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How to find the right work-life balance as a self-employed person

You will work more, at least at the beginning of your self-employment, than if you were employed. That’s because there’s so much to do. But mainly because you can finally live your passion to the full. And let me tell you, the best kind of overtime is when you are fully immersed in your passion. You can say goodbye to deadlocked 40-hour weeks for now anyway. After all, we became self-employed so that we could work in a way that suits us, right? It will probably take some time, but at some point you will be able to enjoy the freedom you have now. A work-life balance as a self-employed person is not that easy.

And to make sure you don’t slip straight into burnout by then, here are a few tips for you. Let’s get into it.

Morning routine

If you’re anything like me, then it’s incredibly important to you that you can do your work well. And the best way to achieve this is to give your body some time in the morning and develop routines that nourish you. Instead of getting up and getting straight to work, you could set aside some time for a healthy morning routine.

Think about what your body might need in the morning so that you can get off to a good start. My morning routine consists of the following, for example: Yoga, meditation, reading affirmations, preparing a plate of fruit, skincare and a ginger shot. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to prepare for the day. Mine takes an hour. For you, it could be 15 minutes or even 2 hours. The important thing is to find out what you need in the morning.

For me, the perfect morning routine consists of these 5 areas:

  1. Something for the mind. If you’ve never meditated before, then you should definitely give it a try now. Meditation strengthens important cells in the brain in the long term, even for beginners, making you more resilient and relaxed. Utilise the power of mediation in the morning.
  2. Something for the body. To wake up your body, you can do some exercise. What do you like to do and what really wakes you up? Yoga, jumping rope, a walk, swimming, gym, dancing or just some stretching? Find a sport that you would like to do in the morning before work.
  3. Something for your health. For a healthy start, I make sure I have a plate of fruit and plenty of water ready at my desk. It’s also important for me to get some protein straight away in the morning, which is why I like to have a shake. I also prepare this before I start.
  4. Something for motivation. When you work from home, it’s easy to go straight from bed to your desk in your pyjamas. If you’re the type – great. I immediately feel a bit more motivated when I’ve got myself “home office friendly”. Once I’ve gone through my grooming routine in the bathroom and put on a suitable outfit, I’m more motivated to get going.
  5. Something for structure. Instead of just getting started, bring some structure to your day before you begin. Write down the three most important to-do’s and pay attention to your deadlines. Always have your goal in mind and try not to get distracted. Check out my productivity system ­čÖé

Sport and exercise

Even if you don’t like doing sport, I would like to encourage you to incorporate exercise into your everyday life. Sport allows you to burn off energy, take your mind off things, switch off, keep your body healthy and so much more. Basically, all the tips are important for everyone, not just the self-employed. However, I think it’s even more important for us self-employed people to look after ourselves. If we are absent for several weeks, this can have a major impact on our business.

Go outside, take daily walks, get some fresh air and use your body for what it’s there for. Namely to move. This is not only good for staying healthy, but also important for your brain. Go for a walk if you’re stuck with a problem. Exercise is the best way to come up with new ideas.

So there are so many benefits to integrating sport into your everyday life. And there are so many types. There’s sure to be the right one for you. Here are a few ideas on how you can integrate sport into your everyday life:

  • Yoga
  • Roller skating
  • Cycling
  • Youtube Workouts
  • Calisthenics
  • Fitness studio
  • Zumba classes
  • Dance classes
  • Jogging
  • Crossfit
  • swimming
  • Ballet
  • Gymnastics
  • Pilates
  • spinning
  • Jumping
  • tennis
  • Zumba
  • and much more.

Do you know what I really enjoy, for example? Always doing something new. I’m not a person who likes to do the same thing for a long time. That’s why I like to try out new sports. At the beginning, it can be super useful to try out different things before you decide on a sport.

Life Wheel

Do you know the Life Wheel? It is a circle with 10 sections, each representing an area of your life. These 10 sections determine whether and how happy we are with our lives. And by filling in the wheel, you can find out which points you can still improve in your life.

The 10 sections are:

  • Work
  • Family
  • Finances
  • health
  • Personality
  • Relationships
  • Family life
  • Social commitment
  • Social life
  • Leisure time

Now this is not about comparing yourself to others, but how happy you are personally with these individual sections. For example, do you see your friends once a month and do you have a strong connection that is good for you? Then you might be pretty happy with that, even though others like to see their friends every week. This is purely about how you feel. Do you feel like you’re contributing enough to society? If you go to donate blood every few months, you may have already fulfilled your personal quota.

Take a sheet of A4 paper and draw a large circle on it. Then divide this circle into 10 sections and write the topic above each one. Think about how happy you are with the individual areas and colour in the section as far as you think is right. Up to the edge means 100 % happy, half is 50 % and everything below is 0 %. Once you have completed all the sections, you can choose 1-2 topics to focus on in the coming months. Repeat the Life Wheel regularly to analyse your progress.

Private matters in the calendar

What’s in your calendar? Your meetings, meetings with friends, calls and the like. Am I right? Do you also find appointments with the title “Me Time”, “Date Night” or “Gym”? We tend not to prioritise our private appointments, which recharge our batteries. We don’t write them in our diary, but go to the gym when we have time. But why? Why don’t we prioritise our private lives in the same way as all other appointments?

There were times when my weekends were full. I had lots of appointments one after the other and that just stressed me out. Corona has shown me that I feel so good when I find time to relax at the weekend. And since then, I’ve made sure not to cram my diary full of appointments, but to actively schedule time for myself. For example, I often keep one day free at the weekend. To be able to do good work, I simply need a day off. I also block out time for myself, for example for the gym, in my diary and stick to it. If I receive a call in the evening, I also say: I only have a short time, I have a follow-up appointment straight away.

I would therefore like to encourage you to prioritise your private life and enter it in your calendar. Include sport, weekends and evenings off during the week, call-free times, productive times and anything else that helps you to maintain your work-life balance in your calendar.

Relaxation

Since I’ve been self-employed, I’ve learnt to do nothing and actively recharge my batteries. My favourite place during my free time is my sofa. I can lie there for hours, take a power nap and let my thoughts run free. And that feels good. Not being constantly preoccupied with something or doing something allows us to switch off. A balanced life means finding a good balance between action and relaxation.

  • How to find relaxation
  • Meditate
  • Do some light gardening
  • Paint or be creative without pressure
  • Take a nap
  • Do yoga
  • Slow walks
  • A cosy coffee in the sun
  • Just lie around and do nothing
  • Listen to something
  • Reading

Try to incorporate small moments of relaxation into your everyday life. This counteracts feeling “burnt out” and exhausted.

Another important point is your sleep. I often used to sleep no more than 7 hours, but now I sleep 8. I like to sleep more at the weekend. Find out how much sleep your body needs so that you are really fit. To sleep better, you can:

  • Don’t use electronic devices in the evening
  • Read for 30 minutes before going to sleep
  • Drink lavender tea
  • Only use candlelight or low light in the evening
  • Strength training in the early evening
  • Meditation to fall asleep

With these tips, you can achieve a better work-life balance and enjoy your self-employment even more. Because we are all completely absorbed in our job, but must not forget our private life and our health.

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