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Never ending work abyss in the style of Paul Cezanne

Running Your Business

The Key to Work-Life Balance

You can paint your perfect schedule by optimizing your productivity hours and putting self-care first. Don't dismiss 4-day work week as an utopian dream. It's possible.

By Susan Rov

3 min read

Ah, the freelance life. You kicked the 9-5 to the curb, but somehow, you've become a 24/7 workaholic. Been there, done that, and got the sleep deprivation to prove it.

It took me years to climb out of the never-ending work abyss. Today, I’ll share my artistry behind a schedule that makes both me and my clients happy. I hope this will help you achieve the same.

Consider these oh-so-crucial factors

  • Client expectations
  • Self-care needs
  • Your chronotype
  • Non-negotiables
  • Personal commitments
  • Deadlines

Once you've got a clear picture of these, it's time to play da Vinci with your schedule. Here are the strokes on my daily canvas:

4-day workweek

Visualize a 3-day weekend every week. If you're cool with packing more into the remaining 4 days, this could be your Mona Lisa. Don't dismiss it as a utopian dream. It’s just maths. All you need to do is stack up extra two hours each day, and—voila—you’ve reached the promised land.

Just remember to reassess your workload, have a plan for emergencies, and stick to it once you make the change.

If you don’t feel ready for a total palette change just yet, you don’t have to miss out. Adjust the hues gradually. Even before I embraced a 4-day workweek with BRIL.LA, I was a fan of Bare Minimum Fridays. Four days of hard work are worth the Friday chill.

Self-care first, other people second

Some people like to jump online as soon as they start sipping their first coffee. Not me. Because freelance workdays can often feel like an endless mosaic of client requests, I chisel out some 'me-time' first.

I spend the first hours of dawn doing things that color my world happy. Often, this involves journaling, working out, tuning into a podcast, devouring a few pages from my current read, or getting outside. I’ve found that the deluge of work feels more like a drizzle if I've already danced in the sunshine first.

Don’t kill my morning vibe

Breaking the 9am shackles means you can optimize your time online for peak productivity. I keep a “Do Not Disturb” sign up until noon and complete all the major tasks in the morning.

Similarly, I don’t let unexpected calls disrupt my flow. My Calendly slots are only open for calls on Tuesday-Thursday afternoons. Plus, I sometimes take a quick walk to my favorite café and work from there to combat the afternoon slump and keep my creative juices flowing.


  • Reflect on and write down what makes you the most productive and happy.
  • Mix, match, and implement these tips to create your own ultimate canvas.
  • Communicate the expected work hours with your clients, if needed.
Susan Rov

About Susan Rov

Susan traded cocktails and lattes for words that move. As a copywriter on a mission to end boring, she brightens brands and makes an impact. Number 463 on the list of fiction readers left standing, you'll find Susan at sunrise—running, writing, and wondering how to change the world next. That drive led her to become a founding team member of BRIL.LA.