Finding a good balance between work and free time can be a difficult task, especially for self-employed musicians. Even after work, it is often difficult to relax and the mind remains preoccupied with thoughts of work. This does not have to be the case. In this article, you'll learn how you can achieve a good work-life balance despite being self-employed.
Work-life balance Tip 1: Set your working hours, goals and break times in advance
This first tip may sound simple, but it is very fundamental for a work-life balance. At the beginning of your working day, make a plan in which you note down when you want to work and when you want to take a break. This way you can divide your working day into several units, between which you can recover during the breaks. It is also best to write down what your daily goal or goals are. You can then check them off when you've finished your work (this also gives you a visible sense of achievement) or make a note of unfinished tasks for the next working day.
Writing things down is fundamental - because you don't have to constantly think about when and what you have planned to do. This way, you can concentrate fully on your tasks during working hours - and it will be much easier for you to really switch off during your breaks and free time.
The same can be applied to longer periods of time, such as a whole year. Annual planning may sound unattractive at first, but it ensures that you can actually keep certain periods free for recreation.
Work-life balance tip 2: Reinforce the difference between work and free time
It's often difficult to relax when work and free time are too similar. Therefore, it makes sense to start your free time with an activity that is clearly different from your work. For example, if you're a music producer and spend a lot of time in front of the computer with your headphones on, you might want to do some sports or cook instead of watching a series right after work. That way, you'll also stimulate your other senses, which will help you focus on the present moment - instead of being preoccupied with work. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Going home, drinking a cool soda, or listening to certain music at the end of the day can also be rites of passage. Likewise, you can wear certain clothes or jewelry just for the purpose of work or leisure. Feel free to try out what works for you - again, there are no limits to creativity.
It also makes sense to separate your workspace from your living area. If that's not possible, tidy up your workspace every time you're done - preferably so that you can't see your work materials. This way, your subconscious can clearly distinguish between work and free time - and you can really switch off.
Work-life balance tip 3: Take on small projects in your free time
If, despite a good rite of passage (as described in the second tip), it' s difficult for you to switch off from work, it can help to take on small projects in your free time. This could be, for example, taking a trip to a certain place, painting a picture, or preparing a great meal. The point of this is to have clear framing that marks the beginning and end of the activity, and to focus on an activity - which also comes with a nice experience or reward.
Work-life balance Tip 4: Relaxation techniques
By now, there are numerous techniques dedicated to the topic of stress reduction, relaxation and mindfulness. So why not simply fall back on proven relaxation methods? Whether yoga, mindfulness training, meditation or hypnosis - there are many possibilities. But the offer may seem a bit confusing. I would like to introduce you to two relaxation techniques that are very easy to implement and very effective.
There are very many and different meditation techniques. The goal of meditation is mostly to regain mindfulness and focus in order to stop the perpetual stream of thoughts again with sensual experience. After all, it is precisely the constant thoughts of work that keep us from relaxing. So how do we meditate?
Basically, there are two possibilities. In the first option, you are guided, which is possible, for example, in meditation courses or apps (such as Insight Timer, Headspace or Calm). In this case, you simply sit down with headphones and follow the instructions that guide you through the meditation. The advantage of the guided method is that you just have to mentally follow what you are told. Therefore, the guided method is especially suitable for beginners.
More experienced people can simply set a timer for five, ten or 15 minutes and meditate on their own. Here it is important that you either get into a correctly executed meditation seat with stable contact to the floor - or simply sit on a chair or armchair so that you have no difficulty in balancing your body well.
Once you set your timer, you begin to focus exclusively on your breath coming in and out on its own - without changing it. This is easier said than done, because often we tend to either control our breath or think about something else. When that happens, just return to observing your breath - over and over again.
For starters, it is definitely easier to meditate with the help of guided meditations. Advanced meditators can gradually move on to meditating on their own. Even though you theoretically don't need more tools than a timer, I recommend using the free app Meditation Time. There, you can set intermediate tones at different intervals that remind you to focus again and again - often, it's only when you hear such a tone that you realize you've just been in thought again. If something like this happens, you don't have to feel bad or judge yourself negatively - the neutral, always new focusing on the present moment is the goal of the whole exercise.
A classical hypnosis has nothing to do with magic and lack of will (as you may know it from areas of show hypnosis). Rather, it can be thought of as a guided meditation or fantasy journey, but structured in a very specific way.
The procedure of hypnosis - regardless of the subject - is almost always the same: For the entire duration of the hypnosis, you are comfortably seated in an armchair. The hypnotist then uses words to guide you into a state of deep relaxation. In this state, also called trance, your subconscious is receptive to suggestions (= mental proposals for change). Here, for example, we also work with inner images and your own imagination - depending on the topic and the agreement. Afterwards you will be guided back to the waking state with the help of words. The special thing about hypnosis is its lasting effect.
If you're interested in trying out some general relaxation hypnosis, check out my YouTube channel here. There I have uploaded a small, but nice, free hypnosis on the topic of work-life balance:
With the help of this you can get mental rest with a longer-term effect. At the same time, you can try out whether the method suits you.
If you would like a more in-depth and customized hypnosis, you are welcome to book a hypnosis session with me here.
Work-life balance tip 5: Relax instead of relaxing stress
Last but not least, here's a tip: take a relaxed approach to your relaxing project. If you obsessively try to block out your work topics, this can cause additional stress. Instead, focus on what you feel like doing and feel inside yourself what would do you good right now. And if that's sitting on the sofa and watching a series - that's perfectly fine, too.
In case you still have thoughts about your work during your relaxation phases - maybe even really good, original ideas - you can always have a small notebook with you. In it you can simply "dump" your ideas in writing - and have them out of your head.
With this in mind, I wish you a restful time!