Don’t let your plate get too full

April 14th, 2015

Audio version of this post

When you are new to freelancing your number one priority is to get work. That’s the anxiety we have as freelancers since our next paycheck is not guaranteed. This anxiety can actually be counter productive in certain situations and can lead to what I think of as a right of passage for a freelancer.

I remember a specific period of about 3 months where my plate was so full that it actually hurt me. The way it got that way is that I kept saying Yes to new work and would agree with the unrealistic time frames. This led me to a new type of anxiety, instead of worrying where that next paid invoice was coming from I was worrying about how I was going to get all of this work done. If you haven’t reached this step in your journey as a freelancer then it may seem like a good problem to have, or if you have and it was no big deal then you must be a machine.

Managing our mental capacity is something that is so crucial, and when my plate was too full I was simply overwhelmed. I was so overwhelmed that this weight was now placed on top of me and it became even harder to do the work. I found myself asking “How did I get here?” and “Will it ever end?”.

I have seen this happen to other freelancers as well. As a freelancer you much rather feast than famine, but you need to know your limits. Only you can be responsible for knowing what your work load is and planning accordingly. Give it thought now and be aware of the risk that comes along with taking every project that comes your way. You don’t want to burn out, and you definitely don’t want to miss deadlines and potentially lose relationships that could bring you more work.