When Life Gets Really Hectic


As a freelancer, work can get really crazy all of a sudden and last for weeks. You find yourself just trying to make it through the day. Your brain is constantly juggling priorities and calculating how many more hours or days until the deadline. And then something new comes in… All of a sudden, all your good habits are out the window. Exercise? Don’t have time. Eat right? Don’t have time. Go for a nice walk? Ha, don’t have time.

What I’ve learned:

  1. I have to make time. No one will give it to me. And it is worth it to take a few minutes to prepare some healthy snacks, do some exercise, get some fresh air. 20 minutes won’t completely wreck my schedule if I plan everything well. Taking some extra time in the evening to finish up or getting up earlier is also a possibility.
  1. If there are too many things going on, my mind usually makes a huge deal out of everything, anticipating problems, worrying, the whole nine yards. If I can just take a few deep breaths, calm down and make a plan, I usually find that things are not as scary as they seem. Everything has always worked out up to now. I’ve never missed a deadline. It’s all going to be OK.

Bonus: When your brain is calm and focused, things go more smoothly. Take the time to get in a good mindset. It will serve you well.

  1. I don’t have to take on my client’s problems. If they need something super quick and it’s really important, I will try to accommodate them, of course. But not at the sake of my health and sanity. I don’t have to burn myself out if they are last-minute or forgot or are just plain in a rush. That being said, a nice thing to do when you really can’t help a regular or potential client is to refer them to a trusted colleague or direct them to another resource.
  1. It’s really important to be organized and disciplined. If a lot of information is coming in from all directions, take a second to write things down. Enter dates on your calendar. Keep a file for each client. Make sure you keep track of billing so you don’t forget anything.
  1. When you’re racing a deadline, it feels like everything else gets thrown out the window. Your only focus is your desk (or whatever your work station looks like). If you can, ask your partner to take over some of your usual chores during that time, like cooking supper, doing laundry or running errands, so you can fully concentrate on the task at hand. Try not to take your stress out on them and thank them once the rush is over!

Freelance translator Corinne McKay has a great video about How to be a better freelancing parent, spouse or partner. Check it out here.

Good luck!