Yesterday was much more productive than I expected. I finished a smallish project in the morning, then devoted the afternoon to research and outlining an article. A large project due in a few weeks ago has a delivery date – I should see it by the end of the week/Monday of next week. That gave me enough time to get the stuff on the desk started and in great shape.
Control. What an illusion! Just when I thought I had a handle on things, another project came rolling in from one of the queries sent out last week. Great! Only… deadline is sooner than expected. Still, it’s a month out. I tend to panic prematurely, but the result of said panic is work that’s done ahead of schedule. I’d much rather pop a Tums or two than miss a deadline.
Then comes the delusional thoughts – what if all of those queries I sent last week are accepted? There were three others. They were targeted. Hey, it’s possible. Okay, not probable, but possible. Even the best-targeted queries get rejected for one reason or another.
What I noticed is that the long-tail project will finish October 1st. Let’s hope. I’ve blocked out a few weeks after that for Ireland. It’s one of those projects where despite the best intentions of all involved, it could hit the fan quickly and unravel.
So what do you do when work extends into your personal life? You don’t let it. My plan going forward is to finish the projects in front of me ASAP, then concentrate additional time to the long project, and yes, I may even work a weekend or two if need be. The work isn’t hard – just time-consuming. If the plans get screwed up on the other side of the working relationship, I will take that vacation anyway. Tickets are non-refundable. The client knows my time constraints. I’ll do my best, but I won’t lose money because of someone else’s bad planning, indecision, foot dragging, plagues, or locusts.
I purposely avoided vacations this August (I usually head to Ontario twice a summer) so I could get work commitments completed. I couldn’t expect that planning an October getaway would interfere with a project I’m about to be assigned. But as I said, the client knows. It’s up to me to be available within reason, not endlessly.
How do you handle projects and time away?