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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

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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