Freelance writing can be a lucrative and fulfilling career path. You have a certain amount of freedom over your working life and can focus on subject areas that fascinate you. Yet, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an easy way of life. There can be significant areas of stress and anxiety that can be detrimental to your physical and mental health.
Many writers are now familiar with how burnout has become a feature of freelancing. This isn’t the same as simply being tired. Burnout is a diagnosable medical condition that is the result of chronic workplace stress that hasn’t been effectively managed. There can be various symptoms, ranging from exhaustion to increased feelings of negativity. Unfortunately, this is not something that can be addressed by taking a week off or through medication. It’s a deeper issue related to your working practices and environment.
As such, preventing burnout as a freelancer requires you to adopt techniques that minimize consistent stress and anxiety. We’re going to take a look at how you can utilize resource management as a tool in this regard.
What Is Resource Management?
Before you can utilize resource management in a meaningful way, it’s important to understand what it is. In essence, good resource management is about assessing, allocating, and using your assets efficiently. The intention is to be strategic in how you apply the tools at your disposal to improve the outcomes of a project or your business. With good management protocols in place, you minimize disruption and have a more positive impact on your work and your well-being.
So, how does this apply to freelance writing? As a freelancer, you are essentially your own micro-business. While it may seem that you are largely distributing words and ideas, there is a wide range of resources you apply to run your enterprise. There’s the time you dedicate to writing, editing, business planning, and outreach. You have technological resources you apply to most of your tasks. Your unique talents and perspectives are invaluable resources. Even your professional network that you utilize to gain work is a functional tool.
From the perspective of preventing burnout, it’s important to consider how these resources relate to the condition. Each has the ability to either exacerbate or alleviate the stress, pressure, and dissatisfaction that contribute to your symptoms. It’s all in how these are used. As such, good resource management applied to the right places can make a difference in your quality of working life.
One of the most valuable contributors to resource management as a freelancer is the technology you utilize. These tools can be effective solutions to stressful tasks in and of themselves. However, tech can also help you to better manage other resources. Investing in the right technology can be an agile way to take some of the pressure off.
A vital place to place your focus is on platforms that automate the administrative aspects of your work. An unfortunate reality of being a freelance writer is that too much of your day is taken up with activities other than writing. There’s invoicing, tax elements, outreach, and in some cases marketing yourself. Explore how you can use social media management software to schedule and automatically post your content. Adopt accounting programs to send invoices and update your banking reports.
Remember, too, that the people you surround yourself with are a great resource for preventing burnout. Freelancing can be isolating, which can influence and exacerbate stress and anxiety. See where you and other freelancers can utilize online messaging and video chat platforms to mitigate this. You don’t all need to be constantly connected to one another, but being able to check in throughout the day can alleviate the potential for disruptive isolation.
Consider Your Scheduling
Time is one of the most important resources to manage as a freelancer. Utilizing it ineffectively tends to be one of the key contributors to burnout. Sometimes this may be because you’re taking on too much work for the time you have available. At others, it’s simply a case of time mismanagement. In either case, it’s helpful to take a more mindful approach to your scheduling.
The first step is not to simply improvise your time allocation. As with any good resource management, you need to forecast what your needs are. On a daily or weekly basis, take a moment to look at what needs to be achieved during that period. Using your experience, make estimates about how long each task will take. You can do this on a per-article basis, or go micro by breaking it down into the time needed for each section of each piece or each research session. You can then manage your time resources by parsing these activities throughout the day, being sure to allocate sufficient breaks in between.
Remember to regularly assess the success of your time allocation. What schedules have been successful and where can you be more efficient? It may be the case that you need to make strict decisions about how much work you take on each day. In many ways, good time resource management is about being a kinder manager to yourself. You can best avoid burnout by not overextending yourself needlessly.
Use Resource Management to Prevent Burnout
Preventing burnout as a freelance writer requires carefully considering your working practices. Good resource management strategies can empower you to assess what assets are contributing to burnout and address them accordingly. Utilizing technology to automate some tasks and minimize isolation can have a positive impact. However, the most important area of resource management tends to be how you use your time. By committing to regularly reviewing and adjusting your use of such assets, you can avoid the potential health risks that can come from burnout.