Do you know the expression, “Time is money”? If you know it, that is good. But if you do not know it, then you will be able to understand this quote perfectly once you start freelancing. This field teaches you the importance of time in the best possible way than any other kind of work. Time management is really very important for freelancers. Because if you waste your precious working hours then you are throwing the money out of the window with your own hands.
According to a 2019 report, 57 million Americans work as freelancers. It is a lifestyle that comes up with lots of flexibility and within a median hourly wage of $28. Apart from your 9-5 office job, you have to learn how to manage your time properly and make it productive.
It is obvious that if you are facing problems with time management then you are unable to maximize your professional output, as well as your earning power, will be limited. Whether you are just getting started on the freelance path, or you need a reminder of how to make your workday productive, following time management tips will help.
Make a schedule for Time Management
Freelancers do not have fixed schedules. They rather have a flexible schedule. The common mistake that new freelancers make is taking advantage of this flexible schedule by procrastinating the tasks they had to perform. The best thing is to make a schedule and then stick to it.
In order to make a schedule, you have to fix the time in which you will work. It might be 8-4, or 9-5, or 10-6, or whatever time you want. Try to work during the day time. If you want to ask something from your clients and they do not answer immediately, then do not waste your time and move on to your next task. As Pericles says:
“Time is the wisest counselor of all”
You have to plan to work at a particular time and try to make it regular. It helps you to make a balance between your work life and your fun life. It also makes it easier to earn a living as a full-time freelancer.
Build detailed to-do lists
The most important and valuable tool for managing your time as a freelancer is creating your own to-do lists. You can make the best to-do list by including the following things:
- Include the particular project notes on which you are working currently
- Include the technical requirements from various clients
- Use colors of different types so that it will help visually to organize your work
- If your list is handwritten, then all is good. But if your list is digital, then link it to in-progress documents
Some studies claim that these to-do lists can be a graveyard for non-urgent tasks. But, with the time being such a finite resource for so many freelancers, it is almost never a good idea to “wing it”.
Keep it in mind that this to-do list is only applicable to you. It can be either simply jotted down or you can use different apps for making the list. You should also write the whole thing in your to-do list rather than just titles or jumbling of words. You should have to write important links or comments from clients.
Take days off
When you are making the schedule make sure that you leave some time for not-working. Taking time for yourself is not just fun and games, rather it is an essential part of work-life balance.
You have to do this to make your work more effective and productive plus your mind needs some time to relax. All work and no play means no creativity, increased stress, even cognitive impairment. Keep it in mind, “Work to live, do not live to work”.
Time Management tips
When the deadlines are about to meet, you have to work some extra hours in order to complete the required assignment. Make sure there are enough hours in the day by having a regular stopping time.
You should also give yourself some days off or in other words you need a break from your regular work life. By taking days off means you can either go on the vacations or you can plan ahead and think about your finances.
Remember that you are in charge of your mind
The bottom line of being a super-productive and reliable freelancer in a world where most people frankly do not follow through is that clients come to rely on you. Do you know what is wrong with all this? Nothing, of course, nothing, until you keep it in mind that you are neither their employee nor your boss.
As a freelancer, your sole purpose is to that whatever you are doing is the best of your ability, i.e. to help your client achieve their goals. You do all this for the sake of money. No matter how much you love your work or your clients, remember the essential facts. Your loyalty should be only with your own business.
So, does that mean you will not help your client in case of an emergency? No, it is not the case. Rather it is a good idea to accommodate client requests when you are able. It builds the relationship and helps you to trust and gain confidence.
Most importantly, it is the right thing to do. Lastly, if your client overpowers you with work then establish your boundaries as soon as possible because you, yourself, are in charge of your mind.
Go offline to minimize distractions
Even the most self-disciplined freelancer can be jarred by sudden notification or buzz from their phone. And if these notifications occur frequently enough, these distractions may drain several productive hours from your day. The solution to this problem is going offline during the hours of your work. You should put all your gadgets aside to avoid pop-ups or incoming message alerts.
- If you cannot help yourself to avoid messages but peek at your emails or scrolling through social media, try one of the following apps:
- Freedom is the best option although features in its free version are limited
- Hocus Focus is a great free tool for ipads, phones, or Mac users that only allow you to view one window at a time
- Some other effective free alternatives to Freedom are Focus Me and Self Control
If you are not able to manage your time around all these distractions, then there is nothing impossible for you.
Time management for Freelancers is astoundingly important. It will help you to accomplish your goals in time, focus on meeting crucial deadlines, assist more clients, and grow your freelance business. Good time management is not an option for freelance writers. It is a must. If you are able to perform the tasks and get the things done in a timely manner both your sanity and your wallet will suffer consequences. As William Penn says: