The occasional ramblings of a freelance lexicographer

Friday, July 02, 2010

Coping with pressure

Over the ten years I've been freelancing and managing my RSI, I've more-or-less learnt not to let myself get too pressured into overworking. That's not to say that I don't have patches where I take on too much and overdo it, but I generally try to stick to the number of hours I've agreed to do and if deadlines are looming and I'm not going to make it, I just drop my editor an email saying the job's taking longer than expected. And although, of course, I like to meet deadlines where I can, because it's usually someone in-house who's waiting for the work, I don't stress myself too much if I'm a day or two late. After all, how often have I been kept waiting around for an in-house editor to send me stuff.

At the moment though, I find myself at a slightly different point in the chain. I'm editing work done by other freelancers and they're waiting on my feedback before they can carry on. And the whole dynamic seems to have shifted, the (self-imposed) pressure to turn things around quickly has ramped up and I've found myself putting in much longer hours than I should, just about holding things together with lots of painkillers. I know I should ease off and look after myself, but I can't quite help feeling guilty at leaving fellow freelancers hanging on for work.

Things aren't helped by the fact that I'm really enjoying the project, so it's difficult to be strict about hours. It's so tempting to do "just a bit more".

As the project's due to go on for another month, I know I can't carry on at this rate. So I'm going to have to change my mindset. A rest over the weekend's probably a good place to start.

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