Unlike office workers, freelancers do not have to work on holidays, but most still do. We take on orders before Christmas and stay glued to our laptops well into the New Year. If you dont want to miss a family holiday and get the work done, use our tried-and-true tips to avoid miscommunication with both clients and family.
Keep Your Priorities Straight
Make two to-do lists. One should include your work-related tasks; the other will consist of all the things you need to get ready for the holidays. Now cross off all trivial tasks. You can either ignore them altogether or delegate them to your family, while you concentrate on the most important things.
Spending time with your family and maintaining a good relationship with your clients should be at the top of your list. Cooking a Christmas dinner is an important task, that can be accomplished quickly if you do not aim for Michelin-level cuisine. Buying presents online will save you a lot of time while decking the halls and trimming the tree can be done by the whole family, turning it into a fun (and quick) activity.
Be Realistic About Your Workload
Do not try to complete as many orders during the holidays, as you would usually do. Remember that you will need to spend time with family and friends, buy presents, cook meals and entertain guests. So be honest with your clients and do not take on more assignments than you can realistically accomplish. Remember, that all orders must be submitted before the deadline. Even if you decide to be clever and outsource your work to a third party, you might still get a fine or lose your position in a writing company.
Communicate Your Work Needs To The Family
Not everyone is lucky enough to enjoy a full-fledged family holiday. Many workers have only a couple of days to themselves before they have to return to the office. Still, when you work from home, your family might get the wrong idea and distract you from important and urgent tasks. To avoid frustration and misunderstandings, communicate your professional needs clearly before the family holiday. Set the boundaries that your family should not cross. For instance, make a rule that no one should enter your home office if the door is shut. Or make a small Do not disturb sign to set on your desk. It will notify the family that you are still working and need another hour to join them in their Christmas fun.
Learn To Say No
You do not have to agree to every order your high-maintenance clients propose. When you are swamped with holiday preparations and other pressing issues explain to your clients that you are also human and would like to spend some time with your family. If there is no rush, propose to complete the order after the holidays are over, or at least suggest an extended deadline.
The same rules apply to your family. Just because you are at home on holidays, instead of spending all day in the office, you cant dedicate every minute of your time to your family members. If you dont have three hours to waste on a Monopoly game, say so. Propose a compromise. You could always find half an hour for a round of Jenga or Uno. You might not be there for the tedious process of looking for a perfect Christmas tree, but you will surely take part in decorating it!
Plan Your Working Hours
The holiday season is especially hard for those freelancers who intersperse their working hours with YouTube and Facebook surfing. Christmas holidays are not the right time to give into your procrastinating habits if you want to enjoy family time and still make a decent amount of money.
If your house is full of relatives and friends, your best bet at getting a few hours of work are the times when everyone else is asleep. You can get up a little earlier or stay awake later to finish up a couple of orders. If that is not enough, slot a few hours of writing in the morning or the evening. To keep yourself focused and efficient, set a timer for 50 minutes of non-stop work with 10-minute breaks in between. When the family dinner is waiting for you, social media become much less tempting.
Enjoy The Holidays
Sometimes it is hard to turn off your work thoughts and enjoy the fun times with your family. Learn to leave your work at the desk while you watch movies, organize game nights and get high on sugar. There is no need to turn off your laptop and phone to make sure you are present at the moment. Just put your phone away, turn off email notifications and concentrate on the people you love.
It will take you 30 minutes max to forget all about your clients and orders. And you will finally be able to relish the holidays with your family. After all, you are working hard to ensure they have everything they need, including you at the family table on Christmas.
Now you know how to savor your family Christmas and stay on top of writing orders. Remember to relax and have fun. And allow yourself that extra slice of pie. You have worked so hard this year, you have earned it!