The lack of structure can be both the biggest attraction and the toughest challenge of being a freelance journalist. There can be a nagging feeling that making yourself unavailable for work is equivalent to money lost, or there may be a worry that rejecting an assignment will permanently shut down a potential avenue of work. However, it is imperative that you find a healthy balance between work and leisure.
Don't be afraid to say no to potential clients if an assignment won't fit well with your routine. While you may find yourself needing to prioritise economic sustainability over being choosy about your jobs, there's no shame in turning something down if it will destabilise your work-life balance.
Here are a few ways that you can stop your freelance work overshadowing social aspects of your life. They're not ground-breaking suggestions, but these things can easily be forgotten on the rollercoaster of freelance writing. It is also worth checking out the resources at We Freelancing, a site set up to help freelancers manage each aspect of their life.
Get out of the house:
This is one of the suggestions made by Louise Goss of The Homeworker Magazine. Working from home has its benefits, but you don't want to feel like your house and your workplace are one and the same. Find coffee shops, libraries or other co-working spaces where you feel productive. This also leads to extra human interaction - you may meet other regulars who fulfil the same social role as colleagues in an office.
Don't neglect romance:
Many people find romance in the workplace - whether it is advisable or not. Freelancers don't have this option, while they may find that writing assignments end up eating into their evenings. Dating apps like Tinder can streamline the process, while Betway Casino have developed a date night decider to remove the stress from planning social occasions. The date decider also caters for a range of budgets, something always at the forefront of a freelancer's mind.
Plan your holidays:
Make sure you give yourself an appropriate amount of time away from working. It doesn't matter if you're going away or not, just ensure your mind gets a break from the rigours of work. You may find it useful to uninstall your Gmail app so you're not constantly connected to your professional life. Don't just wait for designated holidays to take a break; Helen Jackson provides six tips for freelancers on The Writing Cooperative, including the importance of maintaining business hours during the week.
Advertising on the freelance journalists' directory here at journalism.co.uk will keep your name out there for when the right job comes along, while consistently high-quality work may convince clients to wait for you to become available for a particular assignment. This should help you feel more comfortable about being able to take the holidays that you deserve.
Find a workspace that works for you, don't neglect your social needs and make fixed plans for taking breaks from freelancing. All of these tips will help you to fire on all cylinders when you are writing articles and meeting deadlines.