How Freelance Designers Can Achieve Work-Life Balance

Do you work to live or live to work? Freelance designers often start with the idea that their work will be flexible because they can set their own schedules. However, constant project demands can lead to burnout. We all know that when we can’t balance work and life, it affects us emotionally. Ironically, being a workaholic can actually hinder your ability to achieve your goals.

We often read articles or gather information online about achieving a balanced lifestyle. But do we really take action? Or do we just push ourselves harder to meet deadlines? Read on for some tips to help you find balance between work and life, so you can be an optimal functioning human being.

Make Time for Exercising!

Most freelancers lead a sedentary lifestyle. When you spend more than three-quarters of your waking hours sitting in front of your computer, it’s easy to become physically out of shape. We all know this can lead to health problems like cardiovascular diseases and obesity. Exercise improves your immune system, reducing your chances of falling sick!

Besides physical health, staying fit has been proven to improve mental health. Exercise can enhance your mood and cognitive functions like memory and concentration, which are crucial for work productivity.

woman exercisingwoman exercising

From now on, set aside some time each day to exercise. Even if you’re short on time, try to work out for at least twenty minutes. The great thing is that exercise doesn’t have to be a chore; you can choose physical activities you enjoy and even do them with a friend. Cycling, swimming, dancing, running—the list goes on. Regular exercise will definitely make your mind sharper and clearer.

Quality Time with Friends and Family

Everybody needs social support from friends and family, but the question is how much and whether you are getting it. Additionally, relationships are two-way, so you need to consider how much you are willing to dedicate yourself to your loved ones.

This is something you need to determine for yourself. If you have a family, it’s important to maintain good communication with them regularly, even daily. Being at home working on projects doesn’t mean you’re spending quality time with them. Your attention is often more on work than anything else.

spend time with friendsspend time with friends

If you are single, you probably have more flexibility in how you allocate your time for friends and family. Organize outings now and then and truly enjoy yourself when you’re there. Don’t take your work with you everywhere. When it’s time to relax and have fun, do just that. It’s a great way to recharge before diving back into work.

Nurturing relationships with loved ones may not seem as urgent as your work, so it’s tempting to prioritize work over them. However, if you set aside a bit of your working time, you’ll find that it’s well spent in the long run and truly worthwhile. Isn’t it wonderful to know we are not in this alone?

Go for Vacations

Taking a vacation is a perfect way to recharge from the drudgery of work. No matter how much you love your job, focusing on work day in and day out can drain anyone’s passion and energy.

For creative occupations like designers, it’s essential to open up your mind and perspectives to find inspiration. If you follow a rigid schedule every day and spend most of your time working at home, it’s hard to gather creative ideas. However, when you travel to a new environment, you experience a different culture and formulate new ways of thinking. You see the world in a different light and can even come to understand yourself better.

relaxing on vacationrelaxing on vacation

Additionally, planning a vacation for a few months ahead gives you something to look forward to. When you’re stressed by work, you can look at a picture of a Bahamas beach on your desk and imagine yourself there. You can convince yourself to work hard and endure the current stress because you’ll eventually get your well-deserved break!

One thing to note about vacations is that they should fulfill their purpose of recharging you. Make sure to go to places where you can truly relax and take your mind away from work. If city life is taxing, opt for a scenic countryside vacation. If taking care of your kids feels burdensome, consider not bringing them along. You can choose to go alone or with loved ones.

After all, it’s your trip, and you wouldn’t want to end up more stressed out afterward!

Engage in Hobbies, Learn Something

Just as traveling to different places can expand your mind, so can learning something new or indulging in hobbies. Working hard without giving yourself time to explore can make life too monotonous. It’s difficult to become more creative if you’re exposed to the same things every day.

To balance the time you spend working and the time you don’t, find something else you really want to do. The better you become at other activities besides work, the fuller your life becomes. You will see the world from different perspectives, not just through the lens of your job, but also from what you’re learning.

man doing potteryman doing pottery

One of the benefits of engaging in hobbies or learning something new is that it frees your mind from work. Having several activities to be involved in gives you more options to enjoy yourself. It’s like having a TV with multiple channels versus a TV with only one. You can always switch to another when you’re bored with what you’re watching.

There’s more to life than work. I’m sure you have a couple of hobbies or things you’ve wanted to learn but have been putting off. Well, make time for them!

Daily Reflection Time

Finally, you need to have time for yourself every day. No, I don’t mean spending time with your loved ones; I mean having time alone with your own thoughts.

We all need some time for ourselves, whether we are extroverts or introverts. It doesn’t have to be long; fifteen minutes a day is enough. This time allows you to be conscious of your goals, dreams, and life purpose. When you’re not aware of what you’re doing daily, weeks, months, and even years can slip by quietly. That’s fine if you know what you’re doing, but what if you don’t and miss out on what’s truly important to you?

woman thinkingwoman thinking

Another benefit of taking time to think and reflect is that it allows you to temporarily distance yourself from work and other stressors. You might have existing issues that you can’t seem to solve, no matter how much you ponder over them. Sometimes, the answers to these problems pop up when you’re not focusing on them. This is likely because you are less tense, allowing your subconscious mind to figure things out for you.

One thing to be cautious about is the tendency to use this time to worry about work. This should be an opportunity to put things in proper perspective, not to burden yourself further with problems. If you tend to indulge in counterproductive ruminations, use this period to clear your mind instead. Try learning some simple meditation techniques to lower your stress levels.


The reason we often neglect our personal lives is that there don’t seem to be any deadlines, unlike our projects and tasks. Yet, it is crucial to maintain our personal lives, just like we should maintain our computers to keep them functioning at their best.

I’m not asking you to devote half your time to work and the other half to your personal life; that depends on you. I’m only reminding you that we need to offer ourselves time to focus on things that are more important in life than just work.

The post How Freelance Designers Can Achieve Work-Life Balance appeared first on Hongkiat.

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