Searching for work-life balance is like hunting for unicorns. Create a beautiful symphony instead.
When you run a freelance business, the line between work and private life is often blurred.
And there’s probably nothing wrong with that. Until it is.
Whether you want to spend more time with your friends, give undivided attention to your newborn, fully focus on your workout, or concentrate on your business only—there are many situations when clear borders between the private and business spheres may come in handy.
How to draw these borders?
Will the elusive work-life balance help?
The intertwining worlds
Your business and private spheres are interdependent on many levels. For example, your work can give you a sense of worth and fulfilment that influences the way you interact with your family or friends.
On the other hand, everything you do that is not directly related to your work impacts your physical and mental capability when you’re in your business mode.
If you’re a parent and business owner, maybe you’ve noticed that every day spent with your children is a learning experience. And it can be very useful in your business. Children will force you to listen better, improve your negation skills, be more spontaneous and less fearful.
By the same token, the skills you developed to run your business can be easily implemented in other areas. Think about competences such as good time management, forecasting, risk management or effective communication. They’re all very handy when you have to deal with a pesky neighbor or an irritated toddler.
Stop chasing unicorns
When you look at how your private and business worlds interweave you can finally give up and stop searching for the illusory work-life balance.
It’s like hunting for unicorns.
What you really need is a rewarding symphony.
Sometimes you’ll spend more time and energy on work, sometimes your focus will shift towards your family. And that’s perfectly fine, as long as you give enough attention to the area that requires it the most in the given moment. This is the ultimate path towards your harmony. A delightful symphony.
It will probably never let you achieve a 50-50 split. “Work” and “life” aren’t placed on the opposite side of a scale. You don’t have to take your “work” out of your “life” to be balanced or live happily. These two spheres coexist next to each other on every single step. Reaching the right harmony doesn’t imply splitting your day into equal halves, one for “work, and one for “life”.
Create your unique symphony
The first step to a calmer coexistence between your business and private life is to get used to transitions. There will be periods when you need to move your focus to your private matters and moments when you need to give more attention to your business.
Once you remember this, you can immerse yourself in the present moment by simply being mindful and concentrated on the activity at hand.
When the feeling of guilt strikes and your mind drifts to your family during your work time or to your work during your family time, acknowledge this and redirect your thoughts. Instead of focusing on the reasons why you should stop working or having fun and run into another direction, respond to yourself with kindness. Overwrite your guilt with thoughts such as, “I am a better mother/wife/daughter/friend because I do the work I love,” or “By playing with my children, I become more creative and have more for resources to create marketing campaigns/design websites/write articles.”
Play it with pleasure
To make sure your work-family symphony is conducted skillfully, don’t forget about physical activity and sufficient rest. Staying physically active will enhance your memory and learning capability, which is crucial both for your work and family. Jogging, yoga, swimming, or simple stretching exercises will also improve your mood and increase your motivation—which are critical when you need to constantly switch between your business and private sphere.
In this way, you’ll be able to keep learning and smuggling the best components of one world into the other.
And that’s your unicorn.
That’s your harmony between business and things that don’t seem to be related to business.
A complete balance might be unattainable, but you can learn to shift your focus between different spheres while being in the moment, inspired, and ready to realign when needed.
Over to you
What is your strategy to combine the business and private sphere?
P.S. I share more tips on establishing the right approach to your business in my free e-book “How to make the best use of your time”.
And if you’re looking for advice on how to juggle your work with parenthood, have a look at my book “You’ve got this: How to continue your freelance career when you become a mother”.