I am a web designer / developer (front end and back end). I do that proficiently since more than 10 years, and I am appreciated and good skilled in designing and programming. I work alone in a home office. My target business are local clients, small to medium companies, hotels, shops, restaurants, etc.
When I started to work in the beginning I was single and younger, I used to work in normal office hours to pay the bills and evenings and weekends I used to study to obtain new skills and research for "new frontiers" about my area of work, stay updated, obtain new knowledge and competence in collateral areas, etc.
Now many years passed, I'm older, I can't stand to stay for very long time in front of a computer screen (not like I used to do before like 8-24 for a week with no problem). I am a husband and a father of a beautiful daughter. I have almost zero free time out of working hours and family duties, and when I have some short free time, I go out for a walk or rest.
I feel myself more and more like running after my own job more than being the captain of it. I don't know if you get what I mean… I learn new technologies and solutions only when I can't make workarounds or same solution with my actual knowledges and I do that always rushing and not really going deep into the matter.
Don't get me wrong. I have many happy clients and I am able to fulfill virtually any or their needs (regarding what a single freelance can do), but I feel like the need to take some time off to study and improve myself, maybe look for new things, differentiate a little my job with some new area of competence, but at same time I feel stuck because I can't take days or weeks off when I have many works in progress, deadlines and bills to pay.
How do you manage your life/work duties with studying and staying updated?
(Now while I am writing maybe I am realizing that I could have had some episode of "work burnout" in the past that made me slow down my usual work rhythm that I had in the beginning, and I have subtle feelings of "repulsion").