The consulting balancing act

Too much work? Never! Keep piling on the work, as long as the cheques are rolling in — that was my mantra when I started out in consulting. If making $12,000 in one month was good, then making more than that was even better, right?

Ten years have gone by and I’m much more likely now to say no to work. Managing my schedule is a delicate balancing act. It’s important to me that I have time for family, myself, recreation and sleep — not just work. I sometimes say no to work, even when the opportunity looks fabulous. I’ve learned that money isn’t everything. I can’t buy more time with family and I can’t function on six hours of sleep for months on end.

Over at Future of the Web, Jesse Skinner has similar thoughts about his first eight months as a consultant. He also notes the importance of scheduling "free" work for friends and family.

Related:

Fortunate for time, unfortunate for cash-flow ;-)

Andrea says:

Well, that’s fortunate! I think my initial challenges stemmed from taking on 60-80 hours of work a week and then often saying yes to more. These days, I accept a much more balanced workload, especially since I know more work is around the corner.

I’ve never had that problem. After four years, I’ve learned to over-commit in order to have enough paying work in the funnel. I have yet to have more work than I can handle. Almost every project that I have had has been delayed, canceled or decreased in size/scope by the client, leaving me more than enough time to do the work.