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Should You Take on Another Deadline?

Caution Tape

Image by Picture Perfect Pose via Flickr

It can be tempting to take on every writing project that comes down the line, but in the long run those extra assignments may not be good for your business. That’s right. I said it. Sometimes more work is bad for you.

All work and no play not only makes Jack a dull boy. It also turns him into a writer who says things like, “I need a shower, food, and sleep–just as soon as I finish this… and this… oh! And this…” Yes, I see you nodding your head. Been there, done that.

In  The Time Vs. Task Dilemma Skellie points out, “There’s nobody telling us to go home at the end of the day.” If working until you drop had an up side, this wouldn’t be a bad thing. Unfortunately, writing, just like any other project, rarely improves if the person toiling away at the job is overworked and/or burned out. Low quality work means fewer repeat clients.

Before you say yes to a new deadline, stop and evaluate your work hours. Be reasonable and realistic. Is an 80 hour work week what you really want? Probably not. Stick to a 40 hour week if you freelance full time. If you’re part time and have another job, you’ll have to make a judgement call on the number of hours available for freelancing. Sure you can work overtime if you have to, but the object of having work hours is knowing when to stop working. Overtime should be optional. Showers, not so much.

Next, fill the time slots. How many of your freelance hours are already taken? How many hours will the new project need? Be sure your estimate allows for all aspects of the assignment: research, interviews, client calls, and the actual writing. If your estimate exceeds your set freelance hours, use caution when accepting the assignment.

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