In Part 2 of my blog series, Getting the Job Done, you learned how important it is to manage your projects to avoid losing a client. You also learned what online communication terms are considered poor netiquette.
In this last post in this series, you will learn
- How to have manners online (finish up)
- How to balance your work with the rest of your life
You may not realize it, but manners count not just in your real life, but also in your online life.
People may think that they don’t have to use please, thank you, Mr. or Ms. when typing an email or talking via Skype, but if you want to sound professional and get the job done, consider these tips on showing proper netiquette.
- At an end of an online interview, make sure you thank the person who is interviewing you for the prospective work opportunity.
- It’s also a good idea to thank them again once you submit your work
- Respond to questions from your client sooner rather than later or risk killing a freelance gig before it starts.
- Make sure to proofread your messages and emails. Poor grammar looks unprofessional and sloppy, especially for a freelance writer.
- Your tone in all your correspondences should be polite and neutral. Since the client can’t witness your body language and eye contact, you don’t want them to assume something incorrect (bossy or pompous tone) by the tone of your email or messages. So, stay neutral at all times.
- Do what you say you will do, but then go the extra mile
Create Balance In Your Life
People are working more hours per day and more days than ever before just to pay the bills. If you have children, then it’s all too common. The Council of Economic Advisors reported that two income households have increased their work from 40% in 1970 to 62% in 2012. The pressure to work more leaves little room for family or couple time.
For us freelance writers who love what we do, working every day and putting in long work hours is exactly what we want to do, right?
Well, think again. It’s important to balance your work with your life. If you spend too much in one or the other, it throws off your balance, which results in
- Being overworked
- Being over stressed
- Having little time to yourself or your family
- Health issues like an inclination towards depression
Starting a freelance writing career can require a lot of time out of your schedule. This often leaves social time and “me” time fall by the wayside. As a new freelance writer, I found that I was working many hours building up my brand and my business.
Before I realized it, I was forgetting simple things like where I last set my earrings, sacrificing daily chores like making the bed to maximize my time on my business, and losing any “me” time at the end of the day.
When you have the entrepreneurial bug, it can be a double-edged sword. On one hand working at home can make you feel liberated and in control of your workload, but on the other hand, this work requires spending many countless hours making a name for yourself. That is why it’s highly important to create a work-life balance.
I realized quickly how unbalanced my life was, so I began to change that. I found that I utilized 5 things to change my priorities which ultimately led to a better work life balance. Now don’t get me wrong, I have to work on this every day, but it will soon become habit and a way of life for me.
1. Decide When to Draw the Line
Ask yourself, what matters most at this moment? Is it spending time with your children after they come home from school? Or is it spending a day getting pampered to feel good about yourself?
Whatever it may be, set boundaries between your at-home work life and your at-home family life. Of course one will often blur with the other, but try to limit those times as a way to create more balance.
2. Schedule “Me” Time Every Day
The great thing about being a freelance writer is crafting your schedule to fit your needs. Shopping, having lunch with your friend or getting a pedicure is important when you work around the clock.
What if you can’t spare the time to go have lunch with a friend or go out for a few hours? That’s fine. Your “me” time can be a 5 minute yoga stretch or a 1/2 hour YouTube fest.
De-plugging yourself from your work will feel good and it will motivate you to want to get the job done. It also helps you to become a better freelance writer by
- Re-charging your brain so when you go back to your work, you might catch something you otherwise would have missed.
- Keeps you social in real life. If the only way your best friend knows what you are doing during the day is by your tweets, then it’s time to get off the internet.
- Sparks inspiration. A change of scenery, for me, always sparks interest and ideas. A walk in the forest might inspire a new blog post!
3. Get Your Personal Habits in Check
It’s easy to snack on chips all day or drink soda instead of water when you’re typing away. In fact, according to CareerBuilder, 41% of workers have gained weight at their current job and are aware of it. Alarmingly, 59% of those workers gained around 10 lbs. Most weight gain is attributed to immobility, hence sitting at a desk all day, AKA freelance writers.
To avoid gaining weight, I make sure to drink water throughout the day and eat sensible meals. I avoid snacking and if I do end up being hungry between meals, I’ll choose a cheese stick over a potato chip. Most times, though, I forget to eat and have to set an alarm on my phone for breaks and meals!
Sleep is also another personal habit that new writers need to make sure to keep in check. Sleeping in or staying up can all disrupt your natural sleep-wake rhythm. Although it’s OK to pull an all-nighter, don’t make it a habit.
4. Reward Yourself
So you’ve been working hard on this one article for a client, and you ruthlessly edited and went over and over your text. You’ve checked the grammar, minimized passive voice, fixed any dangling participles, and combed over any spelling mistakes. Everything looks good so you hit SUBMIT and breathe a sigh of relief!
This calls for a mini celebration! Reward yourself by taking the rest of the afternoon off. Whatever you decide, try to create these moments after you finish a project. It fuels you for the next project and gets you motivated to pitch your services.
5. Love What You Do
To create work-life balance, love what you do. That’s it. If you don’t love it, don’t do it. This is hard for many people if they are stuck at a job, but once you find what you love, your life will never be the same.
Writers love what they do, so this should come easy!
Beginning a new career as a freelance writer is a challenge. Maybe, you can make it somewhat easier, though, by using some tips in my blog series Getting the Job Done.
I hope you enjoyed reading my mini blog series. Tell others what you have done in order to get the job done!