Thanks to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, freelancing has become the new normal for millions of people around the world. While freelancing has many perks, including the unparalleled flexibility brought about by setting your own hours, some freelancers may struggle to feel like an organized person at work. Fortunately, we’ve put together seven tried-and-true tips to help keep you on top of your game.
Keep a Regular Schedule and a Set Routine
With freelancers often working from home and juggling more than one project at a time it can feel like you don’t have much of a life outside of work. Designating work hours throughout your day can fix that to help you get organized at work by keeping you organized, happy and productive.
Try to develop a daily routine and stick to it, whether you’re a morning person or a night person. Giving yourself structure will ensure a better work-life balance to keep you motivated as you work toward your daily goals.
Don’t Procrastinate, Especially When it Comes to Emails
Staying organized ultimately means that you’re in total control of your tasks and responsibilities, but without a boss telling you what to do it can be difficult to feel like you’re staying organized at work. By tackling assignments and crucial emails head-on, you don’t have to worry about the unnecessary stress and anxiety that come along with a full inbox.
Creating separate folders to deal with various client emails can be a great strategy to manage your current assignments. But no matter how you organize your inbox, always make sure to reply to your bosses and clients as soon as possible, since they are your source of income.
Create To-Do Lists to Be More Organized
With assignments coming at you left, right and center, sometimes you can feel a bit overwhelmed as you struggle to tackle all of them. One helpful way to achieve your workweek goals and help you get organized at work is to write them down on a whiteboard or sheet of paper that you can place near your workstation. Additionally, create to-do lists at the start of each workday.
At the end of your work hours check your list to see if you completed all of your daily goals. If you haven’t finished everything this can provide a valuable opportunity for you to improve your time management and scheduling skills.
Minimize Distractions Around Your Workspace
Just like keeping a regular schedule while working from home is paramount to your success, minimizing distractions near your workspace is essential to getting organized. Preferably, your workstation should be far away from sources of distraction like the TV or your bed. Creating clear boundaries between your working zone and your relaxation zone is key to operating in the right headspace when it’s time for work.
If you’re working from home it’s important to understand those boundaries extend to anyone you may share your space with as well. Set clear ground rules for other people in the household by letting them know what your working hours are to help you stay organized at work and promote stress-free productivity.
Don’t Take On More Work Than You Can Handle
Not always knowing where your next paycheck is coming from can be one of the drawbacks and stressful elements of freelancing, but taking on too much work only makes that worse. Jumping at every opportunity that makes its way to your inbox can prevent you from taking on more lucrative or enjoyable assignments because your workload is already full.
Learning to say no to projects takes time but will help you stay organized as you better manage your workload. Try to find a few solid clients you enjoy working with in order to turn out quality work that you’re not rushing through rather than getting buried by too many jobs.
Keep a Detailed Ledger to Track Your Finances
Most freelancers won’t have the luxury of an HR representative tracking their finances for them, so it’s critical they stay on top of their personal finances. Keep a detailed Excel spreadsheet to track your assignments and finances in order to calculate how much you owe in quarterly self-employment taxes.
If you’re not an accounting whiz there are a number of bookkeeping services available one Google search away. These programs can help you stay organized at work by keeping track of your income and expenditures, valuable metrics when tax season comes around.
Find Personal Time to Stay Mentally Fresh
Freelancing offers incredible flexibility and it can be tempting to take on a lot of work to make more money, but a healthy work-life balance must be maintained, especially if you’re working from home. Working all the time can cause you to lose your motivation, become distracted and feel like it’s impossible to stay organized.
Take time out of each day to do things that you enjoy. Practicing mindfulness and deep breathing can alleviate stress and get you centered in order to be a successful, organized freelancer. The work will always be there, so spend time with the people that are important to you and take vacations when you can.