30 Dec Can’t you separate your work from your personal life? Keys to not living by working
Being self-employed is a 24/7 job and more in these times when we are hyper connected. Mobile, tablet, laptop and even smartwatch in case we go to the gym and have to answer some urgent emails. Not even in spinning class is a freelancer at ease. One look at the instructor and the other at the mobile phone, which after many tests we have managed to attach to the handlebars. And if we talk about holidays, blessed patience of the family! A common picture is waiting for the paella in the bar and see the poor freelancer answering a call while the rest look at him badly out of the corner of their eye.
How many times do we say “I’ll turn it off” or “It’s the last one and I’m hanging up”? Many, no doubt, for that reason… Freelance ladies and gentlemen, the time has come to switch off! And not only for the happiness of our family but for our own health. Overwork and lack of disconnection is a level of stress that can take its toll in the short term. On a physical level we talk about gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, dermatological, muscular and even immune system disorders. On a psychological level, stress causes inability to make decisions, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, bad moods… which has a direct impact on productivity. Something that the self-employed cannot afford.
We must know how to differentiate between personal and professional life, each one must have its own defined space, but if after many attempts we have not succeeded we will see some keys to not living working.
Article 88 of the LOPD recognizes digital disconnection as a right. Companies must respect workers’ rest time in order to prevent stress and encourage the reconciliation of work and family life. A right that should be extended to the self-employed who do not hesitate to answer calls on weekends or holidays. As professionals, we must set rules and comply with them, the first of which involves digital switch-off outside working hours. To do this, it is advisable to have two telephone lines, one personal and one for work, and not to give out personal numbers to clients. In this way, we will avoid calls at untimely hours.
Freelancers often mislead customers by answering their emails and responding to their problems at any time of day. Establishing working hours for calls and queries will enable us to offer a more professional service and that will allow us to have a better quality of life with the family.
Separate the spaces
Many self-employed professionals work from home, so it is important to have your own space to work. Allocating one of the rooms to install an office will make us see that place as a work area and will encourage us to keep a normal working day. If, on the other hand, we get used to working in the living room, the noise from the television, conversations, children, etc. will distract us and make the work less crowded and longer.
Sometimes time is wasted on activities that have nothing to do with work. Social networks, Whatsapp messages, chats with friends…, are a clear example of this. Eliminating these distractions will help us to be more efficient so that we can finish the work in the shortest time possible.
Encouraging family and social life
We’ve heard it a hundred times, do you work to live or live to work? What’s the point of working so hard if you don’t enjoy it afterwards? These are concepts that we only keep in mind when we get a scare. I’m sure we all know a story similar to that of that friend who worked from dawn to dusk and who one day had an accident and since then has taken life differently. More family, more friends and work in its right measure. We don’t have to wait for a misfortune to happen to change the order of our priorities.
Let’s finish with a fact. According to a study by the consulting firm Ipsos, more than 40% of Spaniards are dissatisfied with their work-life balance. The question is what percentage we want to belong to, whether it is the 40% who are dissatisfied or the 60% who enjoy both aspects of their life. It is in our hands to remedy this situation and the solution lies in establishing working hours and respecting them.