How Can I Pace Myself As a Freelancer?

One of the perks of freelancing is that you can take on as much and whatever kind of work you want.

You’re in control of your schedule and can push yourself however hard you want to.

How Can I Pace Myself As a Freelancer?


But this perk can easily become a con if you let it. Your schedule can easily fill up with clients if you’re not careful and pacing yourself.

If you overburden yourself with work, you can kiss your work-life balance goodbye.

Then comes burnout, poor health, and the inability to serve your clients as you should.

With these tips, keep a good pace in your freelance business and find a healthy work-life balance.

Make SMART Goals

It’s easy to take on more work than you can handle as a freelancer since most of the time, your work might not always be consistent. However, avoid the scarcity and binge mindset.

You can carve out a steady pace in your business when you set goals.

Goals not only ensure your business is sustainable, but you can also use them to keep yourself healthy and productive.

Whatever goals you set, make sure they’re SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Your goals will be realistic, worthwhile, and attainable when you use this framework.

Here’s an example of a SMART goal to help you pace yourself as a freelancer:

To avoid burnout while freelancing, I will take one full day off from work every week and adhere to a daily work schedule.

To make this happen, I will time block to finish all high-priority tasks each day, name my day off every week, and refrain from scheduling any work on this day.

Finally, don’t pressure yourself with a whole bunch of goals.

Two to three are much easier to focus on and accomplish rather than juggling 10.

Create a Work Schedule

One of the best and worst things about freelancing is not having to adhere to a strict schedule.

You can get up and complete your work when you want, so long as everything gets done to the highest quality and on time.

That said, a schedule is what helps you build consistency.

It’s what will help you get work done and still be able to tend to family responsibilities and personal passions. Your work schedule doesn’t have to be as strict as it would be at a traditional job.

However, there needs to be some sort of structure.

For example, you could wake up at the same time every morning and have a “get ready” routine. Then, you can establish working hours, like 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Another option is scheduling blocks of time to complete certain tasks.

Let’s say you have to edit website content and create a social media campaign. You should dedicate time to each task instead of trying to multi-task. Say you’ll work on the website content from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., start the campaign at 1:30 p.m., and work until 5 p.m.

However you decide to schedule your workdays, make sure it helps you establish a routine that gives you a work-life balance.

Rely on the Right Tools for Efficiency

Don’t make it hard on yourself and slow your business productivity down with a manual approach. Instead, rely on the right tools for efficiency.

One of those tools could be outsourcing.

Hand off certain tasks like content creation and editing, to another qualified professional to make your workload more manageable.

If you do go this route, take your time finding the right person to outsource work to and ensure you have the budget for it.

Also, keep in mind that you’ll need to go over everything this person does with a finetooth comb before submitting it to your clients. After all, it is your reputation on the line.

Even if you can’t hire help, you can still rely on tech tools to stay organized and get things done.

For instance, use bookkeeping software to manage your business finances.

Use automation tools to automate email responses, invoice creation, and scheduling.

A project management tool is also a good idea to organize all of your projects and tasks to ensure you meet every deadline.

Find those processes or tasks in your business that could benefit from tech tool intervention.

You’re efficiency will improve and you’ll open up more time for tasks that need you in your business and, more importantly, your personal life.

Stay Physically Active and Take Care of Your Mind

You’ve got to be at 100% to manage a freelance business and fully engage in your life outside of work. There’s too much involved in both sides of your life to not be.

Staying physically active and taking care of your mind will get and keep you at the level you need to be at to be all in.

Incorporate regular exercise into your weekly routine.

Choose workouts you can be consistent with but challenge you. In addition to regular physical activity, stay on top of your healthcare appointments with your primary care physician, dentist, optometrist, and any specialists.

Nutrition is critical for your physical health too.

Eat balanced meals and drink plenty of whatever to maintain a healthy internal function and stave off burnout.

As far as your mental health, know the signs of work stress, like difficulty concentrating, fatigue, tension headaches, and declining productivity. You can help yourself faster when you know what to look for.

Do the following to restore your mental health and reduce stress once you do spot any of the above symptoms:

  • Take time off
  • Get out in nature more
  • Engage in daily self-care
  • Be around people who make you happy
  • Incorporate more breaks into your day
  • Learn meditation and breathing techniques

Engage in these activities to be at your peak physically and mentally so that you can bring 100% effort to your freelance business every day.

Consider Taking Your Work on the Road

Working from home may be what’s stopping you from achieving a healthy work-life balance as a freelancer.

You do everything there, from working to taking care of your family to resting to socializing. So, you can easily blur the lines between your personal and professional lives.

Taking your work on the road may be just what you need to find balance.

You get out of the house to work, which makes “clocking out” from freelancing easier. You also get to experience life while working on the road, meeting people, visiting new places, and trying new things.

The key is ensuring you’re ready to work on the road.

Adopt practices that help you stay productive while working remotely, such as maintaining a work routine. Also, make sure that you can work online securely no matter where you’re at with a virtual private network.

You get the best of both worlds when you take your work on the road.


You can take on as much work as you want as a freelancer, making it that much more important to pace yourself.

By adopting the practices above, you’ll be able to do the amount and kind of work you want without wrecking your work-life balance.

Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he's learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work.

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