The theme we’re thinking about this month is workload management, something that makes many freelancers pull their hair out.
The unpredictable nature of freelance income means that it can often feel difficult to say no to projects even when we know we have reached, or are approaching, capacity. There’s a voice in our head that says: “What if another opportunity doesn’t come along?”
How do we balance that tension of needing a steady income and not over-committing ourselves?
We’ve had a few conversations over time in the Pod about this and here are some of the things we’ve found help us to manage our workloads:
Viewing projects through a variety of lenses — Create systems that allow you to see both the big picture (what work you have on for all clients) and the nitty gritty of your daily/weekly tasks (for any one client at a time).
Setting boundaries with clients — Clear boundaries help clients to understand how you manage your workload and the implications if anything changes. Some things to consider are making agreements around what happens if the scope creeps or the client misses their deadlines.
Communicating early and often — Regular contact with clients, especially progress updates, helps you to identify potential challenges ahead of time and agree how you will manage them.
Tracking time — Even if clients don’t ask you to track your time, it can be helpful to take a snapshot of the time you spend on different tasks or types of work. You can use this information when planning your workload or pitching for, and pricing, projects in future.
Delegating or collaborating — These are two approaches to help you free up time to do the work you love. Perhaps a virtual assistant could take some admin, finance or marketing tasks off your hands. Or maybe there’s another freelancer who has complementary skills that you could partner with to pitch for future projects?
Until next time,
Our next monthly planning session is coming up on Monday 27th March. Join us to review what has happened in March and preview what’s on your schedule for April.
We’ll also be back with another virtual co-working session on Tuesday 4th April.
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