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5 Ways Mommy Soloprofessionals Can Strive for Work-Life Balance

5 Ways Mommy Soloprofessionals Can Strive for Work-Life Balance

There was a time – not too long ago actually – when finding clients was the big issue for me.

I was new and didn’t have a lot of paid work to fill my hours. I am sure you can relate to that.

While searching for solutions, I would inevitably come across other writers looking for solutions as well, but their problem was entirely different to mine. They were after ideas to manage their work load.

They were cribbing about falling to achieve the work life balance in their lives. They needed answers. I mean – seriously?

That’s a good position to be in to be fully overbooked and turning down low paid work, right? Apparently not. As it turns out, being fully booked out is a good problem to have; but it still has its disadvantages.

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance, for one. Especially, when you are a woman – with small children still in your care. The process of taking time out acquires a whole new meaning. Lo and behold, time becomes a luxury.

Here are a few ways you can deal with it.

Get over your FOMO

In case you haven’t heard, FOMO stands for the Fear of Missing Out. This means different things to different people.

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For me, I am addicted to information on the web – and I reckon most writers are. I am terrified at the thought of missing out on important news, events, information and the like. It’s hard for me not to check my email constantly (which by the way you should do as it will make you more productive).

It could be social media participation for you. Or just being socially active in the real life. Get over it already.

You can’t possibly know everything. Just by accepting that, you will make things easier for yourself.

Start saying no to whatever it is that you claim to not live without.

Books, TV, movies, Web, Social Media, Smart phone. Cut down – wayyyy down. You will free up precious time. And you won’t even know what you missed.

Start using your planner – religiously

Let me tell you a few things I am not especially proud of.

I have once forgotten to pick up my son from his day care centre.

Just a few months ago – as my son never lets me forget – on a Sunday afternoon, I took my 4-year-old to his best friend’s birthday party, all dolled up, proud as a peach holding his present that he chose so carefully. On the way we discover, the party was on SATURDAY.

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Ouch! (And I should clarify that I had pencilled that in my calendar, I just read it wrong.)

Yes, that happens and a whole lot more when you don’t write that all in. Like the other small stuff. Start with every small chore that needs to be done. Make time for doing the laundry, dishes, cooking meals. Do these things seem mundane to you, not important enough?

I know, who puts in things like this in the calendar? Daily chores and everyday stuff.

Well, you do. Unless you want to start forgetting things that are important. Things that matter.

Be as organized as possible. Be there for your work – and your family – when they need you the most. Schedule some time with significant other and your friends. Set time aside to spend with your kids. And don’t forget to give yourself a break to reward yourself and keep your engines running smoothly.

Break projects into manageable chunks

You might have a fairly big project in your lap that is causing major stress. The best thing is to break it down.

Seems like the logical answer, right? You’d be surprised how many people don’t do it.

Instead of trying to finish it as soon as you can. Aim to spread it out. Try to secure long enough deadlines that give you some wiggle room.

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When you have long projects going, you feel like you need to turn down work. This doesn’t have to be like that. Make sure your project doesn’t take up all your working time. Always work on more than one project. If you only have one big one, spend the rest of the time (no not catching up on your sleep, or pampering yourself) marketing yourself.

Remember the feast or famine cycle that we freelancers go through. You might be fully booked now, but this won’t last for ever. You still have to keep on marketing and promoting yourself. Keep getting the word out.

Delegate

Now, when you are in this enviable position, you can start looking into outsourcing some of the stuff.

If you have a steady supply of projects coming in – in other words you have got it made – think about hiring an assistant to take care of the administrative jobs. How about someone to make the calls or send the queries out for you? Someone looking after all the technical aspects of your business?

If you are a writer, than concentrate on creating content. If you are a graphic designer, invest all your energies designing. Hiring someone will mean you take a pay cut, but it will pay off in the long run.

On the home front, get as much help as you can. Ask your hubby, your best friend, your mom. And then return the favour when you can.

Embrace it all

For me, my success happened when I stopped fighting it.

Really.

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Stop. Fighting. It.

I accepted that I am a mom with small children. I only have 24 hours in the day and I can only do so much.

For me, working full-time hours is not an option. Instead, I concentrate on going after better paying clients and specializing in my niche to command higher rates.

At the end of the day, I am working 16 hours but only getting paid for 6. I am still making a pretty damn good income.

And all’s well.

Your turn: What’s your best tip for managing your freelance career when you are also a Mom to little kids?

Featured photo credit:  Woman walking on a rope over a cityscape via Shutterstock

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Marya Jan

Facebook Ad Strategist

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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