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5 Best Time-Management Tips for Freelancers

5 Best Time-Management Tips for Freelancers

Time is the most precious resource we have, for it cannot be replenished. However, if you are a freelancer, effective time management isn’t simply helpful – it is essential for accomplishing anything at all. A freelancer has to divide attention between several projects from different clients, while simultaneously looking for new work. There are no fixed hours and bosses – a freelancer has to be their own boss, project manager, and accountant. So, how can a freelancer use time more effectively?

1. Stifle Distractions

Distractions are bad enough in the office, but when you work at home, where nobody controls what you are doing but yourself, it is ten times worse. You may think you are responsible and self-interested enough not to waste your time on God-knows-what when you are supposed to work, but the truth is, for most people, complete freedom is too much to handle. You will inevitably sneak a glance or two on your favorite websites, drift to social networks, check your email every five minutes – different people have different favorite distractions, but the Internet is possibly the worst offender. However, with a little bit of determination, you can greatly decrease the amount of harm these distractions cause. Install a browser plugin like LeechBlock to block yourself from visiting the most distracting websites, create a separate profile for work, and uninstall distracting apps from your smartphone.

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2. Track Your Time

We tend to not value our time because we don’t notice how it escapes through our fingers. Time tracking, in addition to its more direct purpose of defining billable hours, can greatly add to your appreciation of time. When you know exactly how much time is spent on this or that activity and have to write down how long you’ve spent on social networks and such, you will suddenly become aware how inefficiently you use your most important resource. Install a time-tracking software like thedailytracker.com and you will be amazed how eager you will be to do more in less time.

3. Choose Clients Carefully

There is only so much one person can do. Therefore, when you get successful enough in your field, there comes a time when you have to start turning down work. It may be painful, especially when you still remember how hard it was to find any work at all, but it is necessary. Smaller projects and projects that don’t go hand in hand with your general line of work just aren’t worth spending time on. The good strategy is to concentrate on several well-paying customers regularly giving you large orders while still looking for better variants.

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4. Schedule Your Distractions

A good way to get rid of distractions during work hours is to allocate some time for them every day, preferably at the same time. When you go through your day with the knowledge that you will have half an hour to spend doing nothing but lazily skimming through your favorite sites, you are less likely to get distracted every five minutes to steal a glance at one of them.

5. Compartmentalize Your Time

The human brain needs time to switch gears from one task to another – for the first 15-30 minutes of working on a particular task, you won’t be functioning at full effectiveness. This means that it is better to break up your time in large blocks dedicated to particular tasks than to switch from one kind of work to another every now and then.

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Being a freelancer is a tough test of your self-control and self-discipline. However, if you are capable of successfully controlling yourself, the difference between a middling and excellent performance will be far greater than with your average 9-to-5 job.

Featured photo credit: time/uditha wickramanayaka via flickr.com

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Melissa Burns

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on May 24, 2019

How to Be Productive at Home and Make Every Day a Productive Day

How to Be Productive at Home and Make Every Day a Productive Day

If you’ve ever wondered how to be productive at home or how you could possibly have a more productive day, look no further.

Below you’ll find six easy tips that will help you make the most out of your time:

1. Create a Good Morning Routine

One of the best ways to start your day is to get up early and eat a healthy breakfast.

CEOs and other successful people have similar morning routines, which include exercising and quickly scanning their inboxes to find the most urgent tasks.[1]

You can also try writing first thing in the morning to warm up your brain[2] (750 words will help with that). But no matter what you choose to do, remember to create good morning habits so that you can have a more productive day.

If you aren’t sure how to make morning routine work for you, this guide will help you:

The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day

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2. Prioritize

Sometimes we can’t have a productive day because we just don’t know where to start. When that’s the case, the most simple solution is to list everything you need to get accomplished, then prioritize these tasks based on importance and urgency.

Week Plan is a simple web app that will help you prioritize your week using the Covey time management grid. Here’s an example of it:[3]

    If you get the most pressing and important items done first, you will be able to be more productive while keeping stress levels down.

    Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, also has great advice on how to prioritize. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

    How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    3. Focus on One Thing at a Time

    One of the biggest killers of productivity is distractions. Whether it be noise or thoughts or games, distractions are a barrier to any productive day. That’s why it’s important to know where and when you work best.

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    Need a little background noise to keep you on track? Try working in a coffee shop.

    Can’t stand to hear even the ticking of a clock while writing? Go to a library and put in your headphones.

    Don’t be afraid to utilize technology to make the best of your time. Sites like [email protected] and Simply Noise can help keep you focused and productive all day long.

    And here’s some great apps to help you focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus

    4. Take Breaks

    Focusing, however, can drain a lot of energy and too much of it at once can quickly turn your productive day unproductive.

    To reduce mental fatigue while staying on task, try using the Pomodoro Technique. It requires working on a task for 25 minutes, then taking a short break before another 25 minute session.

    After four “pomodoro sessions,” be sure to take a longer break to rest and reflect.

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    I like to work in 25 and 5 minute increments, but you should find out what works best for you.

    5. Manage Your Time Effectively

    A learning strategies consultant once told me that there is no such thing as free time, only unstructured time.

    How do you know when exactly you have free time?

    By using the RescueTime app, you can see when you have free time, when you are productive, and when you actually waste time.

    With this data, you can better plan out your day and keep yourself on track.

    Moreover, you can increase the quality of low-intensity time. For example, reading the news while exercising or listening to meeting notes while cooking. Many of the mundane tasks we routinely accomplish can be paired with other tasks that lead to an overall more productive day.

    A bonus tip, even your real free time can be used productively, find out how:

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    20 Productive Ways to Use Your Free Time

    6. Celebrate and Reflect

    No matter how you execute a productive day, make sure to take time and celebrate what you’ve accomplished. It’s important to reward yourself so that you can continue doing great work. Plus, a reward system is an incredible motivator.

    Additionally, you should reflect on your day in order to find out what worked and what didn’t. Reflection not only increases future productivity, but also gives your brain time to decompress and de-stress.

    Try these 10 questions for daily self reflection.

    More Articles About Daily Productivity

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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