The holiday season is a busy time for freelancers. Not only because of a heavy work load, but also because of the all of the holiday preparations. Balancing work and home truly becomes a challenge. I don’t know what your life is like in November and December, but in addition to working full time I also bake, shop, shuffle The Boy around to parties and events, attend my own parties and events, bake, shop and clean. The holidays used to be overwhelming, but over the years I’ve figured out how to make them a little less stressful by reminding myself why I freelance in the first place. It’s to spend more time with my loved ones and to enjoy these times as much as possible.
Maybe what works for me will work for you? Here are my:
5 Tips for Being a Freelancer and Dealing with the Holidays
1. Streamline Your Work Load
Who says you have to work full time during the holiday season? As a freelancer you can make your own hours and work as much or as little as you want. Many freelance clients cut back on the amount of work they assign. Besides, there’s usually a drought during the holiday season, anyway. If you find yourself with less work, don’t stress yourself out finding more opportunities, use the extra time to shop, clean, bake and do whatever else you need to handle for the holidays. If you don’t find yourself experiencing a drought but can’t work as many hours as your normally do, let your clients know you’ll be lightening your load for the holiday. Most will understand and put off projects until January. If there’s an emergency project, they’ll probably offer you the first right of reply before moving on to another freelancer.
2. Adjust Your Schedule
If you find it difficult to work your regular hours because you want to run to the mall while the kids are at school or need to make gifts or decorate, adjust your schedule. While keeping regular hours is a good practice, there’s nothing set in stone. You can adjust your as you see fit. Get up earlier in the morning or work in to the evening if you’d rather handle your holiday obligations during the day. Work only on the weekends when the shops are the most crowded or cut your hours for the holidays. You can go back to your regularly scheduled programming in January.
3. Shop Online
Shopping online is a huge time saver, especially if you know what you want. You don’t have to drive anywhere or poke around the same old stores looking for sweaters and electronics. Shopping online also helps to keep holiday stress levels down as you don’t have to deal with standing in lines or finding places to park. Yes, you may have to pay some shipping charges, but for some, the cost of convenience is worth it.
Can’t handle a project? Ask a friend to fill in. Since there’s less work over the holidays, plenty of freelancers don’t mind picking up extra, temporary opportunities. Get permission from your client and see if a trusted friend or colleague would like to help pick up the slack.
5. Work Ahead
If you know you’re going to have to take some time off, put in some extra time during the days and weeks prior to fulfill all your obligations ahead of time. Having free time to enjoy the holiday season and not have to worry about work or clients is worth its weight in gold.
Remember, you don’t have to do it all. You can say no once in a while and no one will think any less of you. It’s fine to volunteer, but don’t spread yourself too thin. You’re a freelancer because you want to enjoy life, you can’t do that when you’re stressed.