Contracting Life

Getting more family time as a contractor or freelancer

Between the World Cup, the constant stream of headlines about cabinet reshuffles, and the incredible rescue of the trapped boys…

Author Photo by Kingsbridge

Between the World Cup, the constant stream of headlines about cabinet reshuffles, and the incredible rescue of the trapped boys in Thailand in July, you’d have been forgiven if you’d forgotten that the school summer holidays were right around the corner.

Now that those six weeks of no school are here many of us are reminded that we’d really like to be able to spend more time with our kids while they’re off (we also know that this is not true for all of us, all of the time and that’s fine too).

If you have a conventional nine-to-five job, this isn’t always the easiest thing. To spend time with the kids you need to use what precious little annual leave you have in reserve, and it’s not always easy to do during the summer holidays as everyone else has the same idea. So quite often the summer holidays go by with grandparents being the only people to spend any quality time with youngsters.

Of course, family time is one of the biggest motivators for people wanting to become self-employed. Most people want more of it and know that being their own boss is one of the best ways to get it.

But how do you make it work?

Be strict with yourself

It’s easy, when you become self-employed, to fall into the trap of working more hours in order to rake in as much business as you can.

Try to remind yourself that this wasn’t the point of becoming a contractor and begin to set yourself fixed working hours. Outside of these times, laptops and work emails are tucked away and not touched until the next working day.

Over the summer holidays, you may want to give yourself some extra days off to spend time with your children so remember to factor this in.

Put family first

It’s more than acceptable to not take a work call because you’re out with your family. There’s no harm in answering a call, telling the person you’re with your kids and that you’ll have to deal with their issue tomorrow or whenever you’re back.

Obviously, emergencies would be an exception to this, but in general a day off should be a day off.

Don’t stay glued to your smartphone

Unfortunately, smartphones have had the effect of making us seemingly available all of the time. It’s just too easy to check emails ‘just in case’ or to get into a work-related chat on Slack or LinkedIn.

One of our favourite tips from contractors and freelancers is to switch off alerts on days you’re spending with family. If your phone’s not constantly buzzing at you, you’ll soon forget all about it.

Have everything boxed off

Before you take a day off with family, make sure all of your tasks are boxed off so you have nothing haunting you. So, if sorting your contractor insurance is on your to do list, call Kingsbridge today on 01242 808740 and get everything set up.

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