Do you ever feel you're just keeping your head above water in your career?

(11 Posts)
MattDillonsPants Wed 13-Apr-16 09:51:12

I do. I'm a freelance writer and while I've been doing this for 7 years, I recently feel overwhelmed.

More work has come my way from a variety of sources...which is good obviously but I sometimes feel like I'm just hanging on by the skin of my teeth.

It's really hard to get my stuff out and to a high standard while managing my family too.

Last week was a mad roller coaster...feeling resentful of DDs school too...they're asking for help constantly with things. This week is a TINY bit better due to slightly smaller workload but I've been lazy today and not done enough which means tomorrow and Friday will be catch-up days.

AND on Friday I need to leave my work to go to DDs school and see her in a play at 11.00am...which will use an hour or more of my time and I often feel panicked about things.

Right now, it's evening here in Oz and I feel bone tired...I finally understand that phrase!

DH was doing the school run until last week but then his hours increased so I've taken over and as I can't drive, this means a 2 mile walk twice a day. A mile there, a mile back and then again at home time.

I think the best thing I can do tonight is go to bed early....BUT I have a client whose social media I have to check at 11.00pm and this keeps buggering my early nights up!

Sorry for epic moan. I feel done in and want some advice. sad

RubbleBubble00 Wed 13-Apr-16 09:56:13

Get a bike or scooter for a start. Then plan your wk with daily targets

MattDillonsPants Wed 13-Apr-16 09:59:42

I should have said...I have a bike but I'm reluctant to ride to school with younger DD as she's not great on her bike yet...I do do daily targets but I'm sometimes just shit at sticking to them.

KeyserSophie Wed 13-Apr-16 10:03:07

But even if you only use the bike for your lone legs (and push it on your legs with DD) you'd save time- or, leave the bike chained up at school in the afternoon so it's there for you to ride home in the morning- do they have a bike shed?

MattDillonsPants Wed 13-Apr-16 10:03:47

Do you mean I should ride and she should walk?

FirstWeTakeManhattan Wed 13-Apr-16 10:11:13

I'm in a similar situation. I can't offer much advice OP, except I started to take vitamin B. I also write too late at night because I've been on mumsnet failed to do enough during the day, and I'm trying to make the switch to early mornings, but it's nigh on impossible. I feel annoyed with myself because I'm flat out until Friday night now and yet still on mumsnet.

Can you cycle the school run?

Somerville Wed 13-Apr-16 10:18:36

For all the advantages of freelancing, it can get tough. Sympathies.

When circumstances meant I needed to increase my hours from part to full time, I had to get strategic. Especially as the circumstances meant I was also becoming a lone parent abruptly. These are some of the things I now do.

- Put my work hours into my diary. Protect them at all costs. If an essential event, that office based parents would take time off for, crops up then swap out the time. So replace the 3 hours in school with 3 hours in an evening or Saturday morning that week. It makes it much easier to say no to school or whatever when you realise you're sacrificing your free time to do it.

- I protect my time with my kids. So anything that I can't do between 9 and 3 while they're at school, or once they're in bed, I don't accept. I wouldn't take something involving working at 11pm, I need my sleep. Can you give notice to that client?

- figure out who I work well with and go after commissions with those teams. It makes work so much more fun, and less time consuming. And flip side of that, avoid drama llama colleagues and control freak bosses, even if the money is good, they're not worth it in the long run.

- I try to take less work in school holidays, though it's hard to tell in my line of work as project deadlines often change.

- figure out which meetings and piss ups with work people are essential and only go to those. Especially as attendance is often unpaid. After reading Lean In I tried to go to everything and burned out.

- If I don't get paid promptly I don't ever work for them again.

- I don't do freebies or good will cut-price work. When people ask I say no politely but firmly, and include a quote 'for their information'. It's surprising how many then come back to me having mysteriously found the budget. Though increasingly I no longer take that work. This means that when I choose to do a freebie it comes from me and is for a cause I truly believe in. I only do it in my free time, after other work is finished for the day.

- Made sure I'm charging correctly (enough). I swapped notes with other freelancers in my field (especially men) to make sure I charged at the same level as them.

- make sure I do the work in the hours allotted. My field is very creative and it's easy to get carried away on a labour of love. When it was a second income for my family (actually, more like pin money for me) I could afford to indulge that and now I can't.

- stay ahead of deadline to leave breathing room if one of my kids get sick, or I do.

- And hit deadlines. Every time. The amount of emails and apologising and giving them a discount for the next project makes it not worth doing otherwise.

FirstWeTakeManhattan Wed 13-Apr-16 10:19:34

Sorry, cross posted with everyone about bikes grin

How old is DD? Could you walk the bike one way and cycle the other? Still saving a lot of time as it's so much faster than walking.

I find that lots of tiny breaks keep me more mentally alert on tired days. I get up, walk outside, just take a few minutes to refresh, and then back to it.

Trying to write to high standard when you're tired is grim.

whattheseithakasmean Wed 13-Apr-16 10:22:54

I sympathise. I stopped freelancing as the children got older as I just felt it took over and I never had a proper break when I wasn't thinking about it. I went back into paid employment and it was a blissful relief being able to leave the office at the end of the day. I do miss the flexibility, but it does require enormous self discipline. Would you consider going into a 'job' for a while, while the children are young & you need the headspace?

MattDillonsPants Wed 13-Apr-16 11:01:49

Somerville I can't afford to drop a client sadly.

I already only work with people who pay promptly...have had bitter lessons!

I always hit deadlines...always. I suppose I'm finding it all a bit much at the moment.

I don't think I'd GET a paid job...my skills are so useless in the real world. I"m self taught...my degree is in acting so I can't teach writing, I have no real experience in Excell or any other useful stuff.

Actual jobs in my line seem to want all that and more.

Somerville Wed 13-Apr-16 11:45:28

Make dropping clients who want times that impact on your sleep a longer term goal then. It will help your productivity so much to not have that hanging over you of an evening.

It does all get on top of me sometimes so I can sympathise. I try to remember, when it does, that I'm making money from what was essentially my hobby previously, and lots of people would like to be in my position of being paid to do something creative at home and not have to commute.

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