Ways to Manage Your Work-Life Balance Better

In the fast-paced, digital world that we live in, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate work from leisure and create a satisfying work-life balance. Now that we’re constantly online, whether on our phones, tablets or laptops, we’re expected to be available on demand to our friends, families, and even to our bosses. So how can we create a distinction between our work and home lives, and make time to do the things we love? Although it might be challenging, especially if you have a very demanding job, it is possible to make small changes that will help you to manage your work-life balance better and be a more effective worker as well as a happier person.

Learn to Switch Off

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to balancing work with other aspects of your life is mentally switching off after work. If you’re still thinking about work when you’re spending time with friends and family, playing sports or practicing a hobby you enjoy, your brain will have the same stress response that it does when you are at work. It’s also likely that you won’t be focusing on the people or activities that you’re spending precious time on, so you won’t be enjoying yourself as much as you could be. Practicing being present in the moment, whatever it is that you’re doing, is a really important skill that can help you to be more focused and relaxed. A good way to start is to try a meditation app for just ten minutes each day, which will teach you how to take time to breath and concentrate. You can then apply this to your everyday life and learn to focus your mind on the present moment instead of thinking about work.

Go Offline

One of the main stress factors in today’s typical working environment is the constant presence of technology. Our smartphones are always with us, and reflect our status as always being available to the demands of others. Switching your phone off when you’re with friends or doing a specific activity might sound drastic, but it will certainly help you to enjoy your time more and prevent you from being distracted by email alerts and texts. Another option is to stop work emails from going to your smartphone, choosing instead to read and answer them only during work hours. This will help you to stay present and avoid blurring the lines between your work life and your home life.

Let Go of Perfectionism

Many high achievers grow up as perfectionists and expect things to be as easy when they become adults as they were when they were children. The reality, unfortunately, is that having a household to look after, a social calendar to organise and a family to spend time with make it almost impossible to do everything perfectly. While there are advantages to perfectionism, it has also been shown to be linked to high levels of anxiety, which can only cause problems when it comes to creating a satisfying work-life balance.

Prioritise Your Life

Many of us spend most of our days in a state of stress, trying to complete an impossibly long list of tasks that we know we don’t have time to finish. Rather than attempting to do everything and then feeling like a failure when you can’t, or staying late at work to try and get more done, you could prioritise the things that you really do need to get done. Be realistic and think about whether you can delegate tasks to other people or postpone some until tomorrow. It’s okay to ask for help; you’re only human after all.

 

Another important thing to think about in relation to prioritising is what parts of your life are the most important to you. Everyone has different priorities, so take some time to think about what yours really are. If you realise that work isn’t as important to you as a hobby you’re passionate about or spending time with your family, then consider changing the structure of your time. Working less hours might mean you have less money, but it will also mean that you have more time to spend on the things you really enjoy.

Consider a Role Change

If you don’t want to completely change your career but are finding your current job too demanding, you could consider changing to a slightly different role in the same industry. Even extremely busy sectors such as healthcare have some roles with flexible working hours. If you currently work full time as a nurse or other healthcare professional, consider looking for something more flexible such as careers that fit around family life. The same applies to teachers, lawyers and other time-heavy professional roles. If working long hours doesn’t make you happy, consider changing something rather than sticking it out and spending time doing something you don’t enjoy.

Collaboration

How to Successfully Launch Your Home-Based Business

Some of the most successful businesses were started in living rooms, home offices and even garages. So when launching a home-based business the opportunities are endless. One of the most difficult parts of that process, however, can be just getting the business off the ground. So if you are struggling to know how to go about launching your home-based business then read on for our simple tips on how to do just that.

Focus on Your Passions & Talents

There aren’t enough people that really enjoy their work and that is one of the best things about working for yourself from home. You should be doing something that you love. So the best place to start planning is to look into your passions and talents and consider which could have legs to grow into a lucrative business venture. You can look back into the work that you were doing before you became a parent or you could consider something that you’ve always wanted to get into but never previously had the opportunity. Finding something that you are not only passionate about but that you are also knowledgeable about is the winning combination here when planning.

In-depth Planning

Once you have brainstormed all your creative business ideas you will then want to start planning how you will create a business around it. You will need to research the demand in your local market, or further afield if you will be an online based service or e commerce retailer. Perhaps you may benefit from some training on your chosen field which is never a bad idea to make sure your knowledge is fresh and uptodate. You may also benefit from looking into direct loan lending to get you through the first few months of getting yourself set up. There is also a wealth of information online to help guide you through many different areas of setting up a business, so setting up your plan shouldn’t take up too time.

Look into Your Profit Projections

You may have a fantastic idea, but if it is not going to make any money, that is not a business, it is a hobby. Therefore you are going to need to find something that merges your talents, skills and passion with something that people are going to be willing to pay for. So before you go head first into anything you need to ask yourself the following two questions; ‘How much are people going to be willing to pay me for my services or products?’ and also ‘will I be able to make a sufficient income from that?’.

Asking yourself these questions will be able to have you looking into the profit you should be able to make once your business takes off and therefore whether your business is financially viable. So work through the details with a fine tooth comb until you can decide whether this is something that you are ready to give a go, or whether you need to spend just a little more time brainstorming for that perfect idea.  

