We freelancers are in a very unique position compared with the rest of the working world. When assigned a project, we’re able to schedule work whenever we feel like doing it. This obviously, works as an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantage being you’re able to be flexible, and work at times which suit you best. The disadvantage being that without discipline you could fall into a habit of procrastinating work till the last minute, which is what a lot of us do from time to time. Other than having extreme discipline with yourself whilst freelancing, there are other ways that can help you make the most of this gift of deciding when you work. Proper scheduling of work is one way which can help you.
Choose appropriate working times
This is where you’re going to have to make a pretty important decision with regards to when you do the bulk of your freelance work. Now, there are multiple ways you can tackle choosing a general working time when freelancing. A lot of freelancers choose times which are close to standard working times (9am to 5pm), but others find that this isn’t when they are most productive. I know a few freelancers who choose to work near midnight, because it is at that time which they can be most efficient and productive, and really pump out some good quality work. You’ll need to figure out from experience which one suits you. Here’s how I see it. If you’re super disciplined, and have little problem with procrastinating work, then it isn’t much of a problem for you, and you can work at midnight if you want. If, however, you are the person who tends to procrastinate a lot, then it is best if you try to get yourself into a 9am to 5pm routine where you really concentrate and focus and pumping out good work during normal working hours. Once this becomes the norm for you, I think it becomes much easier for you to work during rather unorthodox times as well, so you can flip back and forth. Keep in mind though, that you don’t want to ruin your sleeping patterns either, so don’t work too far into the night if you get up at 7am every morning.
Use a diary
Having all your work written down with timings showing how long you’re going to take for each section of your projects really helps mentally. Not only does it easily allow you to keep track of all your work, but by having it written down actually makes it psychologically easier for you to approach your work and get down to it.
Always allow yourself a good amount of time to get each section of your projects done. Don’t give yourself too much time, as you may see yourself wasting a lot of time, but don’t give yourself too little time either, or you could be sacrificing the quality of work produced in the process.
Breaks and Working Hours
You also need to take into consideration that you’re going to need breaks in between working periods, so try to have set times (like you would if you worked a usual 9-5) where you would take a break. Also, try not to work so many hours during a day. If 9-5 doesn’t suit you, go with another time bracket which you think will work better for you. Never though, extend the time beyond 8 hours, as I really count that as the maximum working time bracket. You don’t actually produce anymore work than if you worked a few less hours, because actual productive time throughout an entire day for employees and freelancers alike is approximately between 2-4 hours (unless you’re superman).
So there you have it, a few tips to get you on your way, and help you schedule in your daily work hours and keep up with incoming work.
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