Freelance Deadline Hell

When I’ve taken on too much work, I try to do a few things to keep myself from going completely nuts. Here’s a little handy list in no particular order:

  • Whittle Away the Pile–I take the projects that are due last and try to nibble away at them in between more pressing deadlines. I’ll hit a little research in the AM before launching into my main work, then do a bit more work after breaks or lunch–again, before getting into my main gig. That probably sounds crazy, but I’ve found that knocking out sections of busywork or writing chores that don’t require a lot of thinking time gives me a sense that I’m making progress on everything.
  • Knock Out the Easy Ones–When I have many things coming due at the same time, I try to hammer out a few of the easiest things first to make more time for the tougher writing.

  • Divide My Day–Sometimes I split my day up into shifts to keep my brain fresh. If I work for six hours straight on one project, sometimes I’m too fried for anything that comes next. Instead I’ll work for three or four hours, break for a few hours, then come back fresh. Believe it or not, you can actually get more work done by taking some time off to rest your mind. Sure, your day runs later than usual, but the productivity rewards are worth it.
  • Know When To Quit–This may seem identical to the previous suggestion, but I’m talking about when to just stop working altogether and give yourself some recuperation time. For me, a 12 hour day (there have been many lately) makes for a less productive time the following day because I’m just fried. If you are at the latter part of a day and you’re making zero progress, don’t try to power through–just wave the white flag, call it a day and try again tomorrow. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Business and Pleasure–Sometimes it makes a nice diversion to put a movie on when I’m working just to liven things up and get a change of atmosphere. When I am working, really awful 80s action movies or brainless science fiction seem to be major productivity enhancers. I don’t know why, but it works.

These are just a few of the tricks in my writer’s toolbox. None of these things work every time, but when they do, it’s practically magic.

One thought on “Freelance Deadline Hell”

Comments are closed.