happy little biz

The Balancing Act

Happy (day after) Canada Day! And Happy (soon-to-be) Independence Day for my American friends and colleagues!

I took yesterday off because of the holiday, so my post is a bit late. But that actually relates quite well to the topic of this post.

So here's a question for all of you this week:

How do you manage your work/life balance? How do you make that work in terms of your income?

Certainly a hot topic among freelancers and entrepreneurs of all stripes. We all want to make our businesses work and yet of course we also want to have time for the other things in life: friends, family and fun.

I've been self-employed for most of my adult life and and I have to say that work/life balancing act has become more difficult now that my office is in my home. As a massage therapist I worked out of various offices so while my work would follow me home (paperwork, emails, marketing, and so on) it wasn't quite as blended into my home life as it is now.

I think for a lot of us creative, self-employed, entrepreneur types, we really like what we do so we tend to work a lot. We're always generating new ideas and thinking of ways to improve our businesses. And of course there's always client work and administrative work awaiting us! But the thing is, we all need our down time.

I'll be the first to admit I haven't quite come up with the 'perfect' solution for this yet.

I know freelancers who take a good chunk of time off every year. Summer and the holidays in December are the more popular times to do that. By 'good chunk' I mean a month or two at a time, not two or three weeks. To anyone who works a regular 'employed' job, that might sound like heaven. Most people can only take a few weeks off for the entire year, let alone all in one go. So of course the natural reaction is to say something like, "Oh you're so lucky you can take that much time off!"

That might indeed be true! But the thing that people are usually missing is that in order to do that, these freelancers have really simplified their lives so their cost-of-living is lower. Haircuts might be a luxury or DIY affair. Food is simple and cooked at home. Birthdays involve spending time instead of money. New clothing isn't really on their radar.

When asked about this, if they feel like they are missing out, most of them will say they feel their lives are full. That they'd rather have a really full life than a really full work schedule. That the extra money they'd bring in from working more wouldn't be worth it.

I'm totally on board with this way of thinking and am simplifying my own life to make that work.

So how about you guys? How do you balance work and life? What does success mean to you? Do you feel you can have a good career and a full life?