Working as a freelancer seems like something like a lavish lifestyle, but it can go wrong when you don’t have the focus and have task management in the right way.
For freelancers, it’s crucial that they have time management. Since there is no boss, and it’s all on you, here you need to focus on how you can manage the time so you can be productive as well as less distracted.
Here is an ultimate guide that can help in managing time management as freelancers.
- Why Do Freelancers Need Time Management?
- Best Time Management Tips and Tools For Freelancers
- tips for managing your time as a freelancer
- Fixing The Place For Your Work
- Avoid The Distractions In Your Home
- Create Your Routine
- Time Management Tips For Freelancing
- Track The Time How You Spend It
- Don’t Go Overboard And Take Breaks
- Give Yourself A Set Of Hours For Work
- Keep Your Project Management System Strong
- Prioritize Of Your Work
- Consider Help From Others Or Hire People
- Get Rid of The Distraction Around You
- Keep Your Meal Time For 30 To 60 Minutes
- Find The Productive Hours
- Make Templates For Having Communications
- Don’t End Up Overbooking Yourself
- Take Some Time Off
- Change Your Place If It’s Needed
- Keep Your Communication Clear
- Worst Enemies Of Time Management For Freelancers
Why Do Freelancers Need Time Management?
As a freelancer, you need to understand the pros and cons of working from home.
Since you are essentially your own boss, if you don’t keep up with the deadlines and improve the communication, it will get messy really fast and it can even end up damaging your career.
For freelancers, it’s important that you have the right way of understanding time management so you can cover all of your work without wasting time.
Here are some of the points why time management holds so much of importance in freelancers :
- It can be daunting to manage the time when you are a freelancer, especially when you are working from home.
- When everything is your own, sometimes you become lazy and cross deadlines without knowing it.
- Managing everything can mess with your schedule if you don’t know the right way of doing it.
- Being a freelancer can mess with the rest of your life too.
- You get more ways of doing things within the time and managing the rest of the work.
Best Time Management Tips and Tools For Freelancers
There are different ways that can help you as a freelancer to manage your time and learn better ways of learning to be more productive as well as efficient.
Some of the tools that you can choose are :
Clockify is a helpful tool for time tracking and it can help you in keeping on track with the important parts of the business.
With the help of Clockify, you can also create different projects and set them for each client, so you have a clear understanding of how much time you are spending on your to-do list.
As for freelancers, the tool offers you reports and charts that you can look at. So you can compare both and see how much time you spend on each client.
Similar to Clockify, Toggle is also a tool for time tracking but it doesn’t offer a feature of reporting but offers integrations such as Asana, Todoist, Trello, and Basecamp.
So it makes it easier for you to clock the time while working as well as check tasks from your to-do list.
It also offers you a free version that can work fine for freelancers.
Asana is simple and comes with a spotless interface that allows you to add a guest especially if you have to run certain things by your clients to get approval before you schedule it.
With Asana, you can use this for creating the project types, and complete and connect with the Google Calendar.
It comes with its own calendar and view setting; this can help you in having everything on the plate at its given time.
ClickUp is a project or time management tool which is similarly good as Asana but here you need to do a bit more learning.
This gives you many more options, but here you need to learn about it. Once you have all the information, you can use it as a guide for time management.
Also, it has the free version, so you can use it, but here you have limitations on the features which are for the paid version.
Google Calendar is also considered one of the ideal tools for home time management.
It is free to use which can be crucial for scheduling your meeting and blocking out the day using its time-blocking method.
tips for managing your time as a freelancer
Working as a freelancer has its own set of challenges, and this can cause issues if you fail to manage them.
Here you need to do a number of tasks, including
- Running your business
- Managing and praising the workload
- Setting the schedules
- Communicating and cooperating with clients on a daily basis.
Apart from this, you also need to address some problems as freelancers, such as :
- Avoiding the distractions around you
- Adjusting your home to your workplace
- Avoid feeling lazy and procrastinating
Well in order to understand how you can manage your time well, here are some of the ways of doing it.
