By Amanda Smyth Connor
We’ve all been there. Suddenly all of your deadline worlds collide, all of the stresses of the world unite and it all falls on your shoulders. No matter how carefully you maintain your deadlines, schedules and plans, work stress can’t be helped.
I’m not talking about the day-to-day stress of maintaining your daily workload. I’m talking about the days when everything is on fire, all of the clients are calling and your inbox has hit its max. You find yourself spiraling out of control until you’re rocking in the corner and your productivity is shot.
Stress management is essential to the freelancer, particularly in an industry known for job flow that is feast-or-famine. As a freelancer, you may go weeks or, God forbid, months without a new client. This is a terrifying ordeal. What may be equally as terrifying is when all of the clients come calling at once.
There are only so many hours in a day and at least a precious few of those need to be dedicated to eating and sleeping (note: showering is always the first thing to go when the deadlines come calling.)
Stress management comes in various ways.
1. Prioritize the insanity to the best of your abilities. Is one project really on fire or is it merely smoldering? Can we de-prioritize it behind the project that is at “stage 5 inferno?” Which deadlines require immediate attention and which ones can be put off for a day with a simple email or phone call response.
2. You can’t work yourself to death. It’s counterproductive to be dead. When spiraling, I tend to forego sleep and I forget to eat regular meals. I run myself down quickly, I hit a wall and then I become useless to everyone.
Take breaks. Eat a meal during which you don’t check email, even if it’s for just 30-minutes. And try to get at least 6-hours of sleep, otherwise you’ll just crap out.
3. The worst thing you can do is to relieve stress by lashing out. Do not lash out at innocent bystanders who happen to get in the way of your rage-stroke. This won’t help you feel better.
How do you handle stress management when things get crazy?
Amanda Smyth Connor is a social media manager for a major publishing company and has managed online communities and content development for many start-up and Fortune 500 companies. She has been a professional editor for more years than she can remember.