Time ManagEment is Critical for Successful Freelancing
Time is money and money is time. Procrastination and distractions could be your downfall. Learn how to manage your time, and develop the discipline to stick to a system that works for you.
We can’t change the number of hours we have in the day to work. As a freelancer, time management is going to be one of the most important skills you develop and can be the difference between having too many clients trying to hire you and desperately applying to a bunch of jobs while hungry and unemployed. We don’t recommend a one-schedule-fits-all-approach; only you know yourself, and only you know if you work better in the mornings or the evenings, or if you can finish a project in one sitting or need to split it up into tasks.
Keep these things in mind to manage your time successfully:
- When telling a client how long a job will take, estimate it and multiply it by 20%. Things happen, moods change, emergencies pop-up, computers crash—it is important to give yourself wiggle room in case something unexpected happens so that you are still meeting deadlines.
- Set deadlines. Don’t set one deadline for the project and let that be it. Break it up into smaller tasks, and set deadlines for each of those tasks. Not only will it help you stay on track and make the project far more manageable, but you’ll be able to more frequently cross things off your to-do list which can motivate you and provide you with significant relief.
- Consider administrative tasks, business overhead, and research. When estimating the timeline for a project, add this time into your consideration. Don’t go unpaid for work you or the client did not account for upfront.
- Use those extra fifteen minute windows of time you have throughout the days to clear your head, keep you on track, or de-stress.
- If a life unexamined is not worth living, then it’s time to take a long hard look at yours: figure out when you work best, and work during those times. Treat freelancing as a real job—because it is—which means taking seriously the fact that just because you can write blog posts in your bathrobe does not mean you can forgo work for an all-day movie marathon.
- Do it every day. Build habits, as habits are powerful and keep us on track. Develop a schedule that works for you and stick to it every day. Yes, take breaks and take days off when you need them, as freelancing does not mean working to death.
- Utilize alarms, project and time management apps, calendars, or to-do lists, whichever you prefer. Make sure that you block out at least 10 minutes a day to prioritize and figure out what you need to get done, and how long it will take.