5 Time Management Tips for Freelancers
Managing your time well is a concept that everybody struggles with from time to time, regardless of their job. However, it’s no secret that freelancing, although very tempting due to the freedom you get, can take its toll the most when time management is concerned. This is true for both people who already work full-time and freelance for some extra income and people who are actually freelancing full-time.
Working from home has plenty of benefits, and it can be a dream come true for a lot of people. However, not everything is ideal and perfect with home-based jobs either. After all, you need to make sure that you stick to the schedules and fight the distractions of your personal environment.
There are several tips that can help you stay productive when working from home, but what about time management? After all, the freedom that freelancing allows can be a double-edged sword as it can take up your whole day. As you don’t have fixed working hours, your job can slowly start seeping into parts of your day that were usually reserved for relaxation, hobbies and social gatherings. And if you let this become a habit, aside from pressure and stress, the chances are that you’re going to struggle with the deadlines as well. Luckily, the following practices can boost your freelance time management skills.
1. Shut down all the distractions
Sometimes, managing your time properly seems like an impossible task for the simplest reason – you waste time on distractions. The most common types of distractions when freelancing has everything to do with social networks, and Internet in general. Therefore, this is something that you’ll have to eliminate from the start.
Don’t check your email (unless it’s a business email you need for your freelance job), log out of all social media platforms you use, and refrain from spending time on Google search for topics that have nothing to do with your tasks. Of course, try to create as much peace and order at your home office as well.
2. Work in time chunks
You may think that the longer you work without break, the more productive you’ll be. However, that’s not the case. The so-called Pomodoro technique is the best way for you to manage your time and keep your productivity at its peak. Essentially, this technique allows you to work in shorter time periods, with a small break in between.
For instance, you can work for 25 minutes without stopping, and then take a 5-minute break that you can spend however you want – as long as you don’t think about work. Such practice has proved to be a lot more effective in increasing productivity levels and concentration. If you want to finish your work in time, give it a go.
3. Freelancing is a job!
It seems like an obvious statement, but it’s paramount to recognize freelancing for what it is 100%. Of course you realize this is a job like any other, but it’s not more than that! This is something a lot of freelancers forget easily due to the fact that they work from home, and use their laptop and/or desktop computer as main tools to do the job in question.
Because of this setup and freedom you have, it’s easy to make every moment you spend at home about work. But just like with any other job, you need to set working hours for yourself when you’re working with clients remotely.
4. To-do lists to the rescue
If you’ve never made to-do lists, it’s time to start now! There are many ways to go about this. If you need to add a bit of creativity and personality to your work, you can use an interesting notebook for your to-do lists. On the other hand, you can simply use a task managing application. Whatever you choose to do, the point is to know exactly what your tasks for the day are.
It’s really easy to get lost in work and feel confused when you’re not sure what tasks have the priority for the week, or what you should do next. When making to-do lists, try to make them for a whole week in advance, with every day planned out – realistically!
Of course, there will be times when you’ll have to add some unplanned tasks, but this is exactly why you need to consult your to-do list, and make the necessary changes, so that you begin your freelancing day knowing exactly what to focus on.
5. Track your time
The key aspect of proper time management for freelancers is to know what you’re spending your time on. This goes for both billable and non-billable processes. That way you’ll be able to pinpoint any unnecessary practices as well as distractions you may haven’t been aware of before.
Also, knowing how much time is approximately required for different clients and tasks will be essential information that will allow you to create the best to-do lists, and plan your days ahead efficiently.
Just like there are tools that can help you organize your tasks for the day/week/month, there are tools that can track the time for you as well. Don’t hesitate to make the most out of technology that’s readily available and can assist you in managing your freelance projects better.