Ahh yes, the freelance life. Where you’re in control of your own time. Get to choose your vacation days. It all sounds great in theory right?
Right! In theory! But the truth is, without time management skills freelancing could quickly become your worst nightmare. Trust us - it doesn’t have to be! We are here to help you improve your time management and actually ENJOY freelancing!
Set time limits!
If you know something usually takes you an hour, time yourself! I’ve found that when you put on a tracking tool, you’ll stop yourself from letting distractions in and actually focus on the task at hand.
Why? Because you’ll see how you’re spending time and be motivated to make every minute count!
There are plenty of independent time tracking softwares like Harvest, or better yet, why not use a project management software that has time tracking included?
Block out times on your calendar to get things done
This is especially important if you have a team that has access to your schedule, or you run a business based on your availability.
The most common time to set yourself as “busy” is the first two hours of a Monday morning, or whatever the first day of your working week is. Setting time aside to set up your week will equal a fresh start to the week, and less wasted time. A win, win!
Daily to do list - need I say more?
If spending a couple of hours at the beginning of your working week is beneficial for time management - then creating daily tasks at the beginning of each day is just taking it to the next level.
A daily to do list is good to have to help you stay on track, but be realistic. Sometimes your day won’t go to plan, important emails come up - disasters happen with campaigns… the list goes on. Which brings me to my next point...
Tackle the urgent and important tasks first!
Sometimes the most important tasks can be the ones you’re avoiding...but trust me - the more you procrastinate and delay them, the bigger the burden they become!
Start your morning fresh and tackle your most important tasks first. For me personally, it means the ones that are due first. The most urgent tasks! This way, I know that I haven’t missed any important deadlines, and then I don’t feel stressed for the rest of the day.
Set S.M.A.R.T goals
If you don’t know what a S.M.A.R.T goal is - then get to know them… real quick!
Specific. Measurable. Actionable. Relevant. Time-bound.
For each new project you have, or even for your own business goals, set S.M.A.R.T goals to help you stay on track. Set goals that are specific - so you know when you have achieved them. These can be short term or long term goals - as long as they help you stay focussed on the ultimate goal - to enjoy your new life as a freelancer! More on how to stay focused and productive as a freelancer here.
While there are plenty of other time-saving tips we could give you today, I’ll stop here - to save you even more time!
Effective time management is important for you to have the freedom you desire as a freelancer. Without processes in place and hard work put in, you won’t get that work-life balance that being a freelancer entails.
But with good time management, you will flourish! Not only will you feel more productive, you will achieve better results for your clients, your business and your overall life!
So… book out your two hours tomorrow morning - and set up your tasks for the week. Go on, I dare you!