How to Manage Your Sanity When You've Got Too Much to Do …
As a freelance writer, one of the best problems to have is being “overloaded” with work.
Being busy makes the time go faster. You'll log more billable hours, which means you'll make more money. And, in general, you'll feel much better about your career than if you have too little work to keep you occupied.
Plus, you'll encounter a "snowball effect." The more good work you do, the more happy clients you'll have and the more referrals you'll get. Then you'll have even more clients to do more good work for, which will lead to more referrals and so on.
Having a lot of work is a good thing with one qualifier …
You have to be able to manage your work and time effectively. And the quality of your work shouldn’t suffer. Here are eight tips to help you:
- Hire a temp – Make arrangements to farm out some of your more time-consuming tasks, such as proofreading, research, and even some editing if they're qualified. There are a number of websites that specialize in this type of service. Try www.hiremenow.com and www.expresspros.com.
- Subcontract out work to a qualified associate – If you have a writing friend who isn't quite as busy as you, agree to take on the customer, but farm out the "heavy lifting" to them. You still deal directly with the client and handle all negotiations and oversee all the copy. Pay your friend 10 to 20 percent less than you charge the customer to compensate for your time. You can still keep the person as a client should they require more writing down the road when you're not so busy.
- Ask for more time – If you have a deadline coming up that it looks like you're not going to meet, ask for more time. It's not something you want to do often. But sometimes there is flexibility in your client's schedule, and asking them for more time is preferable to not doing your best work or missing the deadline.
- Eliminate distractions – To get more done in less time, eliminate as many distractions as you can. Unplug or sell your television set … disconnect your Internet connection when you're not using it … turn off your cell phone as well as your home and/or business phone. Check your email inbox once, maybe twice, a day.
- Make time for exercise – When you're busy, the tendency is to skip your daily walk or exercises. This is a mistake. Stick to your workout schedule, or if you don't exercise, you should start. You'll have more energy during the day.
- Work longer hours – Get up an hour or two earlier, work a bit later at night. Work a few hours after dinner each night. Put in half a day Saturday morning or afternoon. Be willing to work as hard as it takes to meet all your commitments.
- Learn to say no – Nobody wants to turn down good-paying work. But if you're just too busy, it might be the best thing for both you and your client. But don't just say no. It's an opportune time to refer the client to someone you know will do a good job (your reputation is indirectly on the line). Who knows? One day, your friend may return the favor.
- Ask them if they're flexible on their timing – Before you turn down an assignment, ask them if they could wait until your schedule frees up down the road a bit. If they value your writing ability enough, they might be willing to wait till you're available.
Do you have any tips to share on what you do to cope with having too much work to do? If so, share them here.
One new project you should definitely make time for is a money-making website. If you think you’re too busy, consider this. It only takes a few-hours-a-week commitment to create a "money while you sleep" residual income stream for yourself.