How to deal with a heavy workload as a freelancer

When you are working as a freelancer, you may have a certain pressure to be constantly working and taking on too much. However, it’s essential that you know how to avoid a burnout, as a burnout can leave you feeling uninspired, demotivated and unable to work.

Being a freelancer means that you will have to deal with the heavy workload, as you will be running a business by yourself. You are going to have to be the marketer, the salesperson, the accountant as well as the freelancer. But if you overwork yourself you may start seeing signs of a burnout, and that’s when you know you need to take action.

deal with a heavy workload as a freelancer

But it’s not all doom and gloom, as there are millions of freelancers in the UK that have found the work-life balance. There are ways to deal with heavy workloads and knowing your limits. As a freelancer you have an irregular income, so some might be tempted to take on too much work in order to try and compensate for the times of no work. However, it’s vital to know what you can handle at one time.

Here are some tips on how to deal with a heavy workload as a freelancer.

Know your limits

When you are just starting out as a freelancer, you will want to take on any opportunity you come across in order to get experience and start earning. This kind of motivation and enthusiasm is great at the start but when your client list picks up momentum you will need to become selective. You will over time learn your own limits and how much work you are actually capable of carrying out at any one point. Freelancers tend to worry as they don’t have regular, guaranteed work and income. However, taking on too much work at the same time can have detrimental effects on your mindset and health, as well as the quality of your work. Therefore, define your limits or have an idea of them and learn not to push yourself to the breaking point when it comes to working.

Take time out

Yes, you are a freelancer and you are running a business all by yourself, and taking time out is difficult. However, taking some time out for yourself is not impossible with some careful planning. Taking time out doesn’t mean that you take out weeks or months from your working schedule. It can mean taking time off on weekends, and completely switching off from work, or spending an evening doing something you love. You may love freelancing and building your business, however, you will still need to take a break to relax and recuperate. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs take time out to re-energise, and so should you.

Keep organised

You can only keep track of your work and plan time away if you are organised. As a freelancer, you will need to make sure to work to deadlines and keep on top of all the various projects. You can keep organised on a daily basis by having to do lists and working your way through them. You should keep a diary/calendar to be able to see all the important work dates too. You might want to have an online calendar that is connected with your various different devices (phone, computer etc.) in order to avoid confusion.

Set working hours

Setting work hours is essential to getting that well-needed rest. One of the biggest perks of freelancing is setting your own working hours, which allows you to work when you're most productive. Although you can set your own hours it doesn’t mean you should be working every waking hour of your day. You can either work early mornings or work late in the evening if you prefer or you might even want to do a traditional 9 to 5. But make sure you have a switch off time, leave the business and work to one side and relax. Give time to your friends and family, or even just take time out to exercise or do something you enjoy.

Seek help/Outsource

If you are overworking doing all the work by yourself, it might be time to seek assistance. If your client list is growing and your business is expanding, you can outsource some help. For example, if you have been managing your own business finances, it might be time to hire an accountant. Having an additional person look after a part of your business can take away that immense pressure to always be working. It does mean an extra expense as you will have to pay out for the help, however, it's a payment that will actually save you in the long term. If you are overworking yourself, you also might not be able to deliver your work, so it’s essential to give yourself time to do your best work.

Work hard

Don’t work for long, but work hard in that amount of time. It’s natural to be unable to focus and get distracted from time to time. However, set yourself tasks do within a time frame and avoid all distractions. For example, if you are working from home, make sure that you have your TV switched off when working. Or if you are working on a project, only check your emails after you have worked for a solid amount of time. Distractions are everywhere, whether you are an employee or a freelancer, you just have to find a way to minimise them.

More on working from home and dealing with stress as a freelancer.