ASK DN: How do you handle full time + freelance work

almost 8 years ago from , Latex Salesman - Vandelay Industries

I'm currently doing both full-time and freelance work. And to be honest, the freelance work is taking up a lot of my time for friends/loved ones/exercise/etc.

Without totally nixing freelance work, how have you successfully managed your time?

Note: I realize saying no is a powerful thing, that I fully use, but just curious how some manage to juggle time effectively.


  • Chris Aalid, almost 8 years ago


    9 points
  • Mal SMal S, almost 8 years ago


    5 points
  • Benjamin ValmontBenjamin Valmont, almost 8 years ago

    I follow a strict schedule. I try to approach the workweek as a WORK week, so no appointments with friends/family. I meticulously plan my evenings to work on personal projects or learn new techniques. I do my exercise during the dinner break at work and I head home around 4pm which always leaves me a nice chunk of time in the evening.

    I also try to create graphics and code that I can use for projects both at work and home, which often helps me build things quicker and create ideas faster. Basically like building a huge template-y thing in code and sketch that I can use in all my projects without having to go back every time and start from scratch.

    3 points
  • glen elkins, almost 8 years ago

    I get up a couple hours early and walk to my local coffee shop and work from 7-8:45am on freelance.


    • The morning is the most productive time of the day for me

    • I love having some time to myself in the morning to get the day straightened out

    • I sprinkle in some emails, and RSS reading as well, so I'm more productive for the rest of the day

    • Coffee

    3 points
  • Enakshi RoyEnakshi Roy, almost 8 years ago

    Set realistic timelines with your freelance clients (I usually always tell them about my full-time job so they're prepared). Space out the project so you have time for your peeps, and get to do your job as well. (If watching a horror movie keeps you up some nights, use that to your advantage!)

    2 points
  • Elizabeth AdamsElizabeth Adams, almost 8 years ago

    I know the drill. I'm in a full-time position in a pretty intense studio, and my freelance work has been on an upward trajectory ever since I started doing serious gigs a year or so ago.

    Here's what I tell myself to stay sane, though I'll admit that these are often aspirational rather than hard rules.

    1. If you're getting more work than you can handle, raise your rates.
    2. Reserve a few nights each week for down time. Accept only enough freelance work to spend 3 or 4 nights a week doing the gigs, and be diligent about respecting your down time.
    3. Bake timelines into your work agreements, and communicate that you'll be less available to your clients if they choose to mope/procrastinate/doodle around/generally ignore your timelines.
    4. Keep in mind that the intensity of your current work schedule is sort of a life phase that you'll go through for a while. Save up that cash, work hard as long as you don't burn out, and know that this energy won't stay around your whole life, so use it well while you can, and do good. Help people.
    1 point
  • Wil NicholsWil Nichols, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )


    Honestly, though — if you enjoy it, find a way. I'm balancing between uni, full-time design position, a consulting gig, and a few personal projects. The full-time project is incredibly interesting and the folks are a pleasure to work with, my involvement in the personal projects is minimal save for oversight, and the consulting gig is a client from years ago who never quite wrapped.

    I don't balance well, but it's all interesting enough that at the end of the week, I've covered (hopefully) all of my bases. If that weren't the case, I'd have dropped the personal projects and consulting, and gone ahead with only classes and full-time.

    1 point
    • Andrei ScarlatescuAndrei Scarlatescu, almost 8 years ago

      Sounds like a tight schedule. Would love to hear more about how you manage your timetable.

      1 point
    • Art Vandelay, almost 8 years ago

      Yea as the other comment said, sounds like a tight schedule. I'm working on the some sort of thing (change out uni for full-time job) but add a girlfriend whom I love dearly.

      The tight schedule is fine for me but not for our relationship so trying to figure it all out.

      0 points