself). A tidy mind is my ultimate goal and with every day I’m detangling the chaotic threads.

DRESS THE PART

Dressing in your comfies is right up there with working from bed on my things-to-not-do-when-you’re-working-from-home list. I’m a firm believer in dressing the part. I know I won’t work as efficiently in casual clothes in the same way that I can’t fully relax when I’m trying to curl up on the sofa in jeans.

Pj’s, sportswear and cosy two-piece knits are some of my favourite things to wear. However, in the absence of business hours, a clocking in machine and a colleague to let you know you’ve hit the half an hour countdown until home-time, you need other cues. Getting up and getting into more work-friendly attire sets me up for the day. Closing my laptop and getting into more comfortable clothes sets me up for the evening.

Lazy Days at Home
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When I’m relaxing at home I’m a full advocate of wearing anything comfy. The two-piece knit I’m wearing here is from J5 Fashion: It’s so cosy and versatile. I wear the jumper half during work-mode and all it takes is a switch from jeans or trousers to the knitted bottoms to ceremoniously clock out for the day.

KNOW WHEN TO MENTALLY CLOCK OUT & ACTUALLY DO IT

Taking our work home doesn’t achieve a good work-life balance, but a lot of us are guilty of it. Stress doesn’t adhere to a schedule in the way that we do. Many of us find it difficult to delay it until we’re clocked back in the next day. It can be even harder though when you’re not physically driving away from work, when your phone is constantly logged into your emails and you’re seeing them pop up long after you decided you were finished for the day.

One of my problems is that my freelance income depends entirely on agreements made via email. For this reason, I very rarely log out of it. To my credit, I can quickly scan-read an email and 9/10 times will decide that it can wait until the morning. If you’re not someone who can leave an email unanswered (even outside of business hours) then to achieve a better work-life balance I’d strongly recommend physically logging off. Obviously, your ability to do so depends entirely on the nature of your career, but in my current lines of work, there aren’t many life or death situations.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE BENEFITS & HAVE SOME PERSPECTIVE

Working for yourself comes with so many benefits. As a full-time student, I didn’t see how lucky I was to be largely flexible or to control the hours I put in. Now, I realise how good I had it. When my work-life balance gets a little out of sync and I end up putting in more hours than usual, I’m grateful that I can counter it during a slower period. I’m thankful to have full control over my freelance workload.

One word I see thrown around in excess when it comes to work-life balance is guilt. Guilt for sneaking in the odd email or task on days off with a partner. Guilt for actually taking time off and not replying to emails quickly enough.

Although I’m not immune to guilt regarding either, I do encourage perspective. I enjoy working freelance (with the very rare exception) and so typically give projects 100%. Although, if I’m honest, my degree is more of a tick-box exercise, I know that the work I put in will be worth it eventually. These things are my decisions and my responsibilities so I put a lot of effort into them and deserve time off. I don’t feel guilty for prioritising life over work and at the end of the day, no-one should.

J5 Fashion Knit
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Achieving a good work-life balance is the dream. For both myself and others: My partner who takes work calls at home, friends who let work strains overflow into their personal lives, and you, whom I hope I’ve helped even slightly. I hope these tips are as effective for you as they are me. Please do let me know if you have any others in the comments!

*  This post is part of a paid collaboration with J5 Fashion. As always, all words, images, and opinions are my own. Please read my full disclaimer for more information. 

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35 Comments

  • Reply Sophie Naylor

    I needed this post more than anything right now! Super helpful. Such a cute pic of you too x

    September 5, 2019 at 6:41 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      I’m so so glad you found it helpful! x

      September 8, 2019 at 12:32 pm
  • Reply Alex

    Love this post! You have such good advice. I find it so hard to really balance work and play because they bleed into each other so much. I really want to apply work attire and “relaxation” attire into my day.

    September 7, 2019 at 2:02 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you, I’m so glad you think so. Its such a small change but makes such a big difference to my mindset x

      September 8, 2019 at 1:45 pm
  • Reply Nancy

    Being your own boss is great when you have everything ironed out. I agree that we are our own boss in some ways. We have decisions to make and based on them, that makes us a boss. It is so important to keep your environment good. That way, we are in a peace of mind to get things done. Knowing when to call it a day is important too. Thanks for sharing all of these ideas!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

    September 7, 2019 at 5:10 am
  • Reply Evie

    I am so guilty of trying to do work on the couch and I really am not productive! I’ve finally set up my own desk area properly and it has made such a difference to my productivity. That two-piece looks so comfy!

    September 7, 2019 at 12:45 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      It’s so great to hear that having your own desk has had a positive effect on your productivity! x

      September 8, 2019 at 1:55 pm
  • Reply Eena

    Ooooh love this, Soph! And I totally agree – keeping the environment fresh and dressing the part always does wonders!

