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Time Management For Freelancers – 10 Tips From My Personal WFH Experience

Time management for freelancers is an essential part of acing deadlines, satisfying your clients - and maintaining your own sanity. Find some really useful tips here!

Time management for freelancers is an essential part of acing deadlines, satisfying your clients – and maintaining your own sanity. Find some really useful tips here!

I am a freelancer, and I can work from anywhere in the world but 90% of the time you will find me working from my home – because of which I have my fair share of experience of working from home.

It has been a year since I began. I have thoroughly enjoyed its perks and gradually learned to tackle the challenges that came along the way.

So, whether you are a freelancer or not, these tips on 10 time management for freelancers are definitely going to be helpful if you are currently struggling with it.

But before we proceed with the tips on how to manage time while working from home, let’s first understand the importance of it. 

Why is time management for freelancers important?

The negative impact of poor time management

Not being able to manage time effectively can hurt professional as well as personal life, such as: 

Increased stress-levels

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Whether finishing a project hurriedly due to lack of time management or failing to submit a project on time for the same reason, such situations always increase one’s stress levels and negative feelings. 

Negative impression

Poor management of time can lead to missed deadlines more frequently. Also, it can affect the quality of work because when we do something in a hurry, the probability of the quality of work getting compromised becomes high. Ultimately, all these results in a negative impression at work. 

Poor work-life balance

Lack of time management is one of the main reasons for poor work-life balance, which can cause frustrations and dissatisfactions!

Decline in productivity

Poor management of time slowly causes a decline in productivity. With the growing decline in productivity, your efficiency also drops!

The negative impact of poor time management — my personal experience

I found myself working almost all the time. Literally! 

In the beginning, it was super-duper exciting. But slowly the excitement turned into noticeable frustration.

I started to spend almost no time with my family and lost contact with my friends. I used to be doing something or the other all the time. So much so I didn’t even realize when I stopped doing the activities that I loved so much such as dancing.

And gradually I started to feel exhausted, very exhausted! Plus, even after such efforts, I started to feel unsatisfied.

Initially, I wasn’t bothered too much, but with time I realized there was a problem. With that realization, the first thing I did was to introspect. 

I did thorough introspection, and finally realized that the problem was in my time management skills due to which I couldn’t balance between work and life properly!

I noticed that my entire approach was wrong, and I was missing a structure. Hence, I started to work on it and with time I improved.

10 time management tips for freelancers

If you want to save yourself from the possible consequences of poor time management, then here are 10 time management tips for freelancers and other professionals to manage time effectively while working from home:

Have your day planned in advance

Waking up at random time every day, taking breaks at random times, or logging off from work randomly is a recipe for an epic messed up routine which unsurprisingly results in time waste!

Saying it from experience!

Hence, planning your day in advance is a must to manage time effectively and be more productive.

I plan my day in advance. I am old-school. I write the plan on my notebook. You can either do this or take the help of apps like Trello to write your to-do list.

However, planning is super easy but sticking to it is the challenge! So, the basic step is to plan the day in advance and the massive step is to stick to it.

Prioritize

If I ask you, which task would you do first:

  • The one which requires your urgent attention, or
  • The one which doesn’t require your urgent attention?

Without a doubt, you would go with the 1st option.

I can’t stress enough the importance of prioritization. It has helped me immensely.

Just spare a couple of minutes before starting your work to prioritize your day’s tasks. You will be surprised to see how just sparing a couple of minutes before starting your work to prioritize can ease up the whole work process.

Here’s one more reason to prioritize: finishing the task which requires your urgent attention will give you a sense of relief and boost your confidence which will act as a motivation.

Get yourself a dedicated workspace

Why should you have a dedicated workspace when you are working from home and have the option to comfortably work from the bed or couch?

It’s simple: to set the mood. 

You don’t need anything fancy – the idea is to have a space that is solely used for work purposes.

Having a dedicated workspace will create the required work ambience for you which will ultimately keep you more focused.

Communicate your availability to your family

Communicate your availability to your family members. Since you are working from home, they might assume that you can be reachable anytime!
So, explain everything to them. Explain that although you are working from home, you wouldn’t be available anytime, unless there’s something urgent or important.

My family had no idea about freelancing, or work from home. Basically, they had no idea what I was doing. So, I used to sit with them and explain everything in detail.

Resist the urge to check your smartphone so much!

I know it’s easier said than done but according to a June 2020 survey by Statista, smartphones topped as the main source of distractions while working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s tempting to check our smartphone now and then, and it might even not look like a big issue to you. It wouldn’t look like a big issue until you don’t consider the collective duration. 

When you see that now then you are using your phone during your work hours for example for 5-10 mins, then when you look at the collective duration at the end of the day, it will make you realize how much time you actually have wasted without realizing.

Avoid taking mindless breaks

Taking mindless breaks is a big no-no!

If you are taking mindless breaks during work hours then you are unknowingly extending your work hours; as simple as that. 

And extending your work hours more than your usual work means only one thing — super poor time management. 

So, if you take mindless breaks, then fix it by having your breaks planned for the day.

I used to take mindless breaks, I wouldn’t lie. But I was so glad that I realized it was one of the reasons for my poor work-life balance. I started to plan my breaks, which wasn’t really easy for me to stick to but I slowly was able to.

…but take mini breaks

As much as avoiding mindless breaks is necessary, taking breaks is equally important.

These tiny breaks will help you to be productive and efficient. These breaks will refresh you, increase your focus, and ultimately will boost your efficiency. 

I just love these breaks, it just keeps me excited. What I do normally: I go to my balcony or listen to my favourite songs.

Focus on official work only, during your work hours

Mixing your personal and official work during the working hours will ultimately result in poor time management. 

So, don’t allow yourself to do anything outside official work during your work hours, and be strict about it.

I made this mistake, I messed up! I messed up between the two which ultimately resulted in a poor work-life balance. But now I am very strict about it.

Assign yourself deadlines

Yes, you heard it right. Assign deadlines by yourself. This one has worked like a charm for me.

What you can do is –

Assign deadlines to each task that needs to be done. Set a timer and start without overthinking. The goal here is to complete the work before the deadline, just don’t worry about whether or not you will be able to complete it before the deadline. Just start. 

However, set realistic deadlines. And also be very flexible. Remember you are trying something new.

Remember: Don’t go easy about it just because the deadline is set by you, take it seriously. 

Observe yourself

Do great ideas come naturally to you at some particular hours or is there any particular timing in the day when you feel more focused?

Be an observer, and find out. 

Once you find out, then plan your day keeping this in mind, so that you can utilize this time to the fullest. 

The Bottom Line

Have a realistic approach and also have realistic expectations from yourself. It is important to realize that all these tips are nothing but building habits and habits don’t change in a day or two.

So, do your best to follow them, acknowledge your progress however little, and most importantly, stay consistent. 

Did these tips on time management for freelancers come in handy for you? Share your own as well in the comments below!

Image credits Pixabay

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About the Author

Puja Das

I'm a freelance Content & Copywriter and I love that but at first, I'm a writer. I've slowly started to realize my power as a writer, and I intend to use it thoughtfully! read more...

2 Posts | 4,272 Views

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