By Emily Chau
Most people are more stressed than they’d wish, and work is often the reason. If you’re working as a freelance editor, you’re probably also feeling the pressure of running your own business 24/7.
A small amount of stress is healthy if it keeps you focused and challenged, but a large amount can lead to restlessness, eating problems, insomnia, depression, and relationship issues. Worse, it can also lower your quality of work and reduce your productivity.
Although the symptoms of stress are not always dramatic, it’s important to minimize your stress so it doesn’t become worse. Read on for tips on ways freelance editors can avoid or reduce work-related stress.
Take it easy
Don’t take on more than you can handle. You should only take on projects that you’re actually able to do without putting your mental and physical wellbeing at risk. If you maintain a good schedule and only take on new projects that fit into your established work hours, then you’ll feel less stressed.
Maintain a schedule
The biggest mistake to your health and your business is not having a schedule. Create a schedule using whatever works best for you—Google Calendar, Outlook, an agenda, a desktop calendar. Once you have it, look at it daily and remember to add meetings, projects, and deadlines. This will help you reach your goals, thereby reducing the amount of stress in your system.
Invest in your equipment
You will stress less if you have the appropriate equipment on hand, whether it’s software or hardware, the right blue pen, a bright lamp, or plenty of printer paper. Of course, don’t forget the most important piece of equipment, aside from your computer: a hard drive. Back up your work regularly with it or risk your work being lost right before a deadline! By taking the time and money needed to create your ideal office setup, you will find that you’re a lot more effective with your work, and this in itself will reduce your stress.
Create a plan B
Plans are plans, and sometimes they fail despite how well laid they are. By having a second option for emergency situations, you will be in a better position to still achieve your deadlines regardless of the possible scenarios. You will also reduce the amount of stress that occurs during a work crisis. An example of a plan B can be having a network of other editors on speed dial to take on sudden, extra work that you cannot complete.
Face conflict head on
A large amount of stress can be caused by unresolved client relationships, despite your best attempt at establishing realistic expectations at the outset of each contract. Should a misunderstanding occur, go back to your client and talk about it; find out what needs to be done to solve the problem. Even if you cannot salvage the relationship, at least you will feel better afterwards instead of wasting energy worrying.
Recognize distractions for what they are
Learn to ignore what is not important and “turn off” those things. A lot of unwanted stress comes from the great distraction that is social media, for example. If that’s the case, why not turn off your Facebook and Twitter notifications and close your email inbox when you’re working on a manuscript?
There are many tips floating around cyberspace on how to reduce stress, but ultimately you need to find what works for you and stick with it. At the most basic, prepare your body for battle: eat healthily, sleep deeply, and exercise regularly. The better physical shape you’re in, the better you will be able to handle anything life throws your way.
Do you have any stress management tips that allowed you to make that elusive early-morning deadline in one piece? Let us know in the comments below!
Emily Chau is a mid-level public relations practitioner in Toronto. She is also a Web experimenter and is passionate about volunteering.
This article was copy edited by Karen Kemlo.