Sometimes YOU Need To Be YOUR Own Client

Once you have been working as a client service Freelancer for some time, you reach a point where you have a full roster of clients and things are rolling along nicely.

A byproduct of your success is that you get less and less time to work on your own internal projects.  In this post I want to suggest that sometimes you should be setting aside time for your internal projects as if you were your own client.

“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion” – Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s law says work expands to fit the time, if you don’t add your own work into that pile, your client work will expand to fill ALL of your time.

You can tell when I have a lot on, blog posts don’t come out, and I don’t get to work on my own stuff.  This post explains how I’m planning to combat this.

Sometimes you need to be your own client:

Have A Deadline

Step one to being your own client is a deadline.  Set a deadline and keep to it.

This week I have half a day on Thursday to work on my own projects.  It’s booked out in my Weekly plan and my daily plan for today.

Have Deliverables

It’s tempting to say, I’ll do my marketing automation project (see below) in this “me as a client slot”, but that is too vague. Create real actionable items so the work gets done in the time you have available.

I have three entries this morning

  1. Write “Sometimes YOU Need To Be YOUR Own Client” blog post, publish and promote.
  2. Create module 6 of Diary Mapping – write script, record, publish in Teachable
  3. Create module 7 of Diary Mapping – write script, record, publish in Teachable

If I don’t get all of those done, I can roll them forward to “me as a client” slot next week.

If I try to cram too many items into my project time I need to learn to drop some times.

Keep To It

The easiest thing in the world is to cancel your own project work, if client work runs over or you are running behind on tasks.

Treat yourself as an annoying squeaky wheel client that is checking in and demanding work gets done.  Don’t put it off, get it done!

“You” Projects Are Valuable & Important

You’ve identified this work because it’s important to your business in the long term.

Don’t teat that new client request that has just come in as a higher priority than you, schedule the new client project appropriately but don’t give it a higher priority than yourself.

Me As A Client

I have three things I want to do in Q1 2019 and I’m booking out time for them each week.  I’m doing it on a Thursday.

Sometimes it may be half a day, sometimes a full day.  I want to do the following three things this quarter:

  1. Write a blog post each week
  2. Complete my Diary Mapping premium course
  3. Setup marketing automation for my WordPress consulting work.

These are all action items from my annual planning session I did back in November.

I’ve been setting up out of office notifications on my email to let people know I’m unavailable, and I will be slow to reply to them.

Internal Guilt Trip

I’ve been doing Thursday, with me as a client, throughout December and I have experience some internal resistance and guilt about this.

My monkey brain is shouting “You should be working on client X’s project they are paying you!”.

My rational mind needs to learn to quiet the monkey brain and tell it, “This is for the long term good, it’s only a few hours of your time, you can get to client X after lunch, you are beautiful, you are loved.”.

Well perhaps not the last two, but you should not feel bad about working on your internal projects in parallel with client projects.

That’s What Weekends & Evenings Are For Dude!

.. I hear you cry, but I’m too exhausted by client work (which already pushes into my evenings) and my weekends are a time to recharge and do fun things.

Why should my own projects be scheduled at sub-optimal times?

Wrap Up

I’m going to be using this technique to get my internal projects done this year.  Thursday is Neil time and it’s none negotiable :).

Does anyone else have any particular techniques they use to ensure their own non-client facing work gets done, discussion in the comments please.

Photo Credit: willbuckner Flickr via Compfight cc

It’s a metaphor Dude! You create a parking slot in your weekly plan and you say No Parking to client projects in that slot.

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