Freelancer Overwhelm and Going Into Hibernation

Well, it’s been a minute since I’ve posted anything. Obviously.

As I write this, I’ve barely scraped by on a large project launch that took the past month of my life completely by storm. I am thankful to have so many of my clients who love my writing, but PHEW. Am I glad to breathe real air again.

As it turns out, there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing” and I was totally overwhelmed by work after the New Year. But anyways, what does all this have to do with you?

If you run your own business or you’re a freelancer like me, odds are you’ve struggled with this freelancer overwhelm before (or you will). So I’d like to share what I’ve learned from this hibernation season:

1. You will get fried.

I was operating under the misconception that, with the proper schedule and the right level of commitment, that I could avoid the burnout and freelancer overwhelm that I’d hear so much about. I was wrong. I now see that it’s essential to operate under the knowledge that this WILL happen and it WILL come out of nowhere. If I had been able to recognize its approach, I would probably have come out of hibernation a few days sooner.

2. Lessons will be learned.

I am not the kind of person that handles any wrench in my plans with grace. I took on a project that was larger in scale than I anticipated and my schedule and workload took a hit because of it. Lesson learned. But I remembered the one thing my momma always said to me when I wasn’t happy with the outcome of something: “And what are you gonna do about it?”

So, what will I do differently next time?

  • I will know my limits (10 hour work days are too long)
  • I will know that not everything needs to be done today (see above)
  • I will anticipate an influx of work after the New Year
3. Stick to your priorities.

In the midst of a project, it’s very easy to get swallowed by the minutiae and by what everyone else is doing with the project. After my “hibernation” on this project, I realized that I didn’t need to attend every Skype call, that the world would not actually end if I didn’t Reply All to every email, and that my portion of the project was more important (to me) than anything else.

Thanks to a really awesome client of mine, Tracey Gritz, I’ve learned that I need to work on moving the needle, not on staring at the needle all damn day. I also saw firsthand how many organizations get stuck putting out fires rather than moving forward with their planned work. It was incredibly illuminating for me, as a freelancer, to see the inner workings of a larger corporate machine.

Forward Through Freelancer Overwhelm

Now that I’ve got that season of hibernation behind me, I’m so excited to get started on the next big project that comes my way. Of course, I’ll be a little wiser when I do 🙂 If you’re dealing with freelancer overwhelm currently, all I can say is “Take a deep breath, you’ll get through this.”

If you’re a seasoned vet and have addressed your own freelancer overwhelm, this green baby would love to hear your tips on managing (and preventing) it!

Until next time…

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