Working as a freelance proofreader can be tricky. And one of the biggest challenges is managing your workload, especially when you have several clients at once. However, if you follow our advice, you should be able to stay in control.
Have a Plan
To manage your workload effectively, you need a plan. And this works on two levels.
On the one hand, you need a way of tracking all your tasks and setting priorities. This includes both jobs from clients and everyday admin, such as checking emails and creating invoices. There are many ways you could do this, but a to-do list system like Trello works well.
On the other hand, you also need to know what you’re doing day to day. And to make sure you use your time effectively, it helps to spend 20 minutes or so planning. You can do this first thing in the morning, or you could end each day by setting a plan for the next one.
Communicate with Your Clients
Communicating with clients is key to freelance life. And in terms of workload, when discussing a brief with a client, you need to be clear about timescales and deadlines.
Some clients may make unrealistic demands, asking you to proofread more than you’re comfortable with doing in a short period. In cases like this, it’s best to be honest and negotiate a more realistic deadline than to risk rushing the job and making mistakes.
If you have a good rapport with clients, you may also be able to extend deadlines at times. This can be very useful when, for example, a document requires more work than you initially thought, or when another client gets in touch with an urgent job while you’re already busy.
Not everyone is a born workaholic. But if you’re spending more time on social media than proofreading, you may want to look at ways to boost your productivity. Options include:
- Setting a daily routine and targets so that your day has more structure.
- Working at the times of day when you know you’re most productive.
- Creating a comfortable, quiet, organized workspace.
- Using an app to block distracting websites and social media platforms.
- Scheduling regular breaks throughout the day to help avoid fatigue.
And if you’re being more productive, it will be much easier to manage your workload.
Be Realistic and Make Time for Yourself
Finally, be realistic about what you can achieve in the time available. If you try to do too much at once, the quality of your work will suffer, which is how you lose clients.
Taking on too much work may also affect your life outside work. You could even burn out. So part of being realistic means looking after yourself so you can keep working to a high level.
And we know it can be scary to turn down work, as you might not know where the next job is coming from. But trying to take on too much at once isn’t the answer!
Ultimately, it’s better to turn down a job than to try to do too much. And as long as you do the work you have time for well, you will be able to find more clients in the future.