No matter what your profession is, keeping a balance between your professional and personal life is very important. For employers work will always be more important than his employees. In order to succeed, yes, it is true that one needs to work really hard but then again maintaining a balance is way too important. Working all day long will only result into exhaustion. Also, not working at all will result into a job loss due to which you won’t have to maintain a balance. Out of both, I am sure you do not want to end up in any of the situations so ensuring that you try to keep a work life balance as a designer is very important.
Working as a freelance graphic designer has its own pros and cons. Some people might think that freelancers do nothing but relax at their homes. This is not the case at all. The problem with being a freelancer is that you do not have to report to anyone, which makes you think that you are responsible for the success or failure of your business.
Since you think the entire responsibility is on your shoulders, you end up working for 12 or more hours. In a case like this, you will end up neglecting your family and yourself and this can result into some serious personal and family issues. Even if you are working on your own, treat your job only as a job. You do not have to work 24/7. You have to take out time for yourself, your family, do something you love. In short you should take out time to re-lax.You can’t spend your entire life designing layouts for flyers and other marketing, rest is essential it will refresh your creative mind.
Following are a few suggestions that will help you keep a work-life balance as a designer.
Your Attitude Towards Job
At times, freelance designers become extreme workaholic. Since they know they have the responsibility, they work 24/7 to finish projects and to meet deadlines. Well, no matter how much you love to design brochures, flyers, post cards and business cards, you should treat it as a ‘job’ and not as the most important thing in your life. You need to realize that there should be a point when you need to turn off the workaholic freelancer and spend some time relaxing with friends and family.
Your attitude towards your job is the most important thing. Appreciating people who work really hard in order to achieve something is great but such an attitude can be really harmful in the long run. Remember a human being eventually needs a break from everything and this everything includes your work as well.
Maintain a Schedule
People who are not working as freelancer have an advantage of following a schedule. They know that they have to sit in office for a few calculated hours, perform their assigned tasks, leave for home and enjoy. As far as a life of freelance graphic designer is concerned, sometimes it can get really disorganized. As a freelance designer, you have to make a schedule and follow it. Make sure you have enough of free time in your hands. Keep your weekends free as you do not have to work on weekends. It is important to give your personal commitments as much importance as you give to your professional commitments.
Learn to say NO
Some people find it really hard to say “No”. The reason could be any but the minute you realize that you have no time for yourself or for your family, you should understand the fact that it’s because you are keeping yourself busier than you should. You have all the rights to refuse any work or even a social commitment if you feel like spending time all by yourself. Remember, in order to survive in this world. It is really important to be selfish.
In order to get organized, a lot of freelancers make a to-do list so they know which tasks need attention. However, sometimes ignoring a to-do list is a relief. Do not make any list for the weekends. You will a lot better if you are just going with the flow. Take things as they come and you will feel a lot better about life. Constant schedules, commitments and work priorities can be really stressful. Keep a weekend for yourself and unwind your thought and enjoy life.
Avoid Unnecessary Activities
In our everyday life, we are performing a lot of tasks and if we evaluate our day, we will realize that some tasks were not even worth the time. So, prioritizing, getting organized and avoiding unnecessary stuff activities is very important. Giving unnecessary favors to clients just because they’ll think you are undependable or you do not want to upset them is very wrong approach. Realize the fact that you cannot keep everyone happy and at times keeping yourself happy is the most important thing.
Revive Your Long Forgotten Hobbies
Don’t you think that after becoming part of this rat race, you have stopped doing what you actually loved? Almost every person who is working comes to a point where he no longer enjoy doing things he used to love doing once. The reason is that he does not have time for all that. If you are going through the same situation, you need to realize that work is not the only important thing. This, in no way means that you should start avoiding your work but try to keep a balance. Take out time for yourself over the weekends and enjoy doing what you used to love doing. For instance, you can do surfing, cooking, painting or anything that will relax you.
As a freelancer, I myself have been through such situations where I had no time for family. They had no idea what I was up to and vice versa. Do not indulge yourself so much into work activities that you do not have any time for family. You have to make an effort to tell your family that they will always be your priority. Discuss your new projects and achievements with them. Make them feel a part of your work life too. This way you can remove any sort of communication barriers.
Realize What You Really Want
The reason why most people are opting for freelance graphic designing is that they think it’s convenient. They do not have to report to anyone, they have flexible timing and the best thing is that they do not have to go to office. However, you need to realize that you became a freelancer because you thought it would be less stress. If you are working more then your capacity you are just stressing yourself more. Organize things in a way so that you can actually live a life that you thought you will have after becoming a freelancer.
Plan a Vacation
Going on a vacation will help you in unwinding and at times it becomes really important. If you were spending really less time with your family, plan a small vacation with them where no work is allowed. At times, work can wait but family should be the utmost priority. Most importantly, a vacation is something that you need in order to freshen up, come back and start working.
You really have to be honest yourself while carrying out your freelance design carrier. For some people there is nothing more important than achieving their goals. However, by the time they realize that there were other important things as well, it would be too late. Falling health, a creative block and lost of interest in work are the symptoms of work-life imbalance and require an immediate call-to-action.
Ask yourself if you are really happy as a freelance graphic designer or if you have ignored all the reason due to which you become a freelancer? This is your life, be honest and open to yourself. If you are not happy, you need to follow above mentioned points in order to keep a balance between your professional and personal life.