Your friends are convinced that you have the perfect job: you work from home, set your own hours, and can take on as much (or as little) as you desire. While court reporting is in many ways your dream job, there is a downside to freelancing: you are responsible for creating and maintaining your own work schedule.
How Court Reporters and Other Freelancers Can Optimize Their Work-at-Home Schedules
If it feels like you’re always working, you could be right. Many people who work from home tend to work constantly throughout the day, adding up to more total hours worked than those who commute to an office. Here are a few tips to make sure you have constructed a schedule that will keep you focused, but avoid burnout:
- Start slow. If you’re new to freelancing, don’t try to take on too much too fast. It is much easier to gradually increase your workload than to try to ratchet it back when it goes off the rails. You may think you can handle 50 hours of work a week, but if an emergency crops up, you run the risk of disappointing a client. Commit to what you know you can accomplish, and then build on that baseline gradually.
- Build in some downtime. Instead of making a schedule for work and trying to “fit in” other activities, build your schedule from the opposite direction. Make a list of all non-work activities that you do in a typical week: dinner with friends, family time, workouts, phone calls home, movie nights, etc. Using this list, identify what is most important to you, and make sure your schedule allows them to continue. Special events like regular meet-ups, a concert, or date night with your spouse will add extra incentive to get your work done (and allow you some precious work-free time in order to enjoy it).
- Don’t be afraid of change. One of the benefits of setting your own schedule is that you always have the freedom to change it. If it seems like your work is owning your life, ask yourself which changes could help build more time into your schedule. For example, if you are tired during morning depositions because you stay up late to transcribe, try transcribing in the morning before your depositions begin.
How do you make sure you have enough time for work and play?