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Ways for Freelance Writers to Meet Deadlines with Less Stress
Stress, Deadlines, and Writers
The position of a freelance writer can bring stress along with its deadlines. While writers are able to schedule their own hours, they face demands of publishers for work to be completed within specific times. Deadlines for multiple projects can occur in the same week and even in the same day.
Freelance writers can meet deadlines with less stress by incorporating a few simple techniques into their regular schedule. Organization, time management and good communication are key to lower stress levels.
The Stress Factor
Stress has many negative side-effects that are both mental and physical. Headaches, disrupted sleep and anxiety can be linked to stress. Body aches from tightened muscles and frequent colds can occur in stressed people.
Freelance writers are not immune to stress with their deadlines. They are at risk of stress when they are disorganized, lack scheduling skills and have poor communication with their social connections. By working on these skills, freelance writers are able to meet deadlines in healthier ways.
Organize The Workspace
When freelance writers are disorganized, they are more likely to become distracted from the deadline.
Take, for example, the work desk of the freelance writer. The freelancers likely have both papers and electronic documents that they work from to provide inspiration for work and to map out their ideas for the finished project. A desk that is crowded with piles of papers and a computer desktop that has a variety of random folders is disorganized.
By creating an organized workspace, the freelance workers are better able to see what needs to be accomplished and the variety of projects worked on at one time.
Organization also refers to the calendar. Writers need to write down deadlines as they are made, either on an electronic or paper schedule. Then, schedules need to be checked at the start of each day to remind freelance writers what tasks need to be completed that particular day.
Use A Calendar
Time Management and Deadlines
Time management is also important for freelance writers given that they often set their own schedules.
After deadlines are written down on the calendar, the next step for freelance writers is to write down the steps to get that deadline accomplished.
Here is an example of a step-by-step time management plan for one deadline:
- Write down the deadline for the project
- Determine which day to brainstorm ideas and create a title (if not already supplied)
- Determine which day to write the outline for the article (main points and sub-titles)
- Determine which day to write the draft of the piece
- Determine which day to revise the written work, prior to submission to publisher for deadline
The amount of time the freelance worker has to complete the steps varies; sometimes publishers provide less than 24 hours for a deadline. In this case, all steps need to be completed quickly. However, having a step-by-step plan and sticking to that plan will help writers get to the deadline with less stress.
There is less stress because freelance writers now have a concrete plan. With steps to go by, there is a map to follow. There is less pressure in the mind of the writer and a schedule to follow. Writers who follow the same writing process to meet each deadline follow a routine; routines increase feelings of comfort and there is confidence built in the reliability of the routine. There is less stress as a result.
Communication and Writers
Another way for freelance writers to meet deadlines with less stress is to verbally communicate with people with whom they have social relations. These people are the writer's family and friends.
Poor communication can increase writers' stress levels when they keep anxieties to themselves. They may start to think that the people around them do not understand their concerns and looming deadlines. In turn, the writers can feel hostility towards other people with a "you don't understand me" attitude.
Open communication for freelance writers with their social connections will reduce stress about meeting deadlines when writers tell family and friends when they feel anxious. The writers will likely feel less alone. As well, friends and family members may have suggestions to help the writers deal with the issues. Writers can then resolve issues, lower stress and return their focus to the deadlines.
As well, when freelance writers openly communicate that they have certain deadlines to meet, the people around them better understand the time restrictions and obligations of writers. Perhaps the chore list around the house, for example, can be taken on by other family members on a week when the writer says he or she has several deadlines to complete. The stress of juggling extra tasks around the house are then lifted to allow the freelance writer to put more energy towards meeting deadlines.
Meet Deadlines with Less Stress
Freelance writers are able to meet deadlines with less stress. Ways to reduce stress are to create a more organized work space, effectively manage their time and openly communicate with social relations.
Stress breeds mental and physical conditions in the freelance writer that can be avoided. When the writers are healthy, they are more productive at work and able to enjoy a higher quality of life.
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Writers can create new routines that lower their stress levels and help them feel more in control and have increased efficiency.