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So I Woke Up With Collywobbles – Freelance Writers and Sick Time

sick timeAh, Tuesday’s plans went you know where in a handbasket. I woke up with collywobbles and  spent a good portion of the week in sick time.

Because I’m a freelance writer I don’t get  paid sick time the way many folks with regular jobs do.

Every now and again there’s talk about making it possible for freelancers to get sick leave, but I’m not holding my breath. A savings account can act as a buffer, but for short illnesses, the real problem is the interruption of ongoing work for clients.

For me, this breaks down into three steps. Check my calendar, email clients, and when I’m well, begin the catch-up.

Checking my calendar while bleary-eyed

I new within moments of waking up Wednesday that the day was a non-starter. After doing the minimum and feeding the cats, I sat down at my computer and checked my calendar. As it happened, I have only one project ongoing for a client at the moment.

I quickly sent an email saying I was down and taking some sick time. I also emailed my accountability partner that I wouldn’t be available for our usual call. I spent the day mostly in bed.

The next morning I had to cancel some appointments which I also did by email. Two contacts apparently don’t check their email first thing, and there were several messages from them on my phone. By the time I got to them, late in the afternoon, email had arrived from both saying they understood.

Catching up after sick time

Today I’m mostly human. I’m back at the computer and my first job was to check and see what didn’t get done. That’s fairly easy with Todoist because it let’s me know what’s overdue clearly. Then it becomes a matter of rescheduling everything.

I know I won’t get everything done in a single day that I might have gotten done in the two days of sick time, so there’s some triage I need to do. Plus, since it’s Friday, I have my master mind group. Plus I suspect I’ll need a nap in the afternoon.

No guilt allowed!

There was a time when I felt guilty every time I got a debilitating migraine or fell sick. Which is nuts. I don’t plan to be sick. I take care of myself so I’m not sick often. It’s silly to feel guilty and when I finally realized the truth of that I was able to stop blaming myself for something I couldn’t change.

Clients are generally understanding – they are human too.

If you’re sick, you’ll get well sooner and back on the job if you take care of yourself. So do that – take care of yourself.

Oh, and my one big thing project?  It’s delayed. With a little bit of luck I’ll get something done on it later today.

What’s your experience with getting sick when you’re a freelancer?

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman, freelance writer

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • I totally agree! We ARE all human and it’s only natural we get sick.

    Like you said, it’s not like we plan to be sick, so I totally agree that when you are sick it’s important to not feel guilty.

    Afterall, feeling guilty will only make it worse!

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