The secret to a successful freelance career is ensuring that you’re spending your time wisely.
Time is money as they say, and if you’re a freelancer, this couldn’t be truer.
If you’re terrible at time management, you’ll want to keep reading to learn how to get better so you can succeed in your field.
We’ve provided a few tips and tricks to help get the ball rolling and get you back on track to maximizing each day.
Plan Ahead/Delegate Tasks
If you’re expecting to have trouble managing your time for the day, it’s best to plan ahead and delegate certain tasks to when you know you’re most productive.
A good plan can not only help you reach your goals but also help keep you on track when you know you’re going to get distracted.
Delegate certain time slots to your tasks.
If you know your paperwork will take you at least an hour to complete, start by delegating an hour in your day to strictly completing paperwork.
Include a fifteen-minute rest period after any in-depth or intense tasks to allow your brain and body to recover before moving on.
Break times should also be set accordingly.
Don’t give yourself a long lunch if you’ve got a lot to accomplish that day.
The double-edged sword of freelancing is the freedom that comes with it. It can be incredibly liberating and debilitating all at once.
Discipline yourself to stay on task and set up time slots for each task you want to complete.
Use Time Management Tools
The best time tracking apps provide simple interfaces and easy-to-use tools to help you track and manage your time more effectively.
These useful apps can be acquired for little to no cost (some are actually free!), and can really help you plan out your days better.
Once you’re able to track your time, you’ll know exactly how much time you spend performing certain tasks.
From there, you can create more accurate invoices and gain a better understanding of why certain tasks take so much (or so little) time to complete.
With a clearer picture of how you work, you can identify any problem areas that may be holding you back from maximum productivity.
Understanding exactly where all of your time goes is the most effective way to improve the day’s efficiency and reach more of your daily goals.
Set Goals on a Daily Basis
You should be setting goals on a daily basis for two reasons: to give yourself a direction for your work, and to achieve a sense of accomplishment once you’ve completed your goals.
This will help boost your confidence and motivation, which are both important factors in better time management.
Your mental attitude can have a major impact on how you perform throughout the day.
Someone who lacks confidence in themselves will have thoughts like “there’s no way I’ll get that done on time, I can’t do that”.
These thoughts only serve to distract and derail your brain from the goals at hand, and can make you feel even worse if you don’t reach the goals you’ve set.
Start each morning off by reading your goals aloud or to yourself.
You should write each day’s goals down beforehand so that when you wake up you can recite them and remind yourself what you wish to get out of your day.
With set goals, you can accurately delegate time slots to each task to help reach those goals. Better organization warrants better results every time.
Whether it’s a television show, an email or text message, or your Facebook App, distractions take away from productivity and make your time less efficient.
Eliminating these distractions from your work area can help keep you focused and maximize the time you’re spending reaching your daily goals.
Leave your phone in another room if you find yourself constantly checking it while you’re working.
(Don’t forget to set it to silent) If you’re always opening new tabs to shop or browse social media on your computer, use site blockers so you can’t access these sites during work hours.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
So maybe this particular day wasn’t very productive.
You failed to manage your time properly, and now you’re falling behind on your goals, making tomorrow’s workload larger.
It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s going to happen! Sometimes, we simply can’t focus, or we make a poor decision that costs us precious time or resources.
That’s the nature of being human.
Working for yourself is a task in and of itself.
It requires great discipline and commitment, and setbacks are to be expected.
The best thing you can do is keep pressing forward, and not be too hard on yourself when things don’t work out as expected.
Things happen; unforeseen circumstances arise, and how we handle them will dictate how successful we are in our daily routines.
The right tools combined with the right mental attitude can help you better manage your team and be much more successful in your freelancing career.
Just remember to take it slow, delegate your tasks, use things like time-management apps, and don’t beat yourself up for mistakes.
Fail forward, not backward! Every mistake we make comes with a lesson, and mistakes only become failures when we learn nothing from then.
Keep pushing, and believe in your abilities!