Importance of Work-Life Balance: The Freelancer Edition

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

If you caught my recent article about finding your new normal as a freelancer, then you know that I had a bit of a rocky start when I first started working on my own. From all-nighters to days spent lounging around in the sun, my life during those first few months felt like a complete rollercoaster of really high highs and super low lows.  Setting a schedule for myself was a fundamental lesson to learn at this particular time in my life to create some structure around my days. However, over time, an even bigger lesson emerged: the importance of work-life balance.

While I was tempted to go from one extreme to the other, I quickly learned that working remotely as a freelancer has a certain amount of freedom built right in that shouldn’t be forced into the mold of a traditional 9-5 job. For me, this meant carving out time every day to practice yoga, spend time with my family and friends, and travel when I wanted to travel. After all, what is the point of being your own boss if you still need to be plastered to a desk for eight consecutive hours every day?

If you’ve come across this article, chances are you too are a freelancer and find yourself in the same predicament I was in only a few months ago. Wrapping up deadlines and proposals can be easy, and hustle can accompany life as a freelancer, but I’ve found that it is in times like this that it is all the more critical to slow down and remember why I wanted to live this lifestyle in the first place. That brings me to my first piece of advice about the importance of work-life balance...

Take Time for Yourself

Use the free time you get while while working remotely in your passions!

The importance of work-life balance is essential no matter what you do for a living, but I find that especially true of freelancers or people that work for themselves. The only thing that is standing between you and a set of paid bills every month is yourself, so it’s easy to pull late nights and skip time with friends to make a few extra bucks. 

With that being said, when did you take a little time for yourself last time? 

One of the best luxuries about working remotely is your freedom to do just that, and you should not give that up for a few extra dollars in the bank! Whether your biggest passions are traveling the world and meeting new people or curling up with a good book, it is critical that all freelancers or remote workers take time to do the things they love every day.

Make Time for Exploration

When you work remotely, practicaly every day is a vacation day! Use these days wisely to invest in your dreams!

When you work remotely as your own boss, you lose the perk of prescribed vacation days each year. However, what you gain is a potentially unlimited number of vacation days and time off! 

Don’t let your career as a freelancer get in the way of your dreams to explore this amazing world and all of the crazy places, people, food, music, art, and culture that makes it so beautiful. Over time, you will get used to telling clients about your upcoming trips and facilitating the importance of work-life balance on-the-go. You just need to practice it, like every other skill.

Prioritize Family and Friends

When working remotely, you don't have to worry about having to sacrifice your personal connections with loved ones. You have all the time in the world thankfully.

Far too often, people in traditional 9-5 desk jobs complain of having to choose between their work and families. Luckily for you, you won’t have to suffer through the same fate!

Read more: The Story of a Digital Nomad Couple

One of the most meaningful results from my time as a traveling freelance writer has been the freedom I’ve gained to spend time with my family. Whether it is a sudden family emergency or just a bout of homesickness, I absolutely love that I can drop whatever I’m doing to be with my family when they need me and continue with my work later in the day or week. No personal days, no muss or fuss. The importance of work-life balance perfectly translates in this aspect of life.

Learn to Let It Go from Time to Time

Learn to let go, and then you will be able to maximize your enjoyment of life and reduce stress drastically.

A lot of people ask me how I went from being such a stereotypical Type A lawyer to a laid back, yoga teacher and writer. My answer is pretty darn simple: I learned to let go.

Back when I first started freelancing, I found myself stressing about deadlines and securing enough clients to pay my way. Over time, I learned that no amount of anxiety or late nights scrolling through Upwork would ease my discomfort and, in many ways, actually prevented me from focusing on the work I did have.

After all, if I wanted to die a slow and stressful death at a young age, I would have stayed at a law firm with a six-figure salary and a 401K. 

Choosing to become my own boss and work as a freelance writer has given me so much perspective, and a large part of it has to do with letting go. So long as the work gets done well, there is no reason to stress or worry; so long as I have my laptop, I can work from anywhere at any time. And so long as I am a freelance writer, I have the power to create lasting importance of work-life balance in my life…and so can you.

Elizabeth Murray freelance content writer at
Traveling is about expanding your mindset and challenging every custom, tradition, and way of life you thought you knew.