Despite the fact that most freelance writers work from home, and control their own schedule, the truth is those schedules and deadlines can be daunting at times. When all of our friends and family members are gearing up for “holiday vacation” we may very well still have piles of work in front of us. If you are not in a position to entirely turn off your computer and take a holiday vacation, you may be stressing out a little concerning how you will juggle family holidays and your writing schedule. Here are five tips to help you stay on track this holiday.
Schedule Down Time
Even if you are not going to be able to take a regular “break” from work, you should definitely arrange your schedule to include some “holiday off” hours. This is especially true if you have kids or a spouse who are on vacation and they are wanting to spend time with you. The other benefit of scheduling down time is that it helps curb that temptation to totally procrastinate and get nothing done at all. When we over work ourselves there is a greater chance of shutting down entirely.
Inform the Family
If your family is under the impression that you are on “holiday vacation” just like they are, then there will be a constant battle for your attention. The ensuing guilt will likely result in putting off important work responsibilities. Make sure your family knows up front how much you need to work and when you will be working this holiday. If you set up parameters, however, make sure you stick to them. When kids are told that Mom or Dad will be available at a certain time, Mom or Dad should be available. This will ensure that resentment does not start brewing and ruin the family fun you are hoping to enjoy. Usually when family are informed well ahead of time what the situation will be, it is easier to be respectful of boundaries and wait patiently for you to get through.
Before taking on your holiday work load, make sure you evaluate carefully. One of the great things about being a self-employed freelance writer is that you are in control, of both your schedule and your income in most cases. You should carefully weigh out the income/time ratio when it comes to working on the holidays. How valuable is this family time to you? Is it worth enough to pass on a few assignments that are not too critical to your income this month?
Protect Your Space
If it will prove necessary to work some during the holidays, then you must protect your working space. Make sure your family or others that will be in your house during the holidays understand that you will work faster when left undisturbed and that means everyone can have fun sooner. If necessary, abandon your home work space all together and head to the library or a quiet coffee shop where you can work undisturbed for your entire scheduled time.
Another way of protecting your space, and your sanity, is to set definite time boundaries. These are both for you and your family. It is very easy to get caught up in a great production run and lose track of time. This is especially true if you have a lot of great work available. However, more likely than not, you will regret losing quality, holiday, family time if you just allow yourself to work, work, work. Setting time limits helps you keep things prioritized and helps your family have a definite, concrete idea of when you are available.
Many people take the holidays as an opportunity to reflect on their blessings and good fortune. If you do have quite a bit of work to do this holiday, work which your budget will not allow you to brush off, make sure your keep a thankful perspective about it. There are millions of unemployed people this holiday, people who want to work and are looking for work but can’t find it. You have a job, and not just any job, a self-directed, freelance career which in most cases allows you to work from home. That is an enviable scenario. Don’t spend your holiday cursing your work load. Be thankful for your skills, for available work, for the income it will produce for you and your family, grab you a cup of egg nog and knock it out.
Sarah R is an avid reader of all types of fiction and non-fiction. She has sold book reviews to clients who need specific content articles on specific titles. Her love of books and literature naturally drive her creation of great book reviews.