Recurring Theme: Work/Life Balance
HOW focused a number of sessions at the Boston conference on freelancing. They very successfully featured speakers and panelists who are making a living out on their own and addressing the balance between work and life. Of course, if you work in the advertising industry, you easily accept that the tug-of-war between having a job and having a life is a real strain on one’s resources (talent, energy, peace of mind, among other things). But these freelancers demonstrated that if you work out of your home, achieving that balance can be even more of a challenge. As they shared their experiences, three bits of advice emerged:
1. Have a designated place of business in your home — and have a DOOR on it. You might even go so far as to post “office hours” on that door. Close it when you’re not working. And close it when you are working. The difference being which side of the door you’re on while you’re working and which side of the door you’re on when you’re living.
2. Set expectations. not just for your clients, but also for your family/housemates, and perhaps most importantly, for yourself. It’s okay. If you set expectations, publish them, and act according to them, you’ll actually earn the respect of your client. Explain that your work is/will be better if you set boundaries. After all, freelancer’s client may even benefit from enhanced work/balance as well. They may even give you credit for helping them set their own boundaries/expectations.
3. Develop the discipline to follow thru on 1 and 2.
Why share this? The members of Boom Ideanet are either freelancers or full-time employees who are tackling additional work in their “free time.” (Which might be another word for “life” time vs “work time.”) The Boom model is built on providing work opportunities (rather than job opportunities). And we talk about providing you ways in which to apply your cognitive or creative surplus. It is our hope that you indeed do manage how and when you apply your talents (or surplus). One of our goals is to give you enough time to fit work into your balanced life, but not so much time as to invite procrastination. We encourage the members of The Ideanet to apply those recommendations. Creators always choose IF & WHEN they participate. And we readily accept “no” for an answer — as easily as a “yes.”
You can check out some highlights of the HOW Design Live week here.