Fixing The Place For Your Work
Freelancers have to work away from the typical setting that most office offers.
Even though it gives you much more freedom, you need the space for your workplace. And it’s important for your time management too.
Setting Of Your Workplace
Even though you are tempted to work from your bed, it can be harmful to your productivity and also make it difficult to manage the work.
According to Sue Shellenberger from WSJ, working from bed can affect the quality of your sleep as it will make you stop seeing the bed as a place to rest, and in order to be productive, you need to rest well.
To set your workplace, here are some of the points to follow :
- Choose a room that has no television but a reliable internet connection.
- Pick a sturdy table and a chair that can be comfortable for you to work.
- Also, avoid using the standing desk even though it’s popular, but it can affect your time management and productivity.
- Choose the traditional desk that comes with drawers, and you can use it to keep your work materials easy to find.
- In case you have a small apartment, pick a corner for working and keep a desk and chair which are smaller.
- Invest in good quality headphones so they can block tv and noises, especially if you live with someone else.
Colors And Plant Life Around You
One of the important factors that you should consider is the predominant colors in the workplace. It has a major influence on productivity which eventually affects time management too.
According to a study by NASA, a blue-green wall is best for the workplace as it boosts productivity and impacts a positive employee’s mood.
Add plants to a space that makes you feel comfortable and keep them for productivity.
Lighting Of The Workspace
The next thing is to improve the lighting of your place, and for this here are some of the points that can help.
- Bring in having natural lighting as much as you can in a day.
- Nature lightning can also improve sleep and vitality as compared to other options; consider putting desks near the window where you can get lights.
- With dedicated lighting, it can be a lamp for the night and use LED lighting.
- Pickled lightning as it has the most similarity to natural lightning; it won’t disrupt your sleep.
- Pick the cold light as it will keep you alert and reduce the fatigue/
Place For Relaxation
Especially when you have a room for the workplace instead of having a corner, then you can choose the spot where you can relax and unburden yourself during your breaks.
Breaks are an important part of effective time management. And having a place for that where you can relax can help.
- Well for this you can have a chair or comfortable sofa beside the window,
- Make sure you pick one place so you can learn to associate it with the spot of relaxation.
- This helps you to know that there is one space for relaxation instead of every corner.
- You can save your time by just taking small breaks.
- You can simply sit quietly for meditation and feel refreshed to go back to work again.
Avoid The Distractions In Your Home
Distractions are bigger issues when it comes to being a freelancer and productivity instead of full-time employment.
Because there isn’t a traditional office setting, there are some of the best ways that can help you deal with it.
Controlling Internet, Phone, And Social Media
When you are with your colleagues, it’s difficult to procrastinate by spending on useless searching on the internet or dabbling with your phone.
Also, with colleges, you are more aware of your surroundings and on track which keeps you aware of time.
But as a freelancer, you work alone, which makes you prone to procrastination which is the biggest enemy of time management.
So here are some of the points that you can follow to keep yourself more accountable regarding where you are spending your time.
- For your phone, keep it off or leave it far from your reach so you don’t feel tempted to constantly check it.
- To avoid social media, you can use the website blocker for the device and browser.
- You can use Focusmate, it will help you in keeping more accountable by assigning the partner to whom you explain your task and then work silently.
- However, you can keep this to your family or someone in the house to check on you regarding your work.
Controlling Background Noises
When you are working as a freelancer, one of the problems you face is dealing with background noises when you work in a home setting.
It can be your family members, pets, kids, Tv noises that cause distractions.
Or your random conversation with people around you, family members, or your pet can disturb your focus. And this is why you need to make adjustments and take precautions.
Here are some of the points that can help :
- The best is to pick a room that is isolated,
- Also, inform your members to act like you are physically away or just maintain the working hours.
- You can also use the headphones and take them for better focus.
- You can pick the music that can help you in claiming the focus.