    Eena ☼ cabin twenty-four

    September 8, 2019 at 5:16 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you! I’m so glad that you find this too x

      September 8, 2019 at 2:01 pm
  • Reply Chloe Dickenson

    These are all fab tips Soph! I tried to do almost all of these when I was working from home back in the UK but it’s a little trickier to do on the road now I’m travelling! I find that getting dressed definitely helps, as well as having a proper work space! Xx

    September 8, 2019 at 11:10 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you! I bet it’s a lot different now you’re travelling but totally worth it! x

      September 8, 2019 at 2:05 pm
  • Reply chloe

    I love the comment about how in some way, we are all our own boss! Love that outlook!
    Chloe X http://chloelxuise.com

    September 8, 2019 at 11:38 am
  • Reply Sophie Wentworth

    I have to admit that this is something I’m pretty bad at. I’ve always been a night owl and end up working a lot in the evenings because I tend to be more focused. Being able to work when you’re most productive/ motivated is great. The reality of scheduling, not so much. But the flexibility is nice if you want to plan something during the week or are ill and can do little bits here and there as you feel better rather than trying to structure around a 9-5. Great post! x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

    September 8, 2019 at 12:22 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      I think that’s one of the benefits of being your own boss- having the flexibility to work whenever suits you best! I like to mentally clock out around the time that J gets home so that we have some time together but I love being flexible- it’s just making sure you’re having down time too x

      September 8, 2019 at 2:21 pm
  • Reply Savannah

    I love these points and your outfit. When you work from home it’s hard to find the lines (especially with kids)

    September 8, 2019 at 12:58 pm
  • Reply Amie Cadwallader

    These are some great tips, I kind of need to do this slightly for my own job even though I don’t work for myself, I just can’t seem to switch off even when I’ve gone home, I just enjoy my job so much!

    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan

    September 8, 2019 at 3:38 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you! It’s great having work that doesn’t really feel like work but we all definitely need time to switch off from it! x

      September 9, 2019 at 7:11 pm
  • Reply Daisy

    This post is brilliant for me right now! I tend to feel guilt when I know I shouldn’t. I love the tips about varying where you do work because it’s so easy to get distracted!

    Daisy | TheDeeWhoLived

    September 8, 2019 at 4:06 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      I’m so glad it helped you! Thank you, I know a lot of people find that helpful x

      September 9, 2019 at 7:14 pm
  • Reply Martyna

    For me, well-balanced life is the key to happiness. Great post!
    Have a nice day,
    matiime.blogspot.com

    September 8, 2019 at 4:31 pm
  • Reply Lucy

    I find it hard to mentally switch off sometimes, my mind always seem to be on the go! You’re right, technically we are all our own boss, it’s up to us how we handle our day to day working life and having that flexibility is always good! x

    Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk

    September 8, 2019 at 8:23 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      I think a lot of us have the same issue! Absolutely! x

      September 10, 2019 at 11:13 am
  • Reply Kayleigh Zara

    These are some amazing tips, I think if I was my own boss I would struggle so much with staying inspired and on a schedule. The flexibility is something that would be lovely though. Thanks for sharing x

    Kayleigh Zara 🌟 http://www.kayleighzaraa.com

    September 8, 2019 at 8:58 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      It definitely can be hard to self-motivate, but equally it can be hard to switch off when you’re in the right mindset! x

      September 10, 2019 at 11:16 am
  • Reply Mai

    These are really useful tips! Even as someone with a 9-5, I’m still needing to remind myself to mentally clock out.

    Mai
    ✰ maidoesthings.com

    September 9, 2019 at 1:44 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      I think a lot of people tend to take work home with them, too much of it is definitely not great for other aspects of life though! x

      September 10, 2019 at 11:22 am
  • Reply Mercy

    That is a nice looking cabana, I don’t mind working in there. Looks like it’s a comfortable suit you’re wearing, pretty nice colour.

    http://www.busyandfab.com

    September 9, 2019 at 5:55 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      It’s a lovely place to work when it’s warm enough! Thank you, it’s so cosy x

      September 10, 2019 at 11:25 am
  • Reply Valerie

    This is such great advice! I definitely struggle with work life balance sometimes, so these tips are really helpful! Thanks for sharing!

    http://roadesque.com

    September 9, 2019 at 11:18 pm
  • Reply Bexa

    These are all great suggestions, Soph! Like you, I’ve also studied for my degree and done all my blogging from home. I 100% with dressing the part, I wear my normal clothes when I’m at the computer, but nothing beats that feeling of getting into cosy clothes at the end of the day knowing it’s time to relax and wind down. I love your jumper and those leggings look super comfy too – perfect for this time of year! Thanks for sharing your tips and hope your studies are going well! <3 xxx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    September 10, 2019 at 2:36 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      I’m so glad you think so and that you find dressing the part helpful too! Studies are going fine thank you, I hope everything is well with you! x

      September 15, 2019 at 9:15 pm
  • Reply Deborah Kos

    Work-life balance is something that will never be 100% achievable. We just do the best we can with deadlines, etc. Sometimes, you do have to choose between family and work and hopefully not every time. Being a freelance writer also gives us a little more freedom to sneak in some balance and relax time for us.

    https://debsdecorativelife.com

    September 10, 2019 at 6:32 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      I totally agree with this, a perfect balance is near impossible but it’s always handy to improve where possible! x

      September 15, 2019 at 9:19 pm
  • Reply Via Singh

    A perfect work life balance tips. You are absolutely right about being our own boss is responsibility that we want to fulfill efficiently and working from the comfort of our bed slows us down. I never thought about work clothes. Will keep in mind. 🙂

    Via | http://glossnglitters.com

    September 19, 2019 at 4:10 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      I’m so glad you think so! I hope you find it helpful- I know that my clothes have the power to put me in a completely different mindset! x

      September 20, 2019 at 7:51 pm

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