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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 December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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