Working from home. It’s the dream, right? Never again will you have to wake up and drag yourself to the office. Since you’re around the house all the time, your family obligations will be a cinch to take care of. When you work remotely as a freelancer, it’s much easier to manage your work/life balance, right?
The unfortunate reality is that working from home is hard work, indeed. Sure, you don’t have to wake up and drag yourself to the office—but that convenience comes with a price. In our quest to be successful, sometimes we create the inverse scenario: the office never leaves us. As it turns out, your work/life balance may actually be more difficult to manage when your workplace and home are one and the same. It’s hard to keep up with things when you work all hours of the day and night, only sometimes finding time to eat and sleep.
If we’re not careful, our personal lives can suffer. In particular, excessive working hours can take a heavy toll on our interpersonal relationships. We must remember to keep room for friends in our lives and, if we’re in a romantic relationship, we have to avoid letting work kill it. Here are a few simple ways to ensure your work/life balance is properly calibrated for the betrothed.
Co-ordinate with your partner to create a compatible work schedule.
If your partner works nine to five, but you prefer to roll out of bed at noon and start working by one, your schedules will seriously conflict. If your partner works swing or graveyard shifts, adopting a nine to five work schedule may not be conducive, either.
Co-ordinate with your partner to create a compatible work schedule. Try to maximize your time together by adopting a schedule that has you both working around the same times of day. If possible, try to schedule your days off together. That way you both have the opportunity to get out and tear up the town, if you so desire.
“For some couples, incompatible work schedules can lead to other problems,” says Tony Dunne, a divorce lawyer in San Diego. “Some couples are fine with spending less time around each other, but for others, their relationship begins to suffer.”
But what if your partner doesn’t work outside the home?
Spend your break time with your partner.
We all need to take regular breaks to stay healthy (and sane!), so why not try taking them with your partner? Sit down for an episode or two of a TV show, cook a meal together, take a walk, or do whatever you like to do together.
Which brings us to our third tip…
Make time for meals.
It’s always tempting to grab a bag of beef jerky or whip up some ramen soup when we’re “in the zone,” after all, those precious calories keep us going. But instead of mindlessly snacking or making a meal for one, try breaking for lunch and dinner with your partner. If possible, go out to eat together on occasion. It’s nice to get out of the house and get away from work on your lunch hour, and you’ll be in good company if you bring your partner along.
Go to bed.
“Just one more minute” is a catchphrase for too many freelancers. Of course, it’s important to get our work finished on time, but try to manage your schedule so as to prevent incompatibility with your partner’s sleep cycle.
Remember that “one more minute” often turns into several more hours, and if you’re overworked your output will suffer. Besides, catching some Zs together is an important and intimate activity for many couples, and is often a hallmark of good relationships. Don’t leave your partner waiting for you too long.
So there you have it: a few simple tips for keeping your relationship intact. Of course, your circumstances may vary. Some freelancers have strict schedules mandated by their clients, forcing them to work a particular set of hours. But no matter your schedule, there’s always time for the people you love.