Archive for November, 2008

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The Balancing Act of Freelancing with a Full-Time Job.

November 11, 2008

Kites rise highest against the wind – not with it. ~ Sir Winston Churchhill

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Balancing freelancing writing with a full-time job is tough and challenging.  I won’t lie or sugarcoat the facts. I’ve been doing it for a few months now, and there are some days where I just squeeze my eyes shut and clench my fists, trying to summon the motivation from deep within.  Hoping there’s still some left in my reserves.

I’ve been keeping my 9-5 job in an effort to get my feet wet in the freelance writing industry before I take the nosedive in.  I’m not too prideful to say that the steady paycheck keeps me comfortable either.  It allows me to avoid moments of panic when I’ve got bills piling up on the desk or one of my pets suddenly decides to get sick and stare at me with bulgy, discomfiting eyes until they are magically cured by a $500 vet’s solution.

Eventually, I will go full-time.  But I don’t feel ready quite yet.  So until then, I will continue to juggle both jobs, catching the falling balls with whatever I may – hands, mouth, feet.

Dealing with the stress of a lot of deadlines the past couple weeks between both my regular job and my freelance writing gigs, I decided to channel my stress into a blog post that might help others in a similar situation cope with a demanding schedule.  I’d also love to hear advice or helpful suggestions from others, so feel free to add to my list.

  1. Create a schedule and stick to it. With two jobs, good time management is obviously in your best interest.  Some people like to keep a daytime calendar, others prefer to use Internet-based tools such as Google Calendar, some prefer daily to-do lists, while others may use a combination of these.  Do whatever works for you, just do it.  By setting goals and keeping to a set schedule, you will find it easier to keep your responsibilities and deadlines for both jobs organized.
  2. Take care of your health. Being dedicated to two jobs can be very time-consuming and really take its toll on your mental and physical health.  Do not work around the clock.  Make sure you schedule in free time for yourself, family and friends every day.  Try to keep the work you do on weekends to a bare minimum.  Get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.  And exercise!  It’s important to keep your body healthy and active in order to nourish your mind and keep the creative juices flowing.   You will not produce your best quality work otherwise.
  3. Get help from others. Not everyone has this luxury, but if you do have a willing and supportive spouse or partner, family or friends, get help where you can.  This may include assistance with the accounting and paperwork aspect of your freelancing so you can better devote yourself to writing itself.  It may also include a partner or kids taking up a little more responsibility with household chores or duties to give you more time to juggle both careers.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it from loved ones, as long as it’s a reasonable request.
  4. Don’t take on too many side gigs. If you are keeping a schedule and are effective with your time management, you should have an understanding of how much time you can really devote to your part-time freelance interests without interfering with your day job or ‘you time’ (and yes, you better schedule this in).  Do not take on more than you can feasibly handle.  Sure, you may be excited by the writing gigs that are made available to you and want to take them all on until you’re buried in a heap of work that has no end.  Remember, other opportunities will come.  You do not have to take every writing job that you are qualified for.  Be selective and only commit yourself to what you can handle.
  5. Take mini-vacations. If you don’t take a break away from both jobs time and again, you will suffer burnout.  Remember to take a mini-vacation every once in a while to de-stress and enjoy time away from the pressures and demands of having two jobs.  After all, you deserve it!
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