• Ana Gascon Ivey

Are you a freelance-aholic?

I'm flying back from Miami to Atlanta today after spending two weeks helping with my mom's care. She's 96 and lives in my brother's home. I fly down every couple of months to give him a break. It's one of the things I love about freelancing — the freedom to work from any where. More so, I love being with my mom. I don't know how long she'll be around and I relish every moment I spend with her.

What about you? Do you take advantage of your freelance schedule to spend time with loves ones? I know freelancers who work 24/7. I confess, when I first started out I did, too. If that's you, it's time to change your business model. Consider the following tips:

1. Raise your prices. You'll make more money in less time. Trust me — if you ask for more money, you'll get it. You and your ideal client will find each other, and you'll no longer work for people who pay less.

2. Get help. I hired a part-time assistant last year. Best decision ever. She takes care of admin tasks and helps me with some of my writing projects.

3. Stick to a daily work schedule. For me it's 9ish to 5ish. Take breaks throughout the day to recharge. Occasionally I put in a few hours over the weekend. That's it. If you're working 60 to 80 hours a week, something's out of whack.

4. Propose realistic deadlines. Don't overwhelm your schedule. If you can't meet a deadline without working your a** off, be honest with yourself and your client. Come up with a compromise that works for both of you.

5. Set goals. Create a to-do list each night. Hop to it the next day and call it quits when you're done.

6. Turn off tech. Raise your hand if you check your email one last time before you go to bed. 🙋🏻‍♀️ Let's work toward putting our computers to sleep and forgetting about emails until the next day. In fact, keep your phone in your purse or car the next time you go on a date or spend time with friends. Learn what it means to disconnect with tech and reconnect with people, if only for a few hours.

7. Do healthy stuff. I'm a health writer and can't help tossing in this tip. Sleep well (7-8 hours), get active (walk, cycle, yoga) and eat right (fruit, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins and good fats). Take care of your mental health, too, by praying, meditating or simply doing things that help you relax. You'll be more productive during work hours and feel rejuvenated during play time.

I love what I do for a living. I could do it all day, every day. But I don't. I'm afraid of burning out. Plus, I love chilling with family and friends. If you struggle with work/life balance, regroup. Don't be a slave to your gig. Enjoy the freedom of the freelance life.