Ah, the life-work balance. This is something that I’ve been struggling with, pretty much since I started my freelance writing business. They say that when you work for yourself, you’re more prone to burnout. They say the same thing about people whose income is wholly earned on the internet, as mine is. Well, as you can probably figure out, I fall into both categories, so I’m super-duper prone to burning out. At the same time, I feel quite blessed with the way that my typical work day goes, I guess, because I am afforded a fair amount of flexibility. Substantially more than a conventional nine-to-five, anyways.

So, how does one go about finding, establishing, and maintaining a healthy life-work balance? Arguably, this is easier with a “normal” job, because it is much easier to keep work at work, home at home, and have a distinct separation between the two. The challenge is much higher when you have no set schedule and you have the opportunity to work anytime you want. Speaking for myself, I can get some work done (and get paid) anywhere I have an internet connection. With the exception of a client here or there, I don’t really need access to my files in order to complete a project or two, doing them completely online instead. Sort of like updating this WordPress blog.

Many readers of this blog are aspiring dot com moguls, embarking on endeavours that allow them to make money online. It’s important to have goals, to have inspiration, and to have that drive to succeed. I am a firm believer that you should never be fully satisfied with your lot in life, because as soon as you fall into that sense of complacency, you will lose the motivation to move onward and upward. It’s never enough, is it? When you first start out blogging, your goal may only be to make any money at all from it. Then you shoot for the dollar-a-day in Google Adsense. Then, two dollars. And then, sooner or later, you aspire for the $12k+ a month that a certain root of all evil earns.

I’m not denying that you should have these goals, but don’t let your health suffer as a result. I’ve told myself that I am probably my own worst boss, because when I do decide to take a break from working — like taking a California cruise — I put myself through a horrible guilt trip, telling myself that instead of saving birds and walking on the beach, I could be mashing at a keyboard and earning a few bucks. Despite this, I had a great time on my vacation, because I actually let myself have fun. I learned not to be so hard on myself.

Fun. And happiness. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Why do you want to earn the big bucks anyways? Maybe you’re saving up for a hot convertible. Perhaps you want to enjoy some fine dining or you just want to snatch up the latest video game. And why do you want these? Because they make you happy. Because they put a smile on your face. As much as we talk about making money, it’s much more important to focus on the things that make us happy, especially those that don’t cost a dime. Your loving family, your significant other, your friends. That’s where real happiness lies.

So, how do I go about finding that elusive life-work balance? Well, while I’m doing the freelance writing thing, I give 110%. I give it my absolute all, so that when I do decide to take a break, there is no as little guilt as possible. This way, I can enjoy myself, playing video games, watching movies, and partaking in a little poker too. Spending time with Susanne is also a great comfort.

Don’t get lazy. Earn your money — that’s important — but don’t forget to have fun too. Even if it means just downing a beer and watching a hockey game.