Table of Contents
- 5 Time Management Tips for Freelancers
- Key Takeaways
So many professionals do not like 9-5 jobs and believe they have so much to offer than just sticking to a single organization’s monotonous work. Freelancing provides professionals the opportunity to work on different projects and be free at the same time. But the life of a freelancer is not so easy. It takes time to juggle multiple projects, clients and build yourself up to a position where you can demand what you truly deserve.
Here are 5 top time management tips you can consider to manage your freelancing career.
5 Time Management Tips for Freelancers
To succeed in anything, time management is of utmost importance. It becomes more important for a freelancer who does not have the “work environment” that a 9-5 employee has and is paid by the hour/project. Time is literally money for a freelancer.
Here are some of the best time management tips for freelancers:
1. Decide on your working hours
As a new freelancer, you might feel you have 24 working hours to take all the work that comes your way. Unfortunately, that’s not true and not advisable as well. It is very important to strive for a work-life balance. The sooner you learn it, the better. Sure, you want to work hard and make as much money as possible but do not go overboard. Decide the number of working hours that work for you and try to stick to it on most days. This will give you clarity on how much more work to take/reject.
2. List all your projects/clients.
Let’s say you have decided on 5 projects/clients, based on your working hours. Now, what task needs to be worked on first? What are the deadlines? How much time does each project need? These questions need your immediate attention because this will help you prioritize your work and make deliverables easier and faster.
Making a list of your projects and clients and keeping it in a place where you can always look at it will help you stay more focused and on top of your deadlines.
3. Strategize your work style
When do you work best? Night or day? Do your clients require you during the day? Ask these questions when deciding how and when you feel you would be most productive to work.
How do you want to work? Do you want to play music while working? Do you want to keep away from all the distractions (phone, personal emails, etc.)? Want to work for long/short intervals? How many breaks do you want to take? Because you are your own boss, you have the extra responsibility to be strict with yourself and define a working style that works best for you.
There are many popular tools and techniques to improve your time management: the Pomodoro technique, timeboxing method, time management apps, etc. Keep experimenting until you decide the one that works the best for you.
4. Make a schedule
Having a flexible routine can be as challenging as it is attractive. Because there is no work environment or a fixed schedule that a 9-5 job provides, you have to motivate yourself to get up and start your day simultaneously every day. But is it essential to have a schedule? Isn’t that the advantage of freelancing? Yes, it is important to have a schedule. One of the best practices for time management is having a schedule because it helps you achieve much more the right way.
The most common mistakes freelancers make are going with the flow and taking advantage of the flexible routine. This can very easily lead to procrastination and work-life imbalance. But if you have a schedule and stick to it, you have defined your work hours and separated them from your personal time. This makes it easier for you to fully concentrate on work and then disengage when the work hours are over.
5. Practice the art of saying NO
The ability to draw boundaries is the most important skill anyone can learn – more so, a freelancer. The idea of taking up more work is attractive, agreeing to unnecessary changes/added work by the client seems easier, rejecting an underpaying job is difficult, but only till you set your boundaries and say no to anything you think you do not deserve. What has this to do with time management, you might ask. Time spent on anything that does not add value to your life is wasted. So, one of the best ways to manage time is to learn to say NO.
Remember, you are your boss; you can create your ideal professional/personal life by just learning to say NO at the right time. An excellent tip for freelancers – do not be afraid to let go of a job that you do not have time for, push back against unnecessary, unpaid work and negotiate for more time and money.
- To maintain a work-life balance, decide how many hours you would want to work and try to stick to it most days.
- Making a list of your clients and projects will help you stay motivated.
- Figuring out how you work the best will help you churn out your best work.
- A daily schedule/routine makes you stay productive.
- Learning to say NO to clients/projects/situations will help you focus on more meaningful stuff.
For freelancers, it is their job to bring a method into their chaos. Because of the multiple projects/clients you handle, it is important to stay on top of your deadlines, keep the channel of communication open with clients, keep distractions away and work in a manner that takes your productivity to the highest level. One of the best tips for freelancers is establishing a system and sticking by it.
As difficult as it may be, making a strict schedule and sticking to it helps.
The best time management techniques are planning work hours, prioritizing work, deciding work styles, making a daily schedule, and setting boundaries.
Calendars, time management apps, time trackers, etc., are some of the best ways to manage time.
Time management is important to stay productive, finish your work on time, and do more work.
To each his own. There is no correct number of hours that every freelancer should work for. Each one should decide on their own.
Yes, freelancers can work full time. It depends on how many hours a day you want to work.