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Carving out an independent path as a freelancer, consultant, or entrepreneur can be an exhilarating journey toward self-realization. But self-employment comes with its own sources of stress and worry. These are a few best practices for maintaining your balance.

Create a routine. Self-employed people can get sucked into long hours that turn into cycles of burnout. When possible, set regular hours and create a dedicated workspace in your home or elsewhere (see below) that you can leave when you need to recharge.

Build in rest and exercise. You’re writing your own calendar, so schedule daily exercise, regular meals, and the occasional nap to restore your creativity.

Make a budget. Income can be erratic: Create a monthly budget reflecting how much you absolutely need to earn to cover housing, food, recreation, healthcare, and other basic expenses. Hayden recommends setting aside several months’ worth of these costs so you feel more room to breathe. If you suspect you’re falling short, devote some time each week to reaching out to new business prospects or clients.

Get out of the house. Working only at home can be distracting. Locate the best coffee shops and libraries where you can put in productive hours. And look into coworking spaces — many have flexible leasing plans and can be great places for finding new clients and cultivating the social benefits of the traditional workplace.

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