Before I started freelance writing full-time in 2015, I balanced freelancing with my corporate 9-to-5 job for six months. During those six months, I crammed freelance work into nearly every moment of my spare time. There’s an art to juggling a full-time job, freelance work, and the rest of your life without dropping any of the balls. Let me share a few tips on how to manage freelancing with a full-time job.
With so much going on, the first thing you need to do is get organized. You don’t want any of your projects to fall through the cracks and end up late or forgotten about - not the best way to kick off your freelance career! Make sure you keep track of tasks and deadlines. Find an organization system that works for you, whether it’s simple paper to-do lists, a visual sticky note system on your wall, or fancy software like Trello or Asana.
Schedule Time to Write
While planning the week ahead, think about your freelance assignments and when you’ll work on them. Perhaps you’re an early riser and can spend an hour or two writing before work. Bring your laptop to work and write during your lunch break. Grab an extra cup of coffee and stay up later than usual. No matter when your writing time will be, plan it in advance and stick to your schedule. Avoid temptation - don’t give in to last-minute happy hour drinks with friends or a sudden Netflix binge.
Don’t Overbook Yourself
While you’re planning out time to write and work on freelance projects, be mindful of everything else you have going on. Avoid saying yes to too many projects, social gatherings, and extra responsibilities. Make sure you’ve still got enough time to clean your house, cook meals, see your friends, and spend time with the family. Saying no to more freelance work might seem counterintuitive, but overbooking yourself won’t benefit you or your clients.
Give Yourself Time to Relax
As tempting as it is to take on as much freelance work as possible, you must give yourself time to relax. When you’re caught up on work, schedule time to chill. Take time off from work and writing, spend an evening reading, treat yourself to a massage, or ask your significant other to take care of meals and chores for a day. You have to recharge your batteries on a regular basis otherwise you won’t be able to manage a full-time job and freelancing for very long.
Remember Your Why
No matter how well you schedule your time, you will have days where pressure from your day job and client demands catch up with you. On the days you feel exhausted, think about why you’re freelancing on the side. Whether you’re trying to pay down debt faster, want more bylines, or working towards freelancing full-time, remembering your why will help you stay motivated.
Balancing a full-time job with freelancing will keep you busy, but going into it with a plan to stay organized will help. Experiment with different organization tools and writing schedules until you find what works best for you. When things start to feel stressful, remember your why and what you love about freelancing. Once you find your groove, don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way!