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Blackout Dates and Freelancing

Blackout Dates and Freelancing

Something I realized recently: I need to start marking time when I won’t accept a deadline. I’ve had some that have made my live hell in the last couple years, thus the creation of what I call “blackout dates,” when a deadline will be problematic.

My current blackout dates:

  • All of April (tax time)
  • From two weeks before the start of Gen Con until two weeks after the end of Gen Con (adjusting for when Labor Day Weekend happens)[1]
  • Two days around my birthday, July 22nd.
  • Two days around New Years Day.
  • And some number of days around any convention or vacation I have coming up.

The reason for this is simple: if I have a deadline and I’m suddenly under crunch because of my life, it puts a burden on any planning for conventions of life events. And because I’m going to do paying work before those things, this means my life suffers unduly during these times.

If I don’t have a deadline during those times, it’s not as if I won’t be working. After all, having a deadline of May 1st means I need to be working during April to achieve that. However, it allows me to better interweave that into times when my life is generally in crunch mode.

This ends up being negotiable (notably in the larger windows, depending on the nature of the project), but it’s a general policy I’m starting to adopt as I’m going forward, in order to not cause the sort of hell in my life that results in lower-quality work.

– Ryan

[1] Which means I don’t take emergency “OMG we need something in time for Gen Con” projects. Those are always hellish.

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One Response to Blackout Dates and Freelancing

  1. blackcoat says:

    Yeah, establishing life/work balance as a freelancer is, in engineering terms, a Distinctly Non-Trivial Problem. I’ll be glad if your attempted solution helps with yours!