Happy New Years internet friends! Wishing you good jobs and success. And if I may segue... freelancers have to hustle to find jobs. We advertise, network, put out feelers, send emails and for a long time nothing happens. Then when clients finally call back, it is everyone, right now and all at once. This is the first of my short series on rush jobs.
Last November, a textbook image company contacted me to complete a group of illustrations over a weekend. Thankfully, they need time to get the files together, giving me two days. Here are some ways to prepare for a rush job:
Silence the demons
Right after fist pounding the air in the sheer joy of employment, I become doubtful. Can I really do this? As a science illustrator I get assigned wide variety of subjects and almost every job is outside my comfort zone. "Hi! I know it's Friday but we need an illustration of the muscles in an aardvark colon before the end of day Monday. We can pay $600. Are you available?" As an unknown illustrators I can't pick and choose. So in that "can I do this" moment... think about what you have accomplished in the past, your unique skills, your strengths. Tease apart what is fear and what is obstacles. Can you do this? The answer is almost always yes.
Warn your loved ones
"Dearest roommate/family, I've got a huge job this weekend. I will have to suspend many of my usual chores. There will be dirty clothes and dirty dishes. I will be distracted and possibly irritable, although I will do my best not to snap at you. If you want to help hand me food, but please don't distract me or bring up important issues right now. I promise to clean up and listen once this has passed."
Make sure all your tools are in working order and you have extra supplies. For my last job, when I downloaded Adobe Photoshop CC, there was a 24 hour wait until the payment was processed. After chatting with Adobe support to fix the payment, there was a download error that took hours to fix it.
Hide the junk food and stock up on quick meals and health snacks. If you are a stress eater, like me, you will spending your breaks wondering why there are so many cookies in your mouth. If you need to gnaw on something, try nuts and dried fruit. Make a big pot of soup or a casserole, things that you can reheat easily. Save your brain power for your work.
Clean your space, clean your mind
Do laundry. Clean the cat box. Sweep. Put away everything in your line of vision on your desk. These are distractions and it's best to remove them when you can. John Cody, one of my art heroes, spends an hour puttering in his studio before starting to work. I like to give myself ten minutes to straighten things before diving in. This is a good time to clean up your computer too. Remove cookies, defrag, empty the trash, so it runs fast as possible. Cleaning can be very meditative and grounding, which will help prepare you for stress.
Even if you only have a few hours a little preparation can go a long way.