One of the toughest challenges of consulting is the “feast or famine” syndrome. If you’ve been doing this work for any length of time, then you have probably experienced both those times when you’re working really crazy hours and the weeks when you’re climbing the walls waiting for that next project to start. So how do you effectively juggle multiple client projects and professional commitments?
My three keys are prioritizing, productivity, and perseverance:
1. Prioritizing what has to be done when, and negotiating with clients from the start so everyone is clear on communication styles, deadlines, and so forth.
2. Productivity, as in understanding when you’re most alert (i.e., I try to schedule writing tasks for the morning and conference calls–which require a different level of brain power–for the afternoon)
3. Perseverance, as in recognizing that there may be some 7-day workweeks, but that you’ll probably get some downtime after that.
While juggling projects can be a challenge, I often find the bigger challenge for many small businesses and independent consultants is reluctance to take on more work because of fear of overload.
Has this happened to you? And what strategies do you use to juggle effectively?
Photo by Helico (Flickr).