By Jael Strong
In the blog post Freelancing Sick Time, the author makes some valid comparisons between traditional work, replete with accumulated sick days and built-in vacation time, and the work of the freelance writer. Clearly, freelance writing is what we make of it. If we don’t think ahead, we may be faced with the flu and a pressing deadline all on the same day. We may be forced to wrap ourselves in a warm blanket and sniffle our way through, producing a hodgepodge product because we’re too ill to sort it out. So, how should a freelance writer, or any home-based worker, deal with the unexpected illness?
It’s simple: pretend. Pretend what? Pretend you are still part of a traditional workforce. What are the differences between your current work situation and being part of a nine-to-five institution? One, as a part of an institution, you likely had to physically travel to work. Two, you likely had a direct supervisor, unless you were at the top of the chain. Three, as part of an establishment, you had co-workers, a team whose purpose was the same as yours, earning profit for the establishment.
How can you pretend to still be part of that other life while pursuing your freelance business?
- Divide your home. Yes, it is true that you want to work from the comfort of your home. But, set aside a place that is just for business. When it is time to work, get dressed and go to work, even if it is a thirty second jaunt down the hall. When it is time to relax or when you are sick, shut the door and do not enter your office. Everybody gets sick. Take a day to get better.
- Divide your roles. You are the employee and you are the employer. So, set limits. How many sick days are too many? What types of concessions can your business allow for? Sometimes, being your own boss means you have to be tough on yourself, but remember productive workers are healthy and happy. If you aren’t either, you better do some negotiating with your employer.
- Divide responsibilities. How will you as a manager handle the tasks at hand when you are sick? Network. Build business connections with others. If deadlines are pressing in, e-mails need answered, or other practical matters urgently need attended, rely on someone you trust to come to your aid. This is something that would need to be accomplished in advance, but having a reciprocal arrangement with another writer, for example, may be all that is needed to face unexpected illnesses. Of course, many details would have to addressed such as exactly what is expected in this partnership and how payment will be allotted.
- Divide finances and time. A little forethought can go a long way. Manage your time in such a way as to be ahead of the game and sick days won’t hit so hard. Manage your money well, and taking a few days to recover from an illness won’t devastate you financially.
So, the next time you wake up in the morning looking a little green, don’t despair. Remember, there is nothing wrong with giving yourself downtime. Set limits. Think in advance. Create an at home work environment that allows you to be a human being as well as a well-managed institution that clients can trust.
About the Author
Jael Strong is a writer for TheWriteBloggers, a company dedicated to creating professional blogging content for increased internet visibility.