Too much fantasy and sci-fi movies can sometimes rub off on us. I know superman is one of the favorites and he is certainly one of the most common roles many people want to play in their freelancing career.
But who wouldn't want to be superman? And who have not done a superman act before?
Juggling 4 or 5 jobs, then taking even more even if it would mean a missed lunched or dinner, a 2hr sleep or just about anything that would mean sacrifice of personal comfort just to please the King Client, well, that's a superman in its finest class indeed.
But what could be worst, is when you thought you are doing a heroic job by taking in too many responsibilities, you end up tragically overwhelmed and exhausted. Does that sound familiar?
That's a common mistake may freelancers take especially those who are still new to the job. Making the mark, creating a lasting impression but something may not be consistent. Now let's get back to the real world and remember that Superman is myth and whatever our actions are, we won't bring him to life in our freelancing career.
So here are a few suggestions to keep you sane when you think you feel like having the itch of a Superman Syndrome.
1. Rest – come on, even the Creator rested. You deserve some rest too! If you think you are doing your client a favor by spending longer hours on a project and not getting enough sleep, you are dead wrong. According to a sleepdeprivation.com article, “Lack of sleep costs an estimated $150 billion annually due to lowered worker productivity.” It can spur a myriad of other health related issues, so if you really want to do your client and yourself a favor, hit the sack! You will not only give yourself a fresh start when you wake up but you are giving your body a time to recover from a stressful day.
2. That's Kryptonite, get it?! – let's face it, even superman is not invincible. We all have Kryptonites in our lives. We all possess a certain strength and weakness in different terms or areas. If you have not yet done an analysis on your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) you might want to check why determining your SWOT is an essential aspect of successful freelancing. Miles Burke, author of “The Principles of Successful Freelancing” has some examples that's worth checking if you are lost on where to start. There is also a free SWOT analysis worksheet by Jennifer Mattern that's free to download.
3. Say “NO” stupid! – if you are overburdened with responsibilities and deadlines and a client asks for another extra mile for you take and you take it, that is what we call sheer stupidity. I don't know, but saying “NO” just seem so hard for many, but if you are thinking long term, you should start saying no, now! Why? Here's what a Mayo Clinic study says:
* Saying no can be good for you. Saying no is not a selfish act. In fact, it may be the most beneficial thing that you can do for your family and your other commitments. When you say no, you'll be able to spend quality time on the things you've already said yes to.
* Saying no can allow you to try new things. Just because you've always helped plan the company softball tournament doesn't mean that you have to keep doing it forever. Saying no will free up time to pursue other hobbies or interests.
* Yes isn't always the best answer. If you're overcommitted and under a lot of stress, you've got a much better chance of becoming sick, tired or just plain crabby, which won't benefit you or anyone else.
* It's important to recognize other people. Let those around you come through. Although others may not do things exactly the same way you would, you can learn an important lesson by allowing others to help while gaining yourself valuable free time.
There is also a similar article from GetMoreDone about the benefits of saying NO.
Bottomline: Superman is myth. You are real. You don't need to do a superman act to please your clients. Saying yes isn't always the best choice of word just to impress that you can make things happen. The best option is always to “underpromise – overdeliver”