As a contract worker it is often difficult to broker that work-life balance when you’re keen to secure your next role. How many times have we anticipated a week break only to find the client wants you to start immediately? It’s quite possible to see a year go by and realise that the only time you’ve had ‘off’ was spent flying half way around the world or completing paperwork. So how do you build that genuine relaxation time into your busy schedule?
You may be the only contract worker on the team but that shouldn’t stop you from delegating. It is easy for an external consultant to believe they have the weight of the project on their shoulders but you’re being brought in to manage, implement or assist as part of a team. If you’re the only one staying behind in the office there’s a problem. Make sure you manage your responsibilities and be realistic about what you can achieve alone.
Ask for time off
In our experience contractors are not great at asking for time off. You may not be entitled to paid holiday as such, but you should expect a bit of flexibility if you are doing back-to-back contracts. Make sure you establish your entitlements, either with your client or with us as the recruiter when you take on the assignment. If the client wants you to start immediately but you need more time, talk to us! We will always negotiate on your behalf and any reasonable client understands the situation.
Organise your home life
- Achieving work-life balance is not all about spending more time out of the office. When you leave the office at 6 to return to a messy house, have to cook some dinner (or order a takeaway) and catch up with your bills before falling asleep in front of the telly at 10pm, life can seem pretty depressing. Streamlining your home life can do wonders for the psyche and all it takes is a bit of organisation. It’s amazing how many people may be super-organised at work but their personal affairs are all over the place!
- Organise bills and personal paperwork by creating lists and schedules. Diarise events so you don’t go home every evening and feel the need to check. If something needs to be looked at it will be there in your diary. If it’s not there, relax.
- Plan simple meals for the week, get groceries delivered and eat healthily. Grabbing a greasy takeaway is not a permanent solution. Develop a menu of a few simple delicious meals that you can throw together in your sleep – a healthy dinner can take 15 minutes to prepare! Check out Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals if you need inspiration.
- Hire a cleaner. This may not be feasible (or necessary!) for everyone but for a messy person like me a weekly visit from a cleaner saved my life. I am now tidier and don’t get home with a sense of dread as I put the key in the door. If you’re working long hours it is a small cost to bear to return to a tidy home.
Check out these links for more ideas on achieving your work-life balance
Ten tips for a better work-life balance
5 Secrets to Achieving and Maintaining Work-Life Balance
4 Tips For Maintaining A Healthy Work-Life Balance