Are you a freelancer or planning to go the freelancing way? Freelancing is one of the most attractive and flexible professions you will ever get in the modern world.
Apart from focusing on your area of interest, freelancing lets you work at your own pace. You can plug in and out whenever you want to. Also, not forget the pool of knowledge you build from several client projects when you work as a freelancer.
Freelancing has become more popular than ever before thanks to the pandemic, technological advancement, and resources that are readily available to freelancers. Also, the need for work-life balance that freelancing tends to guarantee is also another major driver.
The lateststatistics indicate that the freelance industry in the US makes up 5% of the total GDP and that the country saw a major demand for freelancers in 2020. The report also confirms that 53% of Generation Z are freelancers and 46% of freelancers choose freelancing because of the flexibility.
But what is the major concern when it comes to freelancing?
Freelancing is a great opportunity to gain full control over your career and personal life. You will mostly accept projects depending on your availability, resources, and interests. You will surely ditch projects that are unethical in your view, pour out your soul on projects that bring out the best version of you or skills, and certainly reject those that don’t pay well.
As all that seems to be in your own hands, there is another side to freelancing and it’s none other than time. Working as a freelancer can easily make you lose track of time. You will tend to procrastinate, enjoy more free time than required or end up submitting half-baked projects simply because you couldn’t plan well.
A successful career in freelancing is built around time. There are times when you will have multiple projects at your table or will be tempted to postpone a few of them simply because an urgent task came in.
So, owning and taking control of the available time is essential. If you’re a freelancer, here are some of the best ways you can ensure proper time management to avoid chaos in your career.
1. Create a Professional Work Environment
As millions were confined to their homes during the early phases of the 2020 pandemic, managers had to find ways for business continuity. Work from home became the new norm and up to now, remote work cultures are on the rise. However, we all saw how unplanned “work from home” can be. People can sign in to work while still in pajamas, work from their beds or doze off during video conferencing.
All this is inevitable in a life of a freelancer since you’re your own boss. A continued workstyle like this can kill creativity, time, and productivity. You tend to postpone projects, take a nap whenever you want to, or even handle projects for the mere sake of completing them.
So as a freelancer, ensure to find a dedicated space that’s professional and related to the kind of work you do. Whether you choose to work from your bedroom, kitchen counter, or home office, it must be comfortable and professional enough. This will inspire creativity and productivity for you to achieve your goals. Get a comfortable chair, and table with a proper height and have all your work materials in place.
Working from a nonprofessional space can lead to time wastage as you will tend to switch positions in search of comfort or misplace your resources. Therefore, create a dedicated workspace to ensure that you complete projects on time.
2. Get All Necessary Resources in Place
As a freelancer, you must manage your work from all angles. Whether it’s related to internet connectivity, desktop computer, automation, or software, you have to ensure that they all work effectively or have the right tech support.
You must have high-speed internet to ensure timely communication with your clients and even to submit projects on time. You ought to know that technical issues are also inevitable and for that, you must have a backup.
Instead of working from home, some freelancers nowadays opt for coffee shops and coworking spaces. These places allow flexibility and are professionally designed with all the facilities you can ever require to work comfortably. If you realize that working from home is reducing your productivity or exhibiting many challenges that waste your time, then it’s high time you thought about a coworking space or a cafe to help you keep deadlines.
3. Create a To-Do List
When you’re getting multiple tasks from different clients, it’s quite easy to lose track of them. You may even forget others in the pipeline. In case you want to manage projects within the available time, then begin with creating a to-do list.
Crafting and following a to-do list is one of the most effective ways to manage your time and meet deadlines. However, an effective to-do list must have your tasks clearly graded depending on the most important or urgent to the least.
Prioritizing tasks will help you allocate and complete each task within a given period of time. Another way to keep track of your tasks is to write them as soon as you get them. Also, ensure to follow a single to-do list as multiple lists will cause disorganization. Remember to revise your to-do list daily to keep track of the due dates. In fact, using the Pareto Principle to set your task priorities for managing your to-do list.
4. Be Realistic
It’s quite easy to get thrilled with clients’ compliments to the extent of accumulating more than you can handle. You will also sometimes feel the urge of being the savior of the day at the expense of other projects or your personal time. With that, ensure to be realistic by accepting projects depending on the available time or due date. Also, learn to say no!
Taking on multiple projects isn’t bad since it’s one way to make more money, but you must be realistic with time. Taking on many projects within the same time span won’t give you breathing space and will most probably cause burnout. Follow a criterion when accepting projects and ensure to analyze the due date in a way that doesn’t exert pressure on you.
5. Adopt the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique is one of the most effective time management approaches anyone in the professional landscape can follow. Developed in the late 1980s by then university student Francesco Cirillo, the technique requires one to divide tasks into 25-minute intervals with a 5-minutes break in between.
These intervals are known as Pomodoros and after every four Pomodoros, one must have a longer break of 15-20 minutes. The Pomodoro technique instills a sense of urgency which makes one think that they have limited time. It also helps one identify distractions and make better decisions on how to eliminate them.
All you need to implement this technique is a timer or you can choose from a range of Pomodoro apps available on the market i.e Pomodor and Toggl Track.
6. Say No to Procrastination
Delaying to execute a task until the last minute is what procrastination means. Although it may not always have a negative effect, procrastination is at times an irrational way of managing tasks. This causes us to rush through things at the last hour to get done with them or meet the deadline.
The negative effect of it is always in the quality. Most projects that are done hastily fail to meet the expected quality standards. On the other hand, one might find no time to complete a task, yet it’s due. It should be noted that there are two forms of procrastination and they include;
It is when one delays executing a task because working under pressure motivates them. It is a good type of procrastination but not always guaranteed to produce the best results.
It is when one delays a task because they find it hard to make decisions. This type of procrastination is quite dangerous as it affects one’s personality and decision-making skills.
7. Use Time Tracking Tools
Proper time management is one of the essential skills to become successful in the modern world. Fortunately, apart from your smartwatch, there are many other tools that can help you keep track of time. Time management tools can not only help you manage your time effectively, but they can also help to ensure productivity.
Whether you’re collaborating with a colleague or handling a solo project, there are a few time tracking tools such as DeskTime, Toggl Track, and Hours among others you can use as a freelancer.
Are you a Freelancer Who Wants to Stay Ahead of Time?
Keeping time is crucial in life and you ought to know that time lost is never found. When we master the skill of time management, it can help us obtain more opportunities in our professional life. Besides that, it will help us escape stress or burnout and achieve a better work-life balance.
We have mentioned several ways freelancers can manage their time effectively. These are not just imagined approaches but many professionals swear by them. You can adopt a few of them to ensure that you manage your time appropriately.