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:

  1. 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 and
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: June 20, 2012

4 Responses to “How to Manage Your Sanity When You've Got Too Much to Do...”

  1. Having too much to get it done...research shows that going to bed by 9:00pm gives you more REM sleep hence more dreaming and then up earlier with better focus and ability to concentrate and more solutions to roadblocks. Blueberries are good brain food and tis the season. Don't forget to is actually relaxing and a good de-stressor. Dancing works as well. Happy Trails!

    Guest (sage)

  2. I think you should write an email that is entitled "How to manage your sanity when you've got too much AWAI email to open".
    Before I unsubscribe, I'd just like to say your copy is amazing but your PUSH in annoying. I get 3 emails a day from AWAI. Yes, they are from different people but someone needs to monitor how much email is going out. Most of it I trash because I would need to hire a personal assistant just to read your emails. Please consider this as contructive. Timing is everything.

    Guest (Going Crazy)

  3. I really enjoyed reading this article. Thank you for your valuable contribution here.

    Apart from your tips, I would sincerely recommend the daily practice of meditation.

    Meditation taps into the power of your subconscious mind.

    This phase of "restful alertness" can be a boon to creative people--especially copywriters--who want to come up with new ideas or new angles on old ones.

    Frequently, while meditating, you will experience the eureka moment when you are suddenly able to connect the dots.

    Archan Mehta

  4. When you have too much on your plate, it is wise to learn how to de-stress.

    Meditation leads to the "relaxation response" and helps you to unwind.

    When your muscles are loose and you are free of aches and pains, good things can happen to you.

    When your mind is alert, you are receptive to new ideas and new opportunities come knocking on your door.

    Meditation helps you to unlock the creative energies you never knew you had in the first place.

    Meditation helps you to become a fully functioning human being.

    Archan Mehta

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