Working as a freelancer comes with many different challenges. From constantly having to fight for your own contracts, to applying to endless jobs, there’s a lot that has to be done.
This is where time management comes into play. One of the most important skills for every freelancer to have is time management. With a plethora of jobs to keep track of, invoices to send out, as well as taxes to maintain, it’s hard to keep up with all that has to be done.
What comes with any business is having to manage several different tasks throughout the day. Here, we’re going to look at several different time management tips that can help you work through all of the tasks that you have to get done in your day.
Set Your Working Time
Whether or not you want to work from 9:00 to 5:00, you have to set your own working time. Now, this can be mixing working time with standardized breaks, using the Pomodoro method (which will be explained later), or it can be working until the work is done.
The most important thing is making sure that you are working within a set time. The reason is because the human body reacts to set times better than fluid times. For example, when you have a set working time of nine to noon, you are setting yourself up for success.
At that point you know that you have four hours to complete as much work as possible. After that point, however, you need to have a break. This type of scheduling works for most people, but for others it may not.
Discuss Your Working Needs With Those Around You
If you are a freelancer that is working from home, or working in an environment where there are other freelancers around, you may have to discuss your needs with those that you are working around. This can mean a multitude of things.
From needing to separate yourself from others in order to focus, to having a separate room, these are work needs. Other work needs can include needing music, background noise/shows, writing resources, and other office supplies.
Use Time Management Strategies
One of the biggest tips that any freelancer should take to heart is using actual time management techniques. When you stop and assess your work day, you are using a time management technique.
Stopping and planning out your day is another time management. If you are looking to find more time in your day then check out this article from Selfgood that talks about how to use your time more efficiently.
One strategy that you will see talked about on a regular basis is the Pomodoro method. The idea of this method is to set yourself a specific amount of working time, interspersed with set amounts of break time. Pomodoro is based on research that has been done on the elasticity of the brain.
Normally, the human brain can only work on one subject for so long. This time is going to vary by person, however the suggested time for working is 30 minutes with a 5-10 minute break. That particular arrangement has worked the best for freelancers and for office workers.
Play around with the Pomodoro method and find what works best for you. What tends to work best for me, is working for 45 minutes and having a 15 minute break. This lets my mind refresh, I can go walk outside, play around with my pets, or check in on my family. Once I go back to that work time, I have to set the boundary that that is my work time.
See? you can use it however you need to!
Work on Your Schedule The final tip is probably not something that many people think about. We are so used to an eight to five job with unpaid breaks, and unpaid lunches.
Rather than looking at what society says is the best schedule, or what other workplaces say is the best schedule, work with what is your best schedule. This can mean sleeping in during the day, and working later in the evening.
It all depends upon when your mind is most active and when your mind is most fresh. Remember that as a freelancer, you are beholden to due dates, but you are not restricted to old fashioned ideas of nine to five work.
Time management is such a difficult skill to master. In a day and age where we are constantly distracted by everything around us it’s hard to sit and focus on work. If you have additional distractions such as family, pets or other things that have to be taken care of, that makes work even more difficult!
If you use these techniques to slowly but surely master your time, you will find that you have more peace of mind and that you will be more productive than you ever were before!