Time management for freelancing life

Time management for freelancing life

Time management for freelancing life

There are thousand upon thousand written articles about time management. The biggest challenge is getting all the work done in the amount of time given by a work day. Everybody has a recipe and some are more “tasty” and others just plain suck.

After reading avidly everything that passed my eyes about time management, I thought to put the best advises into an article so that they will inspire even more people.

Lack of focus? here’s how to get back to productive mode

Freelancing means working outside an office space and making your own schedule. Some days you pull 10 to 12 hours, other days you can barely get one task done. This happen to all of us and it is a natural way to distress the mind. But getting back in the game can’t take forever so here is what you need to do:

1. Keep a list of TO DO every day or every week

If you are a gadget lover, then an online list kept on Wunderlist, Trello or Evernote that you access on your smart phone will come in handy. Fill in all the tasks that you need to do every week and write in the new ones that come up every day. After a task is done at the end of the day, you can have the satisfaction of writing them off the list.

If you are a pen and paper type of person, then a yellow pad or an agenda will help. Keep them close to you when working and after a task is done you can cross it over with a green marker.

Might help if you have a time in the week for routine tasks like reports, content creation, writing, etc. I find it very productive to do this on weekends when no one is stressing me with emails or phone calls.

2. Know your habits

Distractions creep in when you are a freelancing worker and there is no “personal phone calls policy” at the office and no restricted sites. Since these are some of the perks of being a freelancer, you need to establish some limits to your distraction time allowed between working hours.

Use a time tracker to know how much time you spend on playing Candy Crush or Clash of Clans, how much you answer emails, and how much you spend doing the daily assigned tasks. RescueTime is a little Chrome extension that monitors what time is spent where and at the end of the week gives you a full report of what you did.

Another time monitor is TrackingTime for those who freelance outside the office. It works like a chronometer for every task you do, so just set in the types of tasks to monitor and don’t forget to track them.

3. Limit some online distractions

Spending too much time on Twitter or Facebook when your work is not related to those social media channels is a huge distraction. Put a temporary stop to these distraction with Block site extension for Chrome. This way you can focus on the job at hand and enjoy social media later when your productivity juices are running out.

Remember, getting distracted is like killing the momentum in a speed race and it takes some time to get back to the train of thought you had before. So schedule in the distraction time so you can take a breather as often as you need so that when you are working you get the most of it.

Optimize your work time

After making a list, tracking your time and blocking distracting sites, you should get a good picture of how your work time looks like. Some patterns will emerge after a couple of weeks and this gives you some data to work with.

Establish your free time at first so are motivated to do the job in the given time or else cut your free time. This is motivation enough for some.

After establishing how much time you really spend doing work stuff, organize what to do and when. Here are some useful tips:

1. Prioritize

Good time management starts right here. You have a list of tasks by now so you just have to do them according to your work habits. If you get up early in the morning before the morning-email-rush then do your most engaging work now. They call the first awake in the morning the golden hour for a reason!

2. Break a complex task into little simple tasks

Working a whole day on a complex task sucks. Instead break it into smaller pieces and tackle then one day at the time. This will cut the anxiety and procrastination of getting it done.

3. Avoid multi-tasking

It has been proved that multi-tasking is in fact diving the full attention to multiple tasks. So none gets the full attention and is like driving while speaking on the phone and listening to loud music all at once. There are rules that forbid this for a reason.

Instead, delegate simpler tasks to others and just supervise them. You will get more things done and raise a team of people to work for you and help you prosper.

4. Set in some buffer time

Don’t pack everything closely together. Live is some time between meetings or between deadlines. Allow yourself a breathing window between mind consuming tasks so you can be more productive.

5. Debrief with other freelancers in your field

Sometime is great to talk to others about the challenges of your freelancing career. You might help them with advice, they might give you some unexpected feedback, and together you can exchange know how and work experiences. This taps in that primal need of belonging to a group of people similar to you.

In conclusion, better management of time is about knowing your self and working with your habits not against them. Also, trying out new advice about time management from other freelancers like you is a gold mine!

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