Work-Life Balance: Tips for Creative Entrepreneurs
Work-life balance may feel like a unicorn, but as elusive as it may seem, I’ve found that the key to making it possible is surprisingly simple.
Don’t get me wrong. I know that work-life balance comes at a premium even when you're working for yourself. Some folks believe when you’re your own boss, it’s easier to step away from work to live your life. But since I started working for myself in 2021, I've often fallen into the trap of feeling like I'm not doing enough if I'm not working at all times.
There is one thing, though, that really helps me optimize my time, hold myself accountable, and keep myself sane – having a routine.
Establishing a routine is critical for work-life balance. If I don’t have a routine, I’m going to think about all the things in the universe that I could possibly be doing and beat myself up for not doing all those things at once.
But thanks to my routine, I can give myself permission to call it a day because I know that the other tasks that I haven’t completed will be done another day (or even another week) and that’s okay.
Establishing a routine will allow you to organize your week around your business needs and set boundaries between your personal and professional life.
What is Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance means different things for different people, so get clear on what it means for you. Sure, on the surface it means figuring out how to do good work while also having a personal life, but there’s more to it than that.
If you have children, for example, work-life balance may mean being successful in your career but also showing up for your kids. If you’re a multi-passionate creative, it may mean having time to do the artistic things that pay the bills and the things that you do just for fun. For me, work-life balance means being an accomplished artist and prioritizing my mental health.
That’s why creating a routine was so crucial for me. My routine keeps me focused and calm.
My Weekly Routine
Here are my top tips for creating a routine that will promote work-life balance.
Set work hours. Obviously, your workday may have to shift for certain projects, but you need to set office hours and stick to them as much as possible. I try to work from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Have a theme for each workday. Batching similar activities is a great way to improve your focus and productivity. That’s why I have a theme for each weekday.
Mondays are for admin. That’s when I work on setting up systems, sending invoices, booking contractors, etc.
Tuesday is the day I focus on personal branding. I might work on revamping my Instagram content for other platforms.
On Wednesdays, I focus on client projects, networking and communications.
Thursday is for batch-producing social content such as the reels you can find on my Instagram account.
Friday is my production day (for myself or my clients). So, I dive head first into Adobe and just work!
Most likely, your weekly schedule will look different from mine. You may, for example, have a day set aside for meetings. And you may have another day that’s all about doing the brainstorming or networking needed to grow your brand or scale your business.
Just as you need to define work-life balance for yourself, you also need to find the routine that works best for you. If you know you’re most creative near the beginning of the week, then save admin tasks for Thursday or Friday.
Give yourself a break. You should try to implement the idea of batching throughout your day too. Instead of switching back and forth between tasks throughout your work hours, get laser-focused on a task for a set amount of time. And then take a break. We need frequent breaks to do our best work. According to the productivity app Desktime, the most productive people work for 52 minutes and then break for 17 minutes. If you think you need breaks even more frequently, try the Pomodoro technique. With this, you’ll do focused work for 25 minutes and then take a five-minute break. Repeat this three more times, then take a longer 30-minute break. Then start again.
Take time off – for real. You need to have real off days, days when you actually don’t do any work. I’ll be honest, this is a struggle for me. But I know it’s something I need to do. I try to make Saturday and Sunday true off days. If having two no-work days isn’t feasible for you right now, at least strive for one.
Make time for self-care daily. Don’t save self-care for your off days. Self-care Saturday or Sunday is great, but you need to take care of yourself all the other days of the week too. Be sure to do at least one thing each day to promote your overall wellness. This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Some simple self-care practices include journaling, going for a walk, guided meditation, and sticking to your skin-care routine.
What are ways you cultivate work-life balance?