As a professional who provides website content services for multiple clients every day, I prioritize customer service. I know that one missed deadline threatens future assignments and ongoing income. Those consequences aren’t risks I’m willing to take, yet this past week, I almost missed a dozen deadlines as I cared for my autistic son during an emergency. Autism Speaks reports that one in 88 kids in the U.S. has autism, and your family may be affected by this or another special need. I implement five tips as I juggle caring for my kiddo and working as a freelance writer, and my tips might help you find balance too.
1. Write early in the morning.
After a busy day caring for my son, I can barely find my laptop, let alone write a cohesive blog post for a client. Alternatively, my mind feels fresh, energized and ready to work when I catch the early morning worm.
2. Improve writing efficiency.
Thanks to my recent emergency, I realized I can research, write and edit 500 words in less than an hour. Previously, I spent up to two hours trying to achieve perfection on a $20 order. Now, I confidently research, write and edit faster as I enjoy a bit of wiggle room in my schedule.
3. Write during school and therapy hours.
I can’t predict when clients will post jobs, but my son has a predictable school and therapy schedule. During those hours, I grab my laptop and complete orders or look for new jobs and beef up my resume if available jobs are scarce. Then, I’m free to spend time with my son at night and not worry about missing deadlines.
4. Ask for help.
By nature, freelance writers are strong, independent people, especially since we have to earn a living in a competitive market while working at home. However, I’ve learned to reach out to my family, friends and even my child’s school teachers for help. They may be able to:
- Drive my child to therapy while I meet an emergency deadline.
- Cook a meal when my son and I have a long day of doctor appointments.
- Offer a hug or encouraging word as I struggle to find more hours in my day.
Before an emergency strikes and jeopardizes your family and career, establish a network of people who are willing to pitch in and help when needed.
5. Schedule self-care.
My child comes first, no questions asked. My career comes second, but I also need to take care of myself. When I don’t prioritize sleep, nutrition, exercise and friendships, I end up sick, cranky and unmotivated to care for my family or complete my best work. Then, no one wins.
These steps are just five of the ways I balance caring for my special needs son and working as a freelance writer. What tips do you have for balancing your family and professional website content services career?
Jennifer T is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.