Collaboration

Why I’m Not Taking Maternity Leave

This is a sponsored post

I’ve had a few people ask me recently why I am working when I have got a 7 week old baby – did I not know that I could claim maternity allowance as I’m self employed? The actual fact is yes, I knew and it is something I weighed up for weeks but ultimately maternity allowance at £139 just wouldn’t be enough. A blogger recently contacted me and asked if I knew about it and completely understood when I mentioned why I wasn’t taking it – however I have received some judgement from some people I know in real life. However, it is my situation and my decision – what has it got to do with them?

As I’m working from home (there’s a fab guide here that you can read if its something you’ve ever considered), I have the flexibility of working when I want to. I do try to keep to typical ‘office’ hours but that doesn’t always work that way and I am often seen working weekends or late into the night. I worked out that with my bills and my debt repayments (I’ve talked more about my plan for a debt free 2018 here), £139 per week which equals £556 a month just wouldn’t be enough if I was to factor in any top up groceries we may need or anything that may crop up at Jack’s school. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to spend all the time in the world with my baby but I’m taking the time when she’s asleep or spending time with Steve to actually get some work done. I find it is better to be proactive and keep bringing an income in than not be able to pay my bills.

Another big reason I haven’t taken maternity leave is because I have actually taken on some freelance clients towards the end of 2016 and they wanted work to continue into 2017. They are my biggest client and I don’t want to lose them so I will continue working for them around my children. I’ve also had a really great January and February for income – I’ve even managed to pay off some debt – so if I had taken maternity leave, I wouldn’t have made that money and I would have probably lost a big client.

I’m lucky that I’m able to work from home around my children, I don’t deny that. But I’m not taking maternity leave this time around because it just isn’t worth it for me – and I’m well on my way to becoming debt free so why stop now? Whilst Olivia is asleep, I am going to work and keep the pennies rolling in. Is that so wrong?

Up Your Wealth Wednesday | How To Use PeoplePerHour To Its Full Potential

PeoplePerHour

When I first started out on my freelance journey a couple of years ago, I was told about a site called PeoplePerHour – a website where people could list either the jobs they needed doing where people could send proposals for the job or they could list the jobs that they could do for people (called Hourlies) and be hired that way. Having spoken to a few people recently about PeoplePerHour, it seems they are confused about how to apply for jobs and how to create hourlies for people to purchase. I am hoping this guide helps. If you want to sign up to the site and try your hand at some odd freelance jobs, you can sign up here.

PeoplePerHour

I have always had a steady stream of work since signing up a couple of years ago and was recently asked how to use PeoplePerHour to its full potential. Firstly,  you need to sign up and complete your profile 100% with your qualities and achievements – plus add some items to your portfolio if you can. If you can get some endorsements, even better! Once this is done and you are happy with it, you can start searching for jobs or posting Hourlies for people to buy.

PeoplePerHour

This is a screenshot of my home page. Ignore the Cert4 notice – this was just telling me how close I was to achieving it when I took the screenshot and I am now Cert5 – your cert levels increase with each job you complete. The dashboard is fairly simple to understand with options to either buy or sell jobs at the top plus sections for notifications, messages and your profile. All pending jobs and previous job activity are shown in the middle – as you can see, I was currently in the middle of two jobs when I screenshot my dashboard.

PeoplePerHour

Once you click on the Sell Services section, you have a few different options to choose from. Promoting yourself can be done in a variety of ways – via email, social networks or via a widget embedded on your blog. People can endorse you in the topics you are skilled in and you can do the same for them. Let’s just click on ‘Post an Hourlie‘ for now.

PeoplePerHour

Posting an Hourlie couldn’t be any easier – just write what it is you are willing to do and how much you charge; how long the job will take you and if possible, upload some of your relevant portfolio to really pull people in – if they can see your work and they like it, you have more chance of getting the job.

PeoplePerHour

If you want to search the job listings themselves to see if anything takes your fancy, simply click on the Jobs option in the Sell Jobs drop down menu. You can view all the different jobs available or whittle them down by category. I generally whittle them down to the writing category to save myself going through a lot of jobs that I am not qualified for or do not take my interest – I may also check out the social media and extraordinary categories sometimes. I do take a look at all the listing occasionally as you never know what you may find– I have had a few quick jobs from there before which I could possibly have missed and one has become a long term client off the back of it.

What if you’ve found a job you would like to apply for? Then you need to send a proposal.

PeoplePerHour

At the bottom of each job, there is the option to send a new proposal. Remember you only have a select amount of proposals per month unless you want to purchase more so choose wisely. Write about what you can offer the buyer – really sell yourself and your relevant skills. If it is a job to write blog posts and you have written a blog for a couple of years, include that with the link and your specialities. If you ran social media for a couple of months at university, write that down. If you don’t list all the skills and experience you have, how will the seller ever know?

You can also set your rate for the job. PeoplePerHour always make sure to keep a deposit in your Escrow – they generally work out a ballpark figure from whatever figure you propose but I usually choose to ask for a deposit of the whole amount to know that both I and the buyer are covered by PPH. You do get a lot of awful jobs on there where people expect you to essentially work for nothing – I tend to avoid these but there is no harm in applying with your normal rate. I have done on a few jobs now and been successful as they thought me the best person for the job.

There is also the clarification board where potential sellers can ask questions of the buyers. Buyers can sometimes be vague in their listings so if you are unsure about something, ask them! I’ve asked on low budget jobs if there is any flexibility and a few come back and are flexible enough to afford your rate. Once all queries have been resolved, send over your proposal! You can view my profile here

If this post goes down well I am considering writing another, talking you through what to do once you have been accepted for a job. Do you have any questions about PeoplePerHour that I can help you with?