You’re Not Late For Work
When I first started freelancing, I would get really stressed out when a client would reach out unexpectedly and ask if I could work on a project. For some reason, my brain processed this the same way it processed being late for work. It created a freak out moment when work came up out of the blue, as if I was late for work or had forgotten something.
When I was working on teams in college, coworkers would reach out about last minute tasks, but it was usually with a recognition of my schedule and was posed as a proper question. When clients reach out, they usually don’t see me as a team member, they see me as a vendor, like an electrician or a barista. Their communication has a utilitarian tone because of that.
Over the years I’ve become more steady with last minute outreach, and it’s because I’ve developed another way to define these conversations. I’m not late for work and I’m not obligated to respond. Creating another view has helped a lot.
Boundaries, off days, and responding tactics have all helped avoid stress in this area too.
Good luck out there! You’re not late for work.