Being a freelancer is a rewarding experience, but it also comes with its own struggles. One of the most common struggles is managing time.
The more we know about time management, the more we can focus on specific practices to try and maximize our productivity while minimizing our stress and exhaustion.
Based on my experience as a freelance writer, I found that there are some things that helped me manage my time better and get more work done in less time.
We have out together the best tips for time management plus some useful tools to help manage your time in the best way.
Time management tips
Freelancers face different challenges when it comes to their time management. It can be difficult to make a living as a freelancer or stay organized. In this article, we will discuss some of the best time management tipss that can help freelancers manage their time more efficiently and effectively.
Track your time Divide tasks into smaller chunks that can be completed in shorter periods of time
– Move tasks from your daily planner into your task list on your phone so you always have a visual of what needs to get done next
– Block out time for breaks throughout the day by creating a schedule for yourself
– Create an emergency plan if you ever cannot finish everything on your schedule
#1. Avoid overlooking Time tracking
As a freelancer, you should know where you stand in terms of time management. Some freelancers tend to leave things to the last minute and end up not meeting deadlines – which can lead to other problems.
This is why it is crucial for freelancers to keep track of their time throughout the day. That way, they will be able to see how much time they spend on different activities and prioritize accordingly.
You can use a free tool like TimingTables, Toggl or any other project management software that gives you an overview of your day-to-day tasks.
#2. Take breaks
Freelancers should take breaks. Even if they are not taking breaks, there are some ways that they can take short breathers during the workday to make sure that their productivity is not compromised.
Some freelancers might think that taking breaks means dropping out of work entirely, but it should also mean switching gears and doing something different because prolonged work can be mentally exhausting.
Freelancers have a short break between projects, but they need to spend it wisely.
Ideas on how to spend your short breaks as a freelancer:
– Try a new skill, such as learning a new language or cooking a new recipe.
– Visit a museum or go on a hike. – Take the time to study the culture of your new destination and learn about its history.
#3. Set your working hours
Freelancers are usually the people who work with the most flexible schedules. With so much freedom, they can work whenever and wherever they want. But this also brings with it a few problems like lack of productivity and low monthly income.
While freelancing is great for those who own their time and don’t want to abide by strict office hours, it is not an easy job to do on a full-time basis. This is why we need to set our working hours in order to maximize productivity as well as our income as freelancers.
#4. Set your working hours
The role of a project manager is to help the team deliver their best output. The techniques and skills they use differ from person to person but what they all agree on is that making sure that each task gets the attention it deserves and then getting them completed efficiently is vital for success.
A freelancer’s job is usually focused on one tasks at a time and they need to prioritize accordingly. This means doing analysis, creating strategy and working towards finishing projects as per schedule.
#5. Leverage a strong project management solution
People are now more comfortable with outsourcing their work to freelancers. There are various factors that have contributed to the success of freelancing – increased economic development, globalisation, and emergence of new digital solutions.
Freelancing is all about how much control you have over your time and money, however, it has its share of challenges as well. One of them being being able to manage deadlines effectively.
We live in a very fast-paced world, where our time is limited and so is our patience for tasks that take hours to complete. So how can people manage deadlines effectively?
#6. Consider getting a virtual Assistant
There are many advantages to using a virtual assistant (VA). You don’t need to worry about hiring and training a human VA since the process is already automated. There is less risk of termination since the VA is not directly in your company premises.
Virtual assistants can also help you scale your business by providing you with an army of freelancers that they manage on your behalf.
#7. Eliminate distractions
As the world moves from physical to digital, it has been difficult for us to focus on our work. In order to keep up with productivity, freelancers need a way to stay focused.
As freelancers, working with distractions is inevitable. That’s why it is important to be selective about the tools that help us with this problem.
Freelancers can now use tools like Slack to make sure they are not distracted by different tasks; setting notifications for themselves and their co-workers; and using digital task management apps like Trello.
The last tool on our list is the one that eliminates all distractions by blocking access to social media, emails, and Slack during work hours.
#8. Don’t forget to snack
I would like to share with you what I learned while working with Freelancers that are always available – the importance of rest, snacks, and downtime.
Freelancers are always on the go and they need to stay energized throughout the day. If you feel like your energy levels are low, having a snack can help you recharge.
The most important thing about snacking is to make sure you have healthy options. This can prevent health problems such as diabetes and heart issues.
Types of snacks:
– Sweet: fruit, protein shake, granola bar, sliced apples and peanut butter
– Savory: edamame, hummus and pita bread
– Healthy: fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts/seeds
#9. See if Time-Blocking works
Freelancers are not the only ones who need time-blocking. Content creators with full-time jobs can also benefit from time-blocking. It’s like creating a buffer for yourself so that you don’t feel overwhelmed or stressed.
Some freelancers might not be able to afford the luxury of time-blocking, but it is recommended for everyone. Time is highly valuable resource and therefore, we should put it to good use.
#10. Work during your most active/productive hours
Work during your most active hours is best for freelancers. You should choose the time when you are feeling most productive to give yourself the best chance of getting more work done.
When you feel like you’re drowning in work, it’s safe to say that working during your least productive hours will only make things worse. You’ll burn out quickly and be forced to take a break soon afterwards, which could lead to other problems.
It’s important to take breaks so that you can re-energize, but it’s also crucial that you stay focused on what needs to get done. For example, if you’re working on an email campaign for your business, then continue with that task until it gets finished before taking a break.
#11. Create templates to simplify client communication
As freelancers, it is necessary to make sure that your communication with clients is easy and efficient. There are many ways you can do this. One way would be to create templates for common topics like proposals, contracts, agreements and invoices.
You can also use them when you have a client who needs specific information in an email or any other format they may be more comfortable with.
#12. Avoid overbooking
Freelancers should not overbook themselves and let their job be a full-time job. They should make sure to take breaks, socialize with friends and family, and even plan ahead for the next project.
It is common to overbook yourself and end up with a list of tasks that you can’t finish or don’t even start. This causes your productivity to drop and frustration builds up.
With some self-care, we can avoid some of the pitfalls of overbooking ourselves and ensuring that our workload is manageable. Here are some tips on how to avoid overbooking yourself, maintain your productivity, and be happy at work:
-Make sure you have a balance between socializing with friends and family members outside work hours and involving yourself in new hobbies within your spare time
-Don’t get too caught up in feeling obligated to attend every event or get involved in every project
-Take breaks throughout the day when it feels like you’re drowning in work – just 5 minutes away from your desk!
#13. Don’t forget to take a day off when you need to
As freelancers, we are often faced with the challenge of balancing our work and life. This is especially hard when we are not getting enough work to cover our costs.
We need to take a step back and make sure that we are giving ourselves enough time to focus on what matters most – our health and relationships.
#14. Switch Working Space
As a freelance writer, you have the freedom to work from wherever you want.
As a freelancer, you can use your time efficiently in places where there is a good internet connection and in areas that are cost-effective. You can work from home or in co-working spaces or even from your laptop while travelling.
List of Best Time Management tools for Freelancers
Clockify: An efficient time tracking tool
Toggl: Yet another time tracking tool to clock your working hours
Asana: Stay on top of your to-do with this solid project management system
ClickUp: Time/Project management tool
Google Calendar: a simple and efficient time management companion
Notion: Note-taking system for projects
Harvest: Time management system with invoicing feature
Calendly: Schedule meetings and appointments with clients
Todoist: Create a to-do list on your device