How to create work-life balance as an independent creator
Most independent creators are spinning many plates. Here are a few tips to help you keep them going, so it doesn't just feel like your life is only work.
Whether you’re running your publication full-time, or your publication is more of a side project you manage to fit in around a full-time job, or something else in between, you likely have a lot going on.
Work-life balance can seem like a far-flung dream when you’re run off your feet. But it doesn’t have to be. With a little focus and care, achieving a sense of balance in your life can help to keep you motivated long-term, as well as enabling you to have the energy to get the job done.
The five topics we will cover in this article are:
1. Setting goals
2. Scheduling your time as an independent creator
4. Prepare to adapt
5. Memberships can help your work-life balance
Setting goals as an independent creator
Be ambitious, and then realistic
It’s really hard to know how you’re doing if you don’t have any way of measuring your progress. Setting goals allows you to get all that ambition down on paper and then be realistic to make sure you can work with the time and resources you have available.
Perhaps this year you would like to increase your output from monthly podcasts to weekly podcasts? Or maybe your goals are more around promotion: remembering to mention your membership program on social media at least once a week, or sending out more regular newsletters to your community.
Whatever your goals are, write them down and then make sure they’re doable. Then set a time to review: is this a goal that stretches across the whole year, or would it be helpful to check your progress in three months’ time? Put the date in your diary and then, when the time comes, sit down and check in with yourself and your team.
Celebrate your successes
Make sure to celebrate the wins — even if you’re a publisher working alone, don’t forget to treat yourself. And also take some time to reflect on areas of improvement. Both of these actions will help keep you motivated and give you an idea of where to focus your efforts in the future.
Scheduling your time as an independent creator
It’s important to ensure that your ambitions for your publication fit in with the other areas of your life.
Some creators are able to work full-time on their blog or podcast, while others work part-time or even fit their publishing duties in around other full-time jobs. How much time you have to spend will directly affect what is possible for your project. But having a small amount of time doesn’t have to be a downside: constraints often lead us to be more creative. Not every publication needs to be an empire, and many audiences love independent publications for their homegrown feel.
But if you are working with a lack of time, you need to be strategic about when to do which jobs. You might be tempted to pull some late nights, but remember to pace yourself. Running a publication takes responsibility and, if you’re the only one running it, you can’t afford to burn out due to poorly managed energy levels.
If you work full-time and run your blog on the side, then setting aside an hour to write before work each day might be a healthier way to make sure you get your work done.
Working with an abundance of time
And if you’re someone who has plenty of time to dedicate to your publication, that’s great news! But it can also be overwhelming to have so much time on your hands. Scheduling regular time for specific tasks can help to keep you on track — especially if one of those sessions is reserved for brainstorming or new ideas, to keep the creative part of your mind happy and energised.
Schedule dedicated time off
When it comes to achieving work-life balance, don’t forget to schedule time off — because rest doesn’t happen by accident.
You might decide that your weekends will be work-free, or just Sundays if that’s more manageable. And schedule proper holiday time, too, to ensure you have some opportunities to completely switch off. It can be easy to think that if we’re in charge of something, we need to be available for it 24/7. But new ideas tend to thrive when we’re in relaxation mode. And we no doubt arrive back to the desk feeling properly refreshed and ready to give 100% again.
Accountability for independent creators
If you’re an independent creator in the sense that you work by yourself, it can get a little lonely sometimes.
Setting goals helps you to check-in on your progress, but you might find it useful to have people to check in with, too.
Find a buddy
Find another independent creator or someone at a similar place in their careers to swap notes with. Perhaps you want to create your own version of “Friday night drinks” to have someone to bounce ideas off. Talking to someone who understands can help you keep perspective on what is possible, what is realistic and what you have to be proud of.
Prepare to adapt
It’s unlikely that everything will always go to plan with your publication — such is life. So being prepared to adapt to changes in your financial circumstances, community, family demands, or other areas of your life, will ensure your long-term success and that you can make it on your terms.
After all, most dedicated community members understand that their favourite publications are run by humans with their own lives — if you keep things transparent and offer a little personal insight, they’re likely to support you all the way.
Memberships can give independent creators a work-life balance
This article was written by Steady – home of independent creators who make money with memberships. That's right, people who are paid regularly for their creative work and so don't need to spin so many money-making plates, because their passion sustains them financially.
Are you interested in trying memberships yourself?