Advertising
Advertising

What Freelancers Should Know About Time Management

What Freelancers Should Know About Time Management

Most people jump into freelancing because of the time freedom it provides. Or, does it really? Does this mean all freelancers are better off than everyone else? In reality, freelancers don’t enjoy unlimited time freedom. We work on a schedule, too. We all have the same 24 hours in a day to budget.

If you’ve been toying on the idea of freelancing to have more time, here are important facts you should know.

There is no such thing as, “I can work when I want to.”

Freelancing comes with freedom, but with a price tag—responsibility. You can choose to work on your terms and schedule, but you can’t work when you only feel like working. This is business; you have to put in the hours to offer quality work to your clients. Freelancing requires hard work and perseverance. Prepare to work not only when you want to, but more importantly, when you have to.

Advertising

“I can work while on vacation.”

First off, vacation is vacation, work is work. Don’t mix the two, otherwise you’ll sacrifice one for the other.

Other people can work while on vacation. But not all people can do that. Determine first if you’re the type of person who can work while on vacation. But don’t confuse yourself by thinking that freelancing can let you have a vacation while working. It really depends on your preference and working habits.

“I can spend more time with family and friends.”

This can be the greatest freelancing benefit that you can have if you plan and manage your time effectively. You have to purposely allot time the time and stick with it. Set a schedule that you can work on so that you can spend meaningful time with your family.

Advertising

But if you allow your work to overwhelm you, you might not be able to spend your time with your family. It will turn out that you’re home, but it’s like you’re not there. So learn to budget you time wisely. Other freelancers love working early in the mornings or late at night, when the kids are still in bed, so that by daytime, they can spend the whole day, or most of it, with their family.

It all depends on your priorities and how you manage your time.

You have to be the boss and employee at the same time.

Without someone checking on your work, you have to be responsible enough to finish a job well done. Nobody will check your time in and out. So it’s up to you on how you spend your hours with the Internet or social media.

Advertising

Be prepared to be accountable. Other people don’t succeed in freelancing because they don’t have enough accountability.

“I can choose not to work on holidays and weekends.”

True. But with your laptop just around your bedside, this is almost impossible to do. Especially if you love and enjoy your work, it can be hard to pull yourself out of it! The best remedy is to set up a separate home office. Avoid going into your home office during holidays and weekends.

Be firm to clients that you don’t work on weekends. Once you give into a client that you can work for him or her over the weekend, you might be tempted to do it for another client again. And be firm with yourself, too! Make weekends and holidays non-negotiable, non-working days.

Advertising

Yes, time freedom is achievable, but only when you know your limits and responsibilities. By keeping these in mind, you’ll be better off with your time management and career as a freelancer.

Featured photo credit: dhester via mrg.bz

More by this author

7 Tips To Survive When You’re Sleepy at Work 7 Writing Tools to Make a Writer’s Life Easier 7 Things to Remember When Handling Rejection What Freelancers Should Know About Time Management

Trending in Work

1 Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart 2 The Lifehack Show Episode 12: Staying On Top of Your Game as an Entrepreneur 3 How to Speak Up at Work Without Being Offensive 4 How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively 5 The Lifehack Show Episode 10: Dealing With Burnt Out Bosses

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on November 19, 2019

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

“When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

Advertising

But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

4. Use Your Phone Wisely

Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

Advertising

One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

6. Use a “To Don’t” List

We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

8. Be Concise

Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

Advertising

Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

  • Making new contacts
  • Talking about yourself at a job interview
  • Meeting people at conferences or parties
  • Phone calls to new clients

9. Ask the Right Questions

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

10. Learn as Much as You Can

You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

Advertising

If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

The Bottom Line

The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

More About Working Smart

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next