Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest post from fellow blogger and friend Christine at Wealth Way Online. Christine and I share a passion for the Four Hour Work Day and she has done some amazing work with building up her self-employed income. I really encourage you to go check out her blog and take a look at some of her income reports, they are very inspiring!
I have been self employed for almost two years now. I started a travel blog a few years ago and from that started freelance writing and selling advertising. I have expanded and now my work is at the level where I’m making a lot of money. If you’re curious as to how much money I make per month, solely from working online, you can check out my monthly income reports.
When I first started making money online I was traveling, in long term travel holiday mode. This probably wasn’t the most productive way to start working, as I didn’t have the enthusiasm for work and much preferred to be laying on the beach somewhere getting hourly massages. However, my rapidly declining bank balance was a great motivator and I started to expand my business quickly. I was making good money for the first time and eventually I got to the point where I was living and breathing work.
It was an addiction!
I would wake up in bed and roll over and check my emails. I would consider whether I could ‘afford’ the time off work to have dinner with friends, as I’d miss out on $xxx worth of working time if I did.
Yes, I was pulling in a lot of money and doing pretty well, but I don’t think I was content. My work life balance was out of whack and my life was just work.
It wasn’t sustainable, I was burned out and my productivity was suffering.
I knew it was time to do things a little differently. Here are the steps I have taken to maintain a good work life balance:
1) Avoid Checking Emails First Thing
I would check my emails in the middle of the night and as I was waking myself up in the morning I would glare at the email screen to see whether I’d landed any new deals overnight. Talk about obsessed! I try not to check my emails first thing in the morning as I would rather set the tone for my day than have the number of emails I received overnight influence how I feel. This is hard and there are days when I fault, but it’s something I am constantly working on.
2) Develop a Morning Self Development Routine
How does your morning look? Are you scurrying about trying to get everything ready before you fly out the door, or is it more relaxed and centered? I’ve never been much of a morning person so would usually leave everything to a mad rush and panic to get everything sorted. Working for myself was different, but I found that I had no direction in the morning. Now I have completely transformed my mornings with a morning routine that transforms my day:
1. I meditate: I always heard of people suggesting meditation and thought it was a bit wishy washy… but I have actually noticed real tangible differences in my stress levels since starting. I am calmer, can deal with more annoying things without getting annoyed and feel a lot more content. I only meditate for 5-10 minutes in the morning. Usually I sit on the couch, the floor, whatever. I am not too particular about it, I just close my eyes and focus on a word for the day.
2. Read my goals: I have a lot of goals related to business, personal, travel and family. Every morning I start my day by reading my goals and reflecting on them, how I’m progressing, updating them as things change and so on. It is really refreshing to start my day with my goals in mind.
3. Visualize my goals: I spend a minute or two thinking about how my dream life would look. I also try to imagine how I’ll feel achieving some of my goals and that sets a really good mode for the day.
4. Exercise: I do a little yoga each morning, depending on my mood. Some days it will only be 10 minutes, other days I might do a full yoga video. It’s a great way to get the blood pumping.
5. Reading: I spend a bit of time reading every day, mostly personal finance books or self help books. I think that it is such a luxury to have the time, energy and freedom to invest in my own learning.
Find a routine that works well for you and go with it!
3) Work Less
I think most of us spend more time ‘at work’ than we really need to. Often we’ll just be lost in space, starring at the screen thinking of what to write, or whether we should invoice this person or whatever else is rushing through our mind. Lately I have been making more of a conceded effort to disconnect from work when I’m not actually working and commit 100% to work when I am working. At the moment I probably work 3-5 hours a day, so the Four Hour Work Day really resonates with me. In the free time you’re not pretending to work or trying to work, go out and pursue your hobbies, exercise or catch up with friends or family.
One of the biggest keys to my success is outsourcing. At present I have two virtual assistants and three writers I employ on an “as-needed” basis. They help me with tasks that would take up too much of my time. I personally don’t see the sense in spending 10 hours of my time doing something I could pay someone else to do for $5 per hour. Outsourcing tasks will help free up your time, reduce your workload and leave you time to enjoy life.
5) Make Clearly Defined Non Work Hours
This might sound crazy, but I think it’s pretty important to outline periods where you wont be working. My partner and I both work online and our work is busiest during our evenings and nights, so quite often instead of hanging out together we’ll potter around on our laptops replying to emails and getting work done. We saw that this started to have an affect on our relationship, so we set out clear non work times and it’s been so refreshing for us both. It’s easy to get wrapped up in work when you’re self employed, but it can’t be your everything.
Implementing these key steps has made my life happier, healthier and my work is better than ever.
Do you have a good work life balance or do you think it needs a little work? Let me know in the comments!
BIO: Christine Berry is a personal finance blogger over at Wealth Way Online. She’s in her mid twenties and is committed to diversifying her income, becoming financially independent all while traveling the world and blogging about it. If you want to follow her journey, feel free to connect with her on Facebook.