How to Handle the Freelancing Crunch in 3 Easy Steps

freelancing-crunch

Can you relate to the guy in the image?

Are you overwhelmed with too much to do and too little time?

Maybe you’ve overestimated how much work you could handle. Maybe you’re experiencing some unexpected personal challenges. Or maybe you didn’t say “no” when you really should have.

In the end, the result is the same. You’re experiencing the freelancing crunch and you need to figure out how to handle it.

Nearly every freelancer experiences the freelancing crunch sooner or later. Even veteran freelancers with years of experience sometimes have problems handling everything that needs to get done.

If you’re facing a freelancing crunch right now, this post is for you.

In this post, I’ll share 3 easy steps to help you handle your freelancing crunch. If you liked this post, you may also like 20+ Tips to Help You Use Your Freelancing Time Wisely.

Step 1: Make a List

Before you can really manage your freelancing crunch, you need to know what you’re actually dealing with.

That’s why the first step is to make a list of everything on your to-do list. Include freelancing work tasks as well as personal commitments. Be sure to include the due date with each item. Take your time and make your list as complete as possible.

For example, a week’s list could include:

  • Three client projects with varying due dates in the next week.
  • A sizable personal project for your business.
  • A birthday party for your son.
  • A reunion with some former classmates.

Often we feel overwhelmed and stressed out because we’ve never really bothered to take a complete inventory of what we have to do.

Making a detailed to-do list lets you know what you’re actually facing. Who knows? You might find that your crunch is not as bad as you thought it was.

Once you have your list, you’re ready to move on to the next step.

Step 2: Examine Each List Item

This next step is the hard part.

You need to look at your list and determine which items on it are the most important. To do this, I suggest you ask yourself at least three questions:

  1. How important is this item to me?
  2. What will really happen if I don’t do this task?
  3. Does the completion of other items depend on this task?

As you work through your list asking these questions, it will become clear that completing some tasks is more important than others.

Be brutally honest when you answer these questions.

However, don’t automatically assume that because an item is personal that it’s not important. Missing personal commitments can have serious long-term consequences.

In our example, the reunion and the birthday party shouldn’t necessarily take the lowest priority. Those are special occasions that you may regret missing later on.

Step 3: Re-Prioritize Tasks

Now that you know the extent of what your facing and have examined the importance of each task or commitment, you are ready to rearrange your schedule to get through the crunch.

Tackle the items that are most important to you and have the most consequences if you do not complete them first. If there is more than one item in this category, you may also need to consider the due date for each item. Start those tasks with more immediate due dates before tasks with later due dates.

To go back to the example, it turns out that the three client projects are due on different days–so it’s pretty easy to organize them by date. The personal project has no real deadline or consequences, so it can be scheduled for a later time. And it turns out that the time required for the personal commitments isn’t really that great. The birthday party will last about two hours and the reunion is over a lunch.

Also remember that just because an item is fairly low in priority, it doesn’t mean that you’ll never get to tackle it. A personal project may become more important as time passes, or you may be able to complete it once you have gotten through your freelancing crunch.

Which brings us to an important point. Freelancing crunches don’t last forever. With a little organization, you’ll get through your crunch time just fine.

Your Turn

How do you deal with freelancing crunches? Do you have a system for prioritizing tasks and commitments? What is it?