What I'm reading: Places by Colette
What's on the iPod: The Way We Move by Langhorne Slim & The Law
These days, I try to stick with three to four at a time, as long as the deadlines are staggered enough. If not, something has to give.
It's a tough thing for us to have to find time to be present for each client in the same way. We writers want to be that go-to person, the one who's reliable and who gives 100-percent attention. In that one case, I didn't (I couldn't). It cost me the gig and any future gigs.
Still, there are ways to fit a lot of work into a small amount of time. Here are some things I do:
Schedule each one. Right now, two hours in the morning is devoted to Project 1, and three hours in the afternoon goes to Project 2. With that schedule, I can fit in blogging, researching, and marketing. Now with Project 3 showing up, that has to be tweaked. That one takes priority as the deadline is closer.
Negotiate the deadline. With one of the projects, I was able to say "I won't be in for a week. Could we push that back one more week?" No problem. Because I said so at the outset, I was able to buy that extra time and not have to disappoint them. If the deadline you're given doesn't work, try getting a different one.
Don't waste time. If you can spend time on an outline at the outset, you'll find the writing goes a lot faster. Also, look for ways to maximize your time in front of the project -- turn off the phone, shut down email, and go into your writing cave for a while. Also, disappear from social media. No one will notice your absence unless you already have a pretty bad habit.
Take a break. I don't know about you, but I do my best work when I'm not stressed. Sure, my back could be to the wall, but knowing I have a plan that allows me time to have lunch or toss laundry in makes me feel on top of things. The moment things spiral a bit, you'll see your stress level shoot up. Make sure you build small breaks into your schedule.
Add an hour to your day. I'd suggest you add an hour of work time at the beginning of the day when you're still fresh. It's found time, and it's time you can use to get on top of those deadlines.
How do you make time for your writing client?