- Not just that, it can be better to choose the game soundtracks, instruments, ambient noise generators, etc.
Create Your Routine
Creating as well as keeping the routine to make sure you have to focus on the work.
It’s important to focus on improving your time management and improving productivity.
Here are the ways that you should do it :
Before Your Work Day
- The first thing you should do is lay out all of your tasks beforehand.
- Prioritize the tasks and decide what you need to do for the day so you can focus on what to do first.
- Create your hourly schedule for the day
- Leave some time so it keeps your schedule flexible; it will be easier to tackle unexpected errands and do the assignment.
- Plan your meals for your day so you don’t spend time choosing what to eat.
- Go to bed and have a proper sleep.
On Your Actual Workday
- Make sure you wake up early, so you can start the day early and follow your time management plan.
- Have your breakfast before you start working or do any serious work.
- Focus on doing your important work first.
- Leave the least product hours for doing the errands one work where you don’t need much attention
- Decide on a time when you are going to complete the work officially
Everything In Between
- Take your regular breaks so you can avoid burnout and avoid getting bored.
- Don’t skip the meals and keep some time for your food.
- Have some free time to go out and enjoy time alone which should be apart from your schedule.
- Your freelance schedule needs to be flexible, but also have much time for the rest of the work too.
Time Management Tips For Freelancing
Working as a freelancer can be tough, and this can be an issue if you are just starting out.
So, it’s important that you know what can help you in improving your time management, and for that, here are some of the tips that can help you.
Track The Time How You Spend It
Time tracking is of utmost importance for time management, and it’s often something that freelancers might end up overlooking.
It can easily get sucked into focusing on doing one single work until it gets over, and you might spend more time doing it.
That’s why to use time tracking tools which can help you in tracking the time and understanding where you are spending it.
Don’t Go Overboard And Take Breaks
For freelancers, it’s a common issue who get overboard with their work.
Since there is no boss or manager who guides how much you should be working, freelancers tend to get too much into working.
This means staying overnight or working late to do the work. That’s why you should take a break from time to time.
Some of the ideal ways that you can use it for utilizing the breaks are :
- Take some time to go for a walk around your neighborhood.
- Give it a call to your friend or neighborhood.
- You can take a power nap but keep it quick and short.
- Use the Pomodoro method to keep the work on schedule.
Give Yourself A Set Of Hours For Work
Those people who just started as freelancers and even working for a long time have such issues.
It can be tempting to answer messages or emails even when you are not working.
That’s why you should have the set of working hours, pick your house, it can be 9 1m to 5 pm, as the average office hours or you can choose 10 am to 3 am.
However, since you are a freelancer, you can change it as per your comfort.
Keep Your Project Management System Strong
There are different tools that can help you in staying on top of your projects.
Also, there is a digital version of your planner; you can use it to set subtasks and due dates and compile all of them in one place.
Prioritize Of Your Work
When you have to handle the work and household work together, it can get too overwhelming to choose what is important.
That’s why you need to understand what is important for you to do first.
Be sure to prioritize the work based on the due date and the amount of time you believe it will take to do it.
Consider Help From Others Or Hire People
When you are a freelancer, it doesn’t mean that you need to handle everything on your own. You can also get help from others and have people to hire for it.
You can also get people to get the work done for you; there are platforms where you can hire professionalism.
Get Rid of The Distraction Around You
In order to make sure that you have effective time management, You should focus on how to improve your focus, and for that, you need to get rid of the distractions first.
And that’s why you need to list the things that cause you disturbance.
Get rid of the distraction, also use noise-blocking headphones, and shut the door to keep your work more productive.
Keep Your Meal Time For 30 To 60 Minutes
When working as a freelancer, it’s important that you don’t forget the snack and lunch.
Try to refrain from eating at your work or desk, and this can make your work and life balanced without knowing it.
Consider setting up your lunch call with your friends or people around you who can help you in keeping the distraction-free lunch.
