Are you loving freelance life but need to get more done between the hours of 9 and 5? Managing your own time can be a challenge when you work for yourself, especially if you work from home. In order to help your small business thrive, here are five time management tips for freelancers.
1 Set boundaries
If you’re just starting a freelance business, or transitioning from working in an office to working for yourself, you need to begin by setting boundaries. Freelancing might sound like a dream but it is a real job and you need to treat it like one. Maintain a sense of routine by starting and finishing work at the same time each day, take regular breaks and learn how to switch off in the evening. Avoid sleeping in, working until late and answering emails at all hours of the day or night.
2 Design your optimal work space
Everybody works differently but in order to work efficiently, you need to have a well-designed work space. If you’re working from home, avoid rolling out of bed and setting up shop on the couch. Sit up at your dining table or set up a small study area with a desk and chair. Double check you can maintain good posture while you’re using your laptop and that your work space is well-lit. Alternatively, if you need to get out of the house, consider renting a co-working space to help your productivity.
3 Learn the art of prioritisation
Even if you have all the time in the world, if you can’t learn how to prioritise your tasks, you won’t be able to get everything done. Start each day with a to-do list, with the most urgent requests at the top. Set time limits on certain tasks so you don’t spend a whole day on only one project. You need to learn how to multi-task. Always be aware of upcoming deadlines and if there are delays, make sure you are completely transparent with your clients.
4 Eliminate distractions
Sometimes the problem is not how much time you have but how quickly it seems to disappear. In order to make the most of every moment, you need to eliminate any distractions. Consider signing out of your social media accounts and unplugging the television. Don’t answer personal calls and texts or meet up with friends during work hours. If there are tasks that are taking up too much time and keeping you from your most important work, consider outsourcing them or getting a virtual assistant to help.
5 Set accurate time frames
One of the most important things to remember as a freelancer is that you have control. You can determine the hours you want to work and therefore the amount of work you take on. Sometimes you may have to say no when you are at capacity. To avoid working overtime, always negotiate realistic time frames with your clients. Give yourself plenty of wiggle room between projects to avoid competing deadlines and late nights.