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Is your design life and personal life balanced?

Face it, being a home-based graphic designer is challenging enough without having your design life interrupted by the personal life that surrounds you each and every day.

Not only do you have to deal with clients and deadlines but you also have to deal with family and friends who for some reason think that since you work from home, you must be available whenever they need you.

It’challengingng to say the least.

The problem is When you work from home, not only are you always at home, but you are also always at work. So keeping that work/life balance is not an easy task.

I go into greater detail about all of this in the podcast so be sure to listen. Here are the four tips I discuss to help you maintain some semblance of balance.

Set Boundaries between your personal and design life.

No matter what your family and friends may think, the fact of the matter is even though you are at home, you are still at work. You need to set boundaries for them, so they recognize the difference and ask them to respect your workday.

That means limiting phone calls, pop-in visits, social nudges, requests to go out, etc. Everything they do that can become a distraction from your work.

Divide your living space and workspace

I talked about having your own workspace in episode 88 A Designer’s Home Office Essentials, and I’m going to talk about it again today.

When you are working from home it’s imperative you have a workspace that is separate from your living space. Your dining room table isn’t good enough unless that the only thing it’s used for, and everyone in your household knows it.

Having a separate room with a door is even better. Choose a room or a section of a room specifically to use as your design studio and only use that space for your work.

This is especially important if you have children.

Having a dedicated workspace will accomplish two things:

  • Whenever you enter your workspace, you will know you are at work. You’ll instantly have that work mindset that allows you to focus on the projects at hand. And then, when you get up and leave your workspace you will know you are no longer at work.
  • Having a dedicated workspace will teach your family members to respect your space and your time.

If you’re sitting in the living room with your laptop on your lap, your family doesn’t know if you are working or simply checking out the latest gossip on social media. But if you go into your designated workspace there’s no question about what you're up to.

Even young kids can be taught not to disturb mommy or daddy when they are in their workspace.

Take Breaks

If you worked at an office or agency, you would be reminded to take regular breaks, and you would be given a designated time for lunch.

Don’t forgo these perks just because you’re working from home.

Sometimes, working in isolation can be a distraction in itself for the important things. I’m guilty of this as well. The fact of the matter is, It doesn’t matter how busy you are at work, it's important that you take breaks. Stop for lunch, stop for snacks, stop just to stretch. Get out of the house if you can. Take your dog for a walk. Stand on your front porch or balcony and breath in some outside air. Go out for a coffee if that’s your thing.

Taking breaks is good for you both physically and mentally. It get’s your blood flowing, and it clears your head which helps your creativity.

Enjoy family time outside your design life

Family time is very important. It doesn’t matter if you are still living with your parents, you bunk with a boyfriend or girlfriend or you’re married with kids. 

It’s important that you spend time with the people that are important in your life.

When you’re working from home, it’s very tempting to hunker down and spend as much time as you can on that big project you’re working on. It’s easy to ignore everything that is going on around you. The problem is, it’s not healthy to do so.

You need to leave your office space and live a life outside of your design life.

My working hours are from 9-5, just like if I was working for an agency or design studio. I suggest you do something similar and let your clients know these boundaries. If you have clients in different time zones or around the world, clearly define to them what hours you can be reached by phone or email.

Yes, there will be times that you'll need to burn the midnight oil, and being a home-based designer makes that very convenient, but it should be an exception, not a regular occurrence. Plus, there is no reason for your clients to know what time of day you are working on their projects.

There you have it, balancing your design life and your personal life.

Set boundaries with family and friends, define your workspace, learn to take breaks, and be sure to enjoy your personal life outside of your design life.

If you can remember these four things, you will be a much healthier and happier designer.

How do you balance your personal and design life?

Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Questions of the Week

I don't have a question of the week this week, but I would love to answer yours in a future episode. Submit your question by visiting the feedback page.

Tip of the week Two Factor Authentication

Two Factor Authentication is a simple way to add valuable security to a website. Two Factor Authentication adds one extra step to the WordPress login process making it that much harder for hackers to gain access to the website.

I use iThemes Security Pro for my Two Factor Authentication coupled with the Google Authenticator App (available on IOS and Android). Every time I log into one of my client's websites I'm asked to input a time-sensitive authentication code. I open the App on my iPhone, choose the appropriate client website and retrieve the six-digit code to complete my login. Each code has a lifespan of only 30 seconds so if it takes me too long to enter it on the login screen the login attempt fails and it asks me for another code.

The time sensitivity of the activation codes is what makes Two Factor Authentication so secure. Hackers only have 30 seconds to try and guess a 6-digit code before they have to start again. And that's only after they have successfully guessed the username and password for the site. Hence the added security.

If you have a WordPress website, or you manage your client's websites, I highly suggest you look into some manner of implementing Two Factor Authentication.

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Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business, please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

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