Also, you will get your break and help you in having a better social life.
Find The Productive Hours
A Lot of people feel like when they work in the morning, it gives them better results and is productive.
So it’s better to find the hours where you have the best control of your focus and performance.
Choose the hours for yourself and set it for yourself as it can help you in giving you much better time management and productivity.
Make Templates For Having Communications
Use the CRM tool which can help you in improving the communication that you improve for the clients.
However, if you don’t want to invest in the CRM, then you can use the Word document or Google Doc along with the template responses, which you can edit as well as send to the clients to save yourself.
Don’t End Up Overbooking Yourself
One of the problems that every freelancer goes through at least once is they end up overbooking themselves.
You might feel like you can handle more work, but this might not work for you.
This will cause problems, affect sleep, or make your social life bad.
These are some of the drawbacks of being a freelancer, and this can make the work difficult for you.
So only bite what you can chew, and focus on how much you can handle.
Take Some Time Off
When you are a freelancer, it gets difficult to have some time for yourself and rest, especially when you have work to do.
However, instead of pushing yourself to be productive every day, it’s better to take some days off if you feel like needing one.
Make sure you communicate with your clients in advance, so they know you are on break.
Change Your Place If It’s Needed
Sometimes the only thing you need to do to boost productivity is to change the space where you work.
You can head towards the nearest cafe or coworking space or maybe go to your friend’s house. It can help you in boosting the overall mood for work and improve your time management skills.
Keep Your Communication Clear
Since you are the one who is going to handle the communication, it gives you direct dealing with your clients.
It’s better that you have clear communication; regardless of what happens, make sure you communicate clearly and on time.
Worst Enemies Of Time Management For Freelancers
Even when you have strong time management skills, there are still chances that you might end up dealing with some issues.
Especially when you are working as a freelancer, here are some of your worst enemies for your time management :
Not Having Enough Information
A Lot of freelancers are in a state where they feel like they are wasting their time when they have lack of information.
Thankfully, it has been easier to find information. So you should have the information regarding what you are going to do, for example, if you want to learn about SEO or marketing the new niches.
So have the information first so you are ready for what to do, it will keep you more ready for time management.
Refusing To Be Delegate
Especially freelancers who are prone to such issues. Here you need to build the business on your own and use it to deal with everything on your own.
But you also take on bigger projects and focus on growing. But once you notice that things are getting difficult for you to handle.
So don’t be afraid to get more people to help you out. Whether it’s for the work or you can pick the element like accounting etc.
Having a fear of Failure
Switching to a freelance career, it can be horrible and cooking, and if you have an application or doing the work you are doing.
It can be an issue to be your own boss, and this leads to problems or fear of failure.
So it’s important that you know that it’s perfectly fine to feel fear. Also, it’s okay to make mistakes.
Also, focus on learning from your mistakes so it can allow you to be better in your jobs.
Having Wrong Priorities
Another problem that you face when you are looking to keep your time management better.
When you have wrong priorities set that focus on things that are not needed.
This not just wastes your time but also affects productivity too.
So focus on work which is actually important; you need to be sure if what you are doing is needed.
Make a list of your priorities, and keep everything that you need to do. And highlight what is actually important.
Assign the corresponding amount of time that you need to spend on performing them.
Having Too Much Of Distractions
Distraction can be on board term, and everyone has their things in personal time to do it.
It can be your kid, pets, or family members who want to spend their time with you.
Or maybe your friend wants to have some conversation or some random distractions which disturb your time management and ruin your productivity.
For people who live with their family and have a place that is small, it can be difficult to have time dedicated to working.
That’s why you need to keep yourself in a place where you can focus. Distraction is not even bad, but you should have the time and place.
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Carol T. Mahaffey is a certified American Author And a creator of Theleaderboy. Carol is a Self-Taught Marketer with 10+ Years of Experience. She brings her decade of experience to her current role, where she is dedicated to writing books, blogs, and articles, inspiring the world on how to become a better Leader.