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Feeling Frazzled as a Freelancer

November 20, 2013
I set out on the day with a reasonable to-do list. Part of the way through my morning, an email pops up. In an effort to respond quickly to correspondence, I stop what I’m doing to reply. While in my email, I take a minute to delete the junk and the old correspondence. Then a phone call comes in that prompts some additional time away from my first endeavor. Meanwhile, the dryer has buzzed and I take a “break” to fold the laundry. It’s nearly lunchtime, so into the frig I dive, figuring something out. This reminds me that I need to decide what we will have for dinner, and pull out of the freezer anything that will need time to thaw. Oh, there are a couple of phone calls I need to get in before it gets too late in the afternoon and I miss the people I need to talk to. Geez, look at the time, I need to leave in half an hour to catch the bus downtown to hit my agent’s office for the audition before swinging over to pick up the Kiddo from school. And I still have half my morning’s list undone. Sigh. Maybe I can get caught up tonight after the Kiddo goes to bed. Or tomorrow. But not the next day, because I have an out-of-town shoot, so what would be a simple half day shoot turns into a full day affair, once you consider the four hours of driving to get to and from the set. If only I had a private driver so I could get caught up on some script reading.Rinse. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

I love being a freelancer, having a good degree of control over my schedule and the freedom to pursue creative projects that appeal to my artistic soul. Even some of the jobs I take that aren’t as creatively engaging are great, because I know that they are part of staying in my field and keeping my skills sharp.

What is most challenging to me as a freelancer is keeping up with research and development while keeping the daily tasks under control. Reading new scripts, going to the theatre, taking time to keep up with trends in the industry – these are all things that are too easy to let slide onto the back burner in the rush of marketing and auditioning and keeping the email inbox in check…oh, and having a life, too. I struggle to balance the time between the business of show and the art of show and living life.

One thing I am changing this month is to set aside times to take care of business things that I have a tendency to let slide. Once a week, I have at least half a day on my calendar to address things like cleaning up the inbox, sending out invoices, following up on invoices, and filing receipts. I am also scheduling time specifically devoted to research and development, reading new scripts and seeking out new opportunities not yet on my radar.
What do you do to balance those little popups that are naturally part of any freelancer’s life, but especially one in this business, when last minute auditions and bookings are a very normal part of doing business? How do you address the immediate needs – auditions, P/R submits – with the long-term goal-making – researching new ideas and reaching out to potential new clients? I’d love some more ideas on how to manage all the little bits and pieces!
One Comment leave one →
  1. California Triple-Threat permalink
    November 20, 2013 1:36 pm

    I try to keep one day a week as my “sabbath”, usually mondays. I catch up on laundry, shopping, emails. Doesn’t always happen, but it’s a good goal. I know I need one less-stressful day a week to feel better about the rest of the crazy.

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