Friendly neighbours – the freelancer’s nightmare!

Well, this blog has got off to a rather shaky start, to say the least. Sorry about that! We had an unscheduled event in our family on 2nd January that has disrupted everybody’s timetable. As a result, I was working until 3 pm most nights, so my plans to post daily messages to my blog went right out of the window. I hope nobody has actually been “watching this space” since my first post, otherwise they’ll have got severe eye strain by now.

head strain

I have had a lot of time to think during the past fortnight and one of the things I have been pondering about is how other freelancers cope with interruptions. You’re working flat out on a project (or several) and something crops up that you weren’t expecting. It could be anything, from a chatty neighbour dropping in for afternoon coffee, because she knows that you work from home (and everyone knows that people who work from home have time to sit and sip coffee all afternoon…) to more serious events such as illness, accidents or a death in the family. How do you deal with minor interruptions and life-changing events?

I usually try to ‘factor in’ minor interruptions when I accept a project, because they are part of daily life, so I can still have a – short – cup of coffee with my neighbour or help my husband when a cow decides it’s time she had that calf she’s been expecting for over nine months (yes, cows have nine-month pregnancies too, give or take ten days). I never take on same-day jobs, because you never know what might turn up during the day, especially if you’re married to a farmer. I usually promise to deliver in the morning rather than the evening, to avoid having to rush to make the deadline.

Big events are a different matter. I have never yet missed a deadline, but I have been known to work all through the night. It’s part of the job, as far as I’m concerned, and I am blessed with good health. What about you? If you’re a freelancer, you’ve come across this problem at some point. What do you do?

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