The elusive concept of some sort of work/life balance is something I think we are all working towards. It's something that has been on my mind even more since I have moved down to London, where I have been forced to find some sort of balance between the two in order to settle down in a new city.
I am someone who loves my work and can gladly work long hours for days on end without really feeling frustrated by it. I am guilty of this at times, not making enough time for other people around you because I am so in the zone and feeling like I don't have enough time to possibly sit back for a little bit. Of course we all feel like that at times, and the skill is in knowing when to push the rest of your to-do list onto the next day in order to swtich off a little bit, it's all about those priorities!
As I said, since moving to London I have been forced to prioritise 'life' just as much as 'work'. It's so social down here, and as I still adjust to living here and living on my own, I am making the most of spending time with people and socialising as much as possible. A switch in your mentality that places socialising as much of a priority as working really does help achieve that balance. It hasn't been about clocking off at a certain time each evening, or staying away from a computer before 9am each day, it's been more about saying yes to some last minute plans that take me away from my desk for an afternoon, because I know I can work through the evening to get things done instead.
I know that this flexibility is pretty specific to being self employed and that in an office you don't have the option to swan off at 2pm to go to the pub, even if you do promise to go back to your desk at 8pm that night. But my point is more about how I have found myself prioritising different things.
To some extent it comes to burning the candle at both ends, before learning out to manage it a little more. I have definitely been a little over tired, but I think I am slowly getting there with actually managing all this work, socialising and fitting in a good night's sleep too. And honestly it's all been down to a mindset I have forced myself into; one that says that seeing a friend is just as important as replying to emails sometimes. And actually the emails can wait a few hours, even a day sometimes, especially when taking time away from them actually resets your mind a little bit and gives you more motivation to get back to work afterwards.
Being freelance really is a luxury. While it has it's drawbacks, for me they are hugely outweighed by all the positives. And I am more determined than ever to make the most of it all for as long as I can. It does take a few late working nights and very early starts, but it's worth it to be sat in the pub on a Thursday evening thinking how amazing it is that I have the option to do that sometimes.
So here's to hoping we can all find ways to be a little less chained to our desks, it definitely takes trial and error to find that balance and to learn to switch off. So much seems to come down to being more and more efficient with prioritising, and also accepting that maybe you actually can't do it all, all of the time.