Know Your Limitations

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Having always worked full time, I had specific hours I had to work and a boss checking in on my projects to make sure I am on task. Freelancing gives me the freedom to work on my own time.

Freelancing part time always gave me the ability to pick my projects and I could always choose to turn something down if I did not have time for it or just did not feel like the project fit my skills. Since I am transitioning, I have that fear that many beginner freelancers have that I won’t get enough clients or make my bills because of lack of work.

This fear has pushed me to take on every project that has come my way. I am still in the transitioning phase of life as discussed in my previous blog entry. I am working full time for a job I love and am blessed to continue with them on contract after my maternity leave. I am also blessed with a few clients that will be around for awhile. Along with preparing for a new baby and all that entails.

These are all great things and I am very excited for each of them.

However, everything all at once has taken a toll on my brainpower as well as my sleepless, pregnant body.

I am learning now that I have to learn my limitations, even for good things. I know that right now I am truly not able to work the 12 hours between full time and freelance a day that I once could. This is not good for myself and my work will start to look sloppy.

With that in mind, I am setting up a few boundaries to try to maintain. Here is my list so far:

  • Maintain a regular bedtime schedule. No matter where I am with a project, sleep is important.
  • Spend a few minutes playing with my puppy because he deserves attention too (and he lets me work after he gets his attention)
  • Take a more realistic look at what is involved in each project and add more “slush time” so I am not time-crunched as quickly.

Have you set boundaries for yourself in freelancing? Discuss them below.

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One thought on “Know Your Limitations

  1. I’m working on a blog post related to this topic. It’s really important to know your limitations and figure out how to work within them, and also to know what *you* need to get a project done, which might not be the same as what another editor needs.

    I know that unless I’m working on the cleanest, most interesting manuscript in the world, there’s no way I can put in more than seven or eight hours of editing a day — and that’s a stretch. Five or six is better.

    I know that I work best with projects broken down into small chunks with daily goals; “edit Smith book” has no place on Thursday’s to-do list, but “Smith: edit chapter 1” does.

    When I put those chunks on the calendar, I know that I have to schedule everything to be done a few days earlier than it really must be done to allow for some wiggle room for the inevitable and the fun.

    And I know that I can’t blow off exercising. Ever. I need it to stay healthy and sane.

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