There is a lot to love about working as a freelancer or independent contractor. These lucky men and women can work from home – or at the local coffee shop. They are free to set their own hours and choose their own clients.
Best of all freelancers do not have anyone looking over their shoulders. As long as the work gets done and the clients are satisfied, the process does not matter.
In some ways, however, the greatest strength of the freelance lifestyle, namely the ability to work independently, is also its greatest weakness. When you work as a freelancer, your income is a function of your productivity, and poor time management skills could take a big bite out of your bottom line. With that in mind, here are 10 of our favorite time management tips for the freelance worker.
- Download and use time management and productivity boosting apps. Technology can be your friend, so take advantage of the tools that are available.
- Recognize the limitations of your multitasking prowess. You might like to think that you are a master multitasker, but be realistic about your abilities. Sometimes it is better to focus on one task at a time.
- Outsource time wasting tasks. If you are in a position to do so, outsourcing routine but time-intensive tasks will allow you to use your skills in more productive ways.
- Turn off notifications on your smartphone during working hours. Those constant interruptions can sap your productivity and waste your time.
- Set a daily schedule. Flexibility is important to freelancing success, but so is structure. Think about the things you need to achieve each day, and set your schedule around those critical tasks.
- Take time to relax. It is easy to get overwhelmed when you are solely responsible for your income, so take a few minutes each day to relax and unwind. Go for a walk, draw a bubble bath, do some exercise or just sit and stare into space. You will feel better, and the quality of your work will benefit.
- Make a to-do list. When you are sitting and relaxing in the evening, take a few minutes to build a to-do list for the following day. This simple task will bring added structure to your endeavors and help you get more done.
- Track your time. If you are trying to improve your time management skills, start by creating a baseline. Tracking your time on common tasks will give you a place to start – and a goal to work toward.
- Block out distractions. It is easy to get distracted, especially when you are working from home. Do not be afraid to close the door and block out those distractions.
- Learn to say no. Wasting time on unreasonable requests and outsized expectations is bad for your freelance career – and your self-esteem. Learning how to say no is a key time management skill every freelancer should learn.
Life as a freelancer can be great, especially if you value your freedom and flexibility. The chance to make a living on your own terms is certainly attractive, and with the right time management skills you can take charge of your life and supercharge your earning power. The 10 time management tips listed above can get you started, so you can enhance your productivity and wow your clients.