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Work-life balance - 8 lessons I've learned

A few weeks ago my dear Twitter friend Magda Papas (@magdameta) wrote a brilliant post for the Freelance Writing Dreams blog. I loved it and thought that I have to mention it here. Really, being a freelancing parent is a lot harder than some people think. For example, my mother and some of my neighbours think that I can easily fit a whole lot of other things into my day. After all, I just stay at home, right? I remember one morning when I was planning my day and was frantically trying to figure out how to handle at least 6 or 7 things besides work with each of those things requiring quite a bit of time and effort. This is not the first time when that happened in my freelance life. So here are some of the lessons I learned so far.



1) First of all, defining your life priorities helps to achieve balance between life and work. My priorities are summarized in the title of my blog. And I keep working on myself in order to stick to them. Yes, at times I struggle to keep my family first before my work. I have to remind myself that I love freelancing, but I don't live to work. I work to live.
2) Secondly, I learned to prioritize my tasks (not just work, but also chores, other issues related to my business etc.) and figure out which of them really have to be done now. It usually happens that some can be done tomorrow with no real harm. But you need to remember that you can't postpone anything for too long. Prosrastinating hasn't helped anyone yet.
3) Thirdly, I remember that I can't be present everywhere at once. So I need to choose what requires my personal presence. And then I delegate other tasks to somebody else I trust (if possible).
4) Multi-tasking also helps in some cases. For example, I often bring my laptop to the kitchen when it's time to cook dinner. While the food is being cooked I can check social networks, do some marketing or work. Normally, during the week I prepare food in the oven or choose some dishes that don't require my full attention in the process. Sometimes, when I am too busy my husband takes this duty. Fortunately or unfortunately, I don't take as many urgent projects as I did at the beginning of my career, so my husband obviously doesn't cook as often as his wife would probably like :)
5) Hiring a babysitter or asking a friend or a neighbor occasionally to take your child for a walk or just watch your kid for a couple hours can be very helpful. Your child will have a good time, and you will have some extra time to finish a project, or to do something else, or just for a nap!
6) I take breaks from social networking. Sometimes, I take half a day or a full day off and just don't touch my computer. That is important for me in order to do some house chores that don't get done during the week. That helps me to spend quality time with my family, get some rest and thus gain new strength for more work and marketing. Magda wrote about that, too:
Consider letting go of your normal social networking activities for at least 25 minutes per day to take a nap instead or just rest in a quiet space. Your followers won’t mind. With a fresh and relaxed mind, you’ll think of innovative and more engaging things to tweet and share in updates on other social media platforms
7) If you have a blog, make sure it fits into the rest of your life, not rules over it. I have decided that I will publish new posts in my blog about once a week. I feel most comfortable with this schedule. That way, I regularly update my blog, I don't hurry to make new posts and I don't feel like I'm spending all my free time in the Internet. 
8) Remember that you don't have to be perfect. That was the hardest lesson for me. I always wanted to be a perfect daughter, then a perfect student, then a perfect wife, a perfect mother, a perfect translator... until I realized that I can't be perfect. I can do my best, but at some point striving for perfection means sacrificing your health, your loved ones, and your dreams. Please don't get me wrong, I do my very best with every single project I get, that's why my clients stay with me :) But a human being can't be perfect, it's just beyond our nature. So I decided that I'd rather stay an active learner and open myself to new lessons and opportunities :)


How do you find balance between freelancing and the rest of your life?

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