For some, freelancing is something extra on the side of full or part time work and it can be difficult to balance the two, especially if there is very little cross-over. While it may seem the more work you have, the better, it is important not to over-commit yourself, as you could risk jeopardising the quality and integrity of the finished product.

How to we strike a balance? Here are some handy tips to help you manage your commitments in order to maximise time and ensure a high quality portfolio and help you find work in the industry

Learn when to say no:

One of the more difficult parts of freelancing, particularly if you’re new to the industry, is developing the confidence and belief in yourself to effectively define your boundaries. I'm talking about saying 'no' to opportunities that don't add value! An important part of not over-committing is to evaluate what work is beneficial and to say no to work that isn’t.

Money doesn’t always have to be the defining factor in this decision. It is also wise to think about the work you have already done – how well-rounded is your portfolio? For example, a photographer with a diverse and interesting portfolio will be much more marketable than one that only shoots weddings, despite the fact that weddings are so lucrative. 
freelancing work life balance no free work

Look for a cross-over point:

If you are employed then you will not have the luxury of saying no when your boss asks you to do something – this should always be your first priority. However, regardless of the industry in which you work, there will always be some kind of cross over, some experience that can be used to perfect your craft. Actors and writers working in restaurants, for example, learn about real characters through watching customers interact.

Look for as many opportunities as possible to gain valuable skills from your makeup job, photography job etc. Learning digital marketing, SEO and brand awareness strategies will help you market your business better and will cut out a chunk of the time you spend looking for new clients.  

Prioritise effectively:

Lists – so simple yet divinely effective. Writing out the tasks you have to do, when they have to be done and where you need to go to do them is the first and most obvious step to prioritisation. Next you need to work out how long something will take, how much research is required and whether you will you be reliant on others. All of this can be mapped out, enabling you to gain a visual overview of your month’s commitments - then you will be able to see what tasks can be doubled up, what needs to be started first and set timelines for each. There are many handy online tools to help you do this, which are essential for those less skilled at organisation.

Get savvy with apps and online tools:

The internet provides a plethora of tools and apps to help make our lives more interesting and efficient. Toggl , Timeley and Evernote are three of our favourites – the three used in conjunction will help you manage your time, map and analyse productivity, log and bill work hours and organise, share and edit documents (particularly useful for freelancers working in creative teams).

Evaluate how you spend your time:

We all need down time, especially when we’re working so hard and perfecting a never-ending juggling routine. However, if something is important enough to you, you will make time for it. Challenge yourself - replace "I don’t have time" with "I don’t make time", and see how quickly you start to re-evaluate the most effective ways to spend your days.

Time runs too fast and us too slow – this is a persistent issue faced by most adults, particularly those balancing work, life and creative freelancing. Therefore, the majority of commitment-balancing tips always come back to how best to optimise your time. Doing so effectively will mean the ability to take on more work, while using up less of your days, so that your will have spare stress-free and less chaotic hours to develop your craft.