One of the biggest challenges that freelancers face is proper time management and motivation. A number of distractions surround the freelancers who work from home or share their workspaces. While working as your own boss can be exciting, at times it can be challenging for freelancers. They face this problem particularly to make a balance between their personal and professional lives. The flexible work schedule comes with its own pros and cons. Yet, the greatest concern for most of the freelancers is losing the track of their precious time. You may start your journey as a freelancer or can be an existing freelancer in search of time management tips. Meanwhile, the below five guidelines will help you improve in all aspects of your career:
Make a To-do List
The secret behind the success of most of the freelancers and solo workers is they log their tasks. Subsequently, they tick them off one by one as they finish. As freelancers frequently work with a flexible schedule, without proper planning this flexibility results in unwanted delays.
The best way to keep yourself focused and efficiently utilize your time is to create to-do lists. By creating a to-do list and carefully prioritizing projects, tasks and final deliverables, you can schedule your work specifically. Make to-do lists which can be practically followed and not those that are beyond your capabilities. Tools such as Todoist are helpful for managing your tasks. Moreover, they also remind you about the tasks due for the day or the week.
Meticulously Track Your Time
The most common mistake that freelancers make is they fail to keep a track of their time. This further results in frustration caused due to figuring out the amount of time spent on a particular project. Tracking your time is not only essential for your personal analysis but also crucial for accurately billing your clients. You need to take into account the time consumed on client interactions and prior research and analysis as well. This will be helpful in making accurate time and rate estimations for future projects. Time tracking tools such as Chrometa and Timely are great in tracking the number of hours you have spent. With the help of these apps, you do not need to worry about manually recording your time. These apps work perfectly in the background while capturing the time spent on your every move.
Stay Away from Pesky Distractions
The greatest threats affecting the productivity of most of the professionals are mobile phones, social media, and instant messaging platforms. Meanwhile, there is an ideal way to stop these distractions from hindering your work. And, this is to create and religiously follow a strict work schedule which is free from pesky distractions. Take some time off either in between your work or after finishing it. You need to do this for checking and replying to emails, messages and indulging in the pleasures of social media. Apart from causing unwanted delays in your work, these distractions are the main reasons behind reduced efficiency and productivity. Start with an honest evaluation of your time spent and gradually eliminate these distractions from your production mode.
Plan Your Work and Days Wisely
You are in charge of your own time and work. Hence, remember that you are solely responsible for your efficiency and the rapport with your clients. To be a successful freelancer, it is essential to establish trust with your clients by sticking to your commitments. Moreover, you are responsible to help your clients achieve their goals. Hence, commit only to the work that is within your reach. You may help your clients in case of emergencies. You may also fulfill their prompt requests. Also, you can easily accommodate these requests in your pre-defined schedule. These things will also be helpful in building a reliable and confident relationship. However, being a freelancer is not only about following your client’s instructions blindly. Freelancing also permits you to set your own working parameters and schedule. And what more, these would be in line with the client requirements.
As solo professionals, freelancers are often seen working on weekends and public holidays. While continuously working can help you make enough money, at times it can take a toll on your health. Plan your schedule wisely where you have enough time for your personal well-being and for your loved ones. You may have a schedule with intermittent small breaks in a workday followed by a week or month off. This will help you boost your spirit and increase your productivity.
Say No to Inefficient Work
As a freelancer, your loyalty should first be towards your business and then towards your clients. Initially, it might be appealing to accept all the projects that come in your way, but gradually you may understand that not all projects are fit for your expertise. Freelancers overburdened with unwanted work often find themselves deprived of energy and enthusiasm which might decrease the quality of other valuable work. Once you learn and begin differentiating between the work you should be taking and the work that you need to reject, you will effectively take control of your time.
Also, it does not matter if you let go of clients who consume a lot of time or fail to pay the much-deserved amount for your hard work. The time saved on unwanted clients and work can be used for taking better projects and making more valuable clients. Just make sure to politely decline the extra work which doesn’t enhance the value of your portfolio and rationally negotiate for the time you will be investing in your future projects.
The Bottom Line
Perfecting the art of upright time management cannot be done overnight. Similar to other aspects of your profession, it needs constant assessment and efforts to transform and improve. As time management is a personal issue, the above tips need to be accepted and adapted to particular situations and contexts. It is important to evaluate your different systems and find out the strategies that will complement your work style and improve your returns on the time invested.
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