When making the decision to leave my career, there’s no denying that part of the appeal of working for myself was the freedom, the flexibility and the choice in how I filled my days. It was one of those decisions where everybody around me was saying ‘are you sure you want to leave such a good job?’, ‘how will you replace your wage?’ but when I did leave and began working for myself, some of those same people were quick to say (and still say) ‘it must be so nice not to have to go to work’, ‘I wish I didn’t have to work’, ‘how can you afford not to work?’. The point here is do what is right for you and don’t be influenced by what others think or say. Only you know what is truly right for you.
As much as we have this in built Monday-Friday 9-5 working week ingrained in our minds, when you work for yourself you really do have the freedom to choose when, where and for who you work. That’s pretty amazing. However, I speak to so many freelancers and entrepreneurs who feel a sense of guilt when they’re not working when everybody else is and I can really relate to this; the feeling that you need to fill your days with work even if you don’t have any just to make yourself feel like you have a legitimate job.
This post was prompted by the recent incredible weather in the U.K, something I think I can safely say is quite rare! We usually have a few good days but to be able to plan something in advance and know that the weather is going to be sunny and actually hot is so rare! We’ve been regularly swimming in the sea without a wetsuit, paddle boarding, BBQs, sat outside at 10pm in a tshirt and have actually been too hot (yes I did say that!) in the U.K! It really has been amazing. This has inevitably led to the work or go outside and make the most of it question appearing quite frequently and through conversations with others who work for themselves, it seems like a regular question on all of our minds! So how can we maximise our free time to enjoy beautiful Cornwall whilst still meeting our business’s needs?
With this weather being quite rare there is that feeling of missing out on something that may not stick around for long and that’s why I think it’s important to absolutely make the most of it as far as possible whilst it’s here. Even if it does stick around, the reason you work for yourself, and embrace all of the difficulties in doing so, is to have the freedom to make your work work for you and to maximise your work life balance. If you wanted the 9-5 office job life with a safe monthly wage, pension etc etc you’d still be there, wouldn’t you? We all know deep down what we must do and what is less pressing. What we must do to pay the mortgage and maintain our professional reputation. You really shouldn’t be beating yourself up for taking an extended lunch to go for a walk on the beach or finishing a bit early … you make the rules! I always remember at my last job when it was a beautifully sunny day I’d look out of my office window and really wish I could be out there enjoying it, this is the feeling I remind myself of when I’m debating whether I should do something. Tip: try and think back to a time you felt frustrated that you couldn’t do something you wanted to because of your job and use this as your motivation to never feel trapped again and to remind yourself it is now up to you.
The best advice I can give is to figure out what your monthly outgoings are so hence what you need to cover and convert this into hours/projects for that month. This way you’ll know if you work just 2 hours one day, you just have a set amount of hours left to complete for that month. Don’t feel guilty about having unconventional working hours, if you want to take the day off and work in the evening that’s fine, it is entirely up to you. I think it takes time to train ourselves out of the conventional working day mindset and to ignore those who think we don’t work because we’re out for a walk in the middle of the day but once you’ve mastered it, the sense of freedom we all desired when we chose this path will be achieved!
Enjoy your Cornwall exploring! Let’s be honest, there’s no need to go abroad if the weather is like this here seeing as we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world! Just think how much you’ll be saving on a summer holiday!
Tell me: what are your tips and tricks for maximising your days?