How you spend your free time could make you a more successful contractor

Monday 8th August, 2016
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Contractor Info

When you're running your own limited company, your free time is extremely precious. It can be hard to switch off from work if you're the sole person responsible for your business, but it's important to get the most from your free time to make sure you feel refreshed and focused when you get back to work.

Having the chance to choose your own working hours means you might not necessarily have weekends off depending on your preferences, but this is no excuse for lying in bed all day on your days off in the week. Of course, it's fine to do this occasionally, but it's likely that you'll feel lazy and disappointed with yourself if you waste all of your free time.

Here are our top tips for getting the most out of your time off so that you're in the best possible position to make your limited company a success.

Organise your free time

Making a plan for your free time might not sound particularly relaxing or spontaneous, but it's a great way to make sure that you get the most from your days off.

To start with, set your alarm for a reasonable time so that you don't miss too much of the day or mess up your body clock. Then, make sure you have a few ideas of things to do so that you don't just end up sat in front of the TV all day.

This could be anything from meeting friends for lunch to going shopping or doing some household chores. Just don't let yourself do anything work-related - you deserve a break!

At the end of the day you'll feel like you've accomplished something and got your life in order a bit more or caught up with people you haven't seen for a while, taking these off your to-do list and leaving you with a clear mind to focus on your limited company when you get back to work.

The power of exercise

Another way to clear your head of business stresses and boost your motivation is to take part in exercise on your day off, whether that's in the form of a run, a swim or even just a long walk.

In fact, research published by CV-Library earlier this year looked at how running can benefit people's careers, finding that the determination and discipline needed to train for a marathon could also be applied to running a limited company.

Overall, 87.7 per cent of marathon runners said they believed that an intense exercise programme improved their productivity at work.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, commented: "Any individual who commits to running a marathon is clearly motivated by personal success and this level of dedication is likely to influence their working life.

Alternatively, and less intensely, taking part in exercise such as yoga or swimming will help to relax you and leave you feeling more motivated at the same time.

Digital time out

It's also important to try to take time out from your work phone and emails during your free time. Time away from digital devices leaves you with more time to focus on other aspects of your life, once again helping you to feel more refreshed when it comes to getting back to work.

Experts have shown that constantly checking emails can induce feelings of anxiety and a 2014 study from the University of British Columbia found that looking at your inbox just three times a day is ideal for ensuring optimum productivity and low levels of stress. However, the average worker tends to check their emails 15 times per day, with many also looking at them during their days off.

Lead author of the study Kostadin Kushlev explained: "People find it difficult to resist the temptation of checking email, and yet resisting this temptation reduces their stress."

In addition, research from Travel Republic also published in 2014 revealed that more than half (58 per cent) of workers regularly check their emails while on holiday, while 26 per cent respond when away from the office, even if they're on the beach.

You don't want to become one of these people, so make sure you switch off on your days off!

Get help from My PSC

Getting support from a third-party service such as PayStream's My PSC is another way to help you to get the most from your free time.

My PSC provides help with the accountancy and administrative work associated with running a limited company, leaving you with more time to spend on growing your business and on the things that are important to you.

This means that you don't need to spend time completing your paperwork or worrying about your limited company's finances at the weekends or during your days off; instead, you can rest safe in the knowledge that your business is remaining compliant with HMRC, leaving you to get on with enjoying your much-deserved time off.



It's also important to try to take time out from your work phone and emails during your free time. Time away from digital devices leaves you with more time to focus on other aspects of your life, once again helping you to feel more refreshed when it comes to getting back to work.

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