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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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