Freelancing can seem like a fairy tale for those who have never tried it. Everything has pros and cons, even working in the corporate world versus being a freelancer. I know, I tried it all. So before you decide to become a freelancer, or you have already been working as one, it can come in handy to know how to tackle the challenges of the freelancer lifestyle. It always helps to have a restricted schedule, or an accountability partner, to avoid living for your work! Here’s how to juggle your hectic freelancer lifestyle.
If you have been a freelance writer for some time, you must also have experienced fluctuating trends in your working efficiency. Not only writing on certain days is more complex than on others, but you could also sense an urgency to have a break for more days, especially after a month full of hectic deadlines! COVID hasn’t helped our social situation, and for those who the long cold weather also applies, but they don’t justify your need to dedicate enough time to other duties.
How to Be Fast and Efficient at the Same Time
So, you should always strive to tackle your writing assignments the fastest, and highest quality possible, to afford a normal lifestyle! It has been proved by research that high achievers thrive to complete tasks swiftly. The faster the better, since you force your mind to focus instead of allowing it to get sidetracked! We all have very different skills, abilities, and the way we engage with and complete our tasks.
I still find it fascinating how a focused effort can multiply your chances for success, especially when you have time restrictions. A great example of this is that since the start of the pandemic, most of us have signed up for at least one or two online courses, no matter how busy our schedules may be. We can somehow sense the urgency to learn more and more, to catch up with our world’s fast-paced information flow, support each other, and not get left behind.
Our Ways and Length of Completion Vary
So how come some of us can complete a 90-day course in 30, or 60 days, or even 2 weeks? Sure, the background experience has tremendously helped an already practising language teacher friend of mine. A super-efficient native English speaker, who decided to complete his ESL teacher course during his winter holidays. Motivated by his busy schedule of teaching, coaching, friends, and family, he only focused on completion and achieved his target!
Could this mean it is healthier to juggle more tasks with high efficiency than for whatever reason prolong our freelance writing and attribute it to thorough research, perfectionism, getting sidetracked by other important stuff, or whatnot!? Can there be an exception to these rules? Like feeling overwhelmed due to life circumstances, experiencing the writers’ burnout, or just needing a decent holiday badly, to recharge your batteries? Here are some tips that may help:
Be relentless with your dedicated time on tasks
In other words, don’t let yourself be sidetracked. Try to stick to a routine, and find your ideal hours of writing, depending on your other work, errands, family members, and the things to you must also dedicate time to. Cut the rest out of your writing time! Like unimportant calls and emails, or even people who can wait. I found the opposite is also true! Always plan extra time in your schedule as a freelancer, for upcoming emergencies. They can easily appear from out of the blue making you panic which you want to avoid!!
Try to find ways to shorten your writing hours
It can be a biggie for many of us. Yes, research and learning about new stuff can require lots of time, and you can easily flow away with time, even doubling a 3-4 hour article’s estimated completion time, as it sometimes happens. And then, you need to take away time from other important tasks in your life. You don’t want to find your weeks and months passing by without having much time for anything else!
These little tricks can go a long way
And we can end up in that unfocused place now and then! I found writing down my aims, and setting a strong intention along high focus always helps! If you need to research a lot on the topic, scroll through the important information as fast as possible. Your brain will also thank you if you speed it up a bit, and it can be not a double, but a triple win: faster research and thinking enables you to get your writing assignment done a lot quicker, to have more time for other things!
Changing working positions, having a bit of a break
I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to write for many hours or days in one place. So even if rarely, I keep changing between my standing station, and my latest invention, sitting on the floor on a low DIY ottoman with my back to the bed, as I find this little corner cosy, relaxing when your mind needs to race, and grounding with your foot close to the floor. Getting up every hour to make tea, drink a glass of water, let in some fresh air, and move can enhance your focus.
I dislike working at desks, unless it is my kitchen table, even though many of you could prefer to write on a dedicated work desk. Building a standing workstation was my best idea since I started freelance writing. It is also utterly important to get out in the fresh air as often as possible as a writer. Letting your mind rest sometimes, taking deep breaths, not listening to podcasts all the time, just to music or nothing can feel truly refreshing, especially when you are tired.
Take time out to recharge and avoid getting burnt out
When you are feeling overburdened, and overworked, when even the once seemingly simple tasks can pile up on you, taking tremendous effort for you to complete, not without a nag, take time out for yourself! You deserve to breathe at times. Writing without a break and the ever-whirling ideas overwhelming your head sooner or later shout for a break. It can happen in the form of an enforced holiday, in case you missed the former signs!
Doing something new
It helps to escape your constantly busy thinking-writing mind to do something different. Trying new things, hiking at new destinations, and travelling, but you could also try making a difference in your local community. Due to the ever-increasing uncertainty in our world, all (even small) contributions matter! My volunteering experience with Ukrainian refugees has been life-changing.
When you keep taking extra pillows, warm blankets, duvets, hats, scarves, gloves, and bags for the refugees who have lost their homes, country, and belongings from one day to the next, you have contributed to making this world a better one! The refugees around these shelters can ask you for clothes even, especially those with kids. More volunteers are needed worldwide, be it time and effort to help, money, or gifting belongings. They have no future. You can save lives!
Continue Reading: 15 Tips for a First-Time Freelancer