It’s a dream for many, but somehow you’ve managed to go freelance or set up your own business. Hurrah!

But what all your friends and observers don’t see is how you often struggle to get some structure and enjoyment into your day. While they wish they could ditch the monotonous 9-5, you miss some aspects of it.

So what now? Do you throw in the towel and go back to the hard grind, under the thumb of an ungrateful boss or inflexible employer? No – here are some tips to rescue your working life before anyone notices.

1. Get your morning routine up and running

What? I hear you cry…what happened to rolling out of bed when you want, and lazing around until anyone comes back home?

You could do that but you must know that if you don’t put the work in you don’t make any money. That’s why it’s important to have a morning routine. If you can get yourself into a work habit for your mornings (like you did when you worked for someone else), you’ll set yourself to a fruitful working day.

Mine involves dropping the children to school four mornings a week and heading to a cafe to work solidly until 2pm. After that time, I get ready to do the school run again and the rest of the evening revolves around homework, 10,minutes of important email responding before downing tools for the evening.

Your morning routine helps you set a routine you can work with – guilt free. It will also help you know when it’s ok to stop working; you basically set a contract for yourself and stick to it, just like you would if you worked for an employer.

2. Give technology a break

This is one that many freelancers and the self-employed can often struggle with, especially if your bread and butter somehow involves technology.

But if you’re constantly monitoring social media, emails and other distractors, you won’t really be monitoring the work you need to do. It’s ok to set a specific time in the day for these. You can schedule them in like meetings, so you can focus on other parts of your work without feeling the urge to ‘check’ every minute.

3. Don’t be a Jill of all trades and a master of none

So you might not have enough in the kitty to pay someone else to do the work for you all the time, that’s ok. But could you afford to take on an intern, or pay someone to work on a project basis. This means you won’t have the overheads involved in recruiting a permanent member of staff (until your business can afford to). The other benefit is that you can focus on growing your business, without being distracted by other time-consuming activities…like the social media mentioned before.

4. Set boundaries

Being a freelancer or self employed can often give friends and family the (false) impression that you are available all day for the odd visit and constant phone calls. Let them know that you are actually working, and not just playing at it.

Avoid answering phone calls you know are going to waste your time…you already know who the culprits are.

5. Don’t feel like you need to let the whole world know your schedule

When you’re trying to avoid time wasters, the hardest part can be when you know that they know that you don’t have any meetings, or you’re working from home because when they knock at your door, or they ring you, you feel guilty for not answering.

If you didn’t share so much about what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis, they’d be non the wiser, so try giving as little information about your day to those who really don’t need to know as possible. That way, you don’t work your own back against a brick wall.

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