Soft candlelight, good wine, and the gentle tapping sound of you typing out one last work email while your date patiently waited to dig into the chicken piccata. Oh, the romantic challenges of the independent worker. When every penny in your pocket seems directly tied to how much time you put in each day, how can you ever relax enough to invest in and grow your personal life? And for that matter, if you're not working inside your client's offices or at a coworking space (I'm counting coffeeshops in that category), where do you even meet the people who can become your lifeline, personal or professional? Making a few deliberate decisions to better manage your work/life balance can change your whole game though. Take these tips from Lauren, a freelance writer. She suggests setting deadlines for yourself that will allow you to enjoy your free time, worry-free. That means if you've got a date Friday night, your new deadline for urgent to-dos is Thursday. Explain your schedule and obligations to a new special-somebody, too, but try to not to let them overrun your time together. One of her most important tips is to make sure to date someone who's supportive and understanding! Maybe your best bet, then, is another freelancer? I know where you can find one this February: at our singles/networking party in NYC.__ (Image by Johnny Stiletto, via Flickr.)