Freelancers: Time to Manage Your Time

Mon, Oct 12, 2009

Time Management

Freelancers: Time to Manage Your Time

Efficiency and time management are two very important aspects in freelancing. Call it procrastination, disturbances, chores…whatever they are, they’re all excuses stemming from your inability to manage your time. Personally, I have never seen any success on this issue until I began following the points I have listed below.

So here are some of small pieces of advise on how I managed my time more efficiently.

Wake up Earlier

An advantage of being a freelancer is the fact that you can wake up whenever you want. Many freelancers take this to mean waking up later, more professional freelancers take this to mean waking up earlier. I wake up at 6am and I am working before many people wake up. If you’re one of those freelancers who wakes  up after mid day, and within a few short hours see your day to an end, waking up early in the morning can drastically lengthen the day for you, and make it seem many times longer.

Have a Diary

It may seem a little outdated for many younger freelancers to have a diary, so change things around a little and create a daily to-do list. The first step is sitting down early in the morning and writing down a list of everything you wish to achieve that day and a set of objectives by which you plan to get to your aims.

Start by writing your main aims and then write the ways in you will achieve that aim. This will help when it comes to completing each one of your tasks because they’ll appear much more manageable and smaller.

This list should be placed on your noticeboard, or on your secondary monitor desktop or anywhere where you can revisit in several times a day. I have an A4 diary and stand the diary up next to my monitors. The list should be left in clear view, so you can continually assess progress throughout your day.

Schedule Everything

You must schedule everything. Allow me to reiterate, you must schedule everything. You may call me sad, but I even schedule the time I spend with my daughter. If you were employed, you would be a slave from 9 to 5 and you would never see your partner, children or friends then. As a disciplined self-employed freelancer you need to put the foot down on your own time.

The dangers entailed with not scheduling everything are that since you are sitting in front of your computer all day you may feel that a random check of Facebook or a blog you like will do no harm. You will end up spending your entire day doing this. Schedule time to spend on Facebook and schedule time to read FreelanceApple!

Prioritise

A great way of listing the schedule may be in order of priority. Personally, I write my list on my old fashioned paper with my old fashioned pen and then number my list according to priority. An advantage of doing this on your computer is that you can rearrange everything, but I am too used to my way.

Organise (Organize for all you dodgy spelling Americans)

A large aspect of this may also be organising the time well. If you are accustomed to being highly productive at 9-12 am, then fill that slot with the most pending tasks and squeeze the most out of it.

Do it

The time you have scheduled for a task should be devoted solely to that task. I make sure that the two 20 minute slots I have created for checking my mail every day are spent actually checking emails and responding to them. Finishing early can be rewarded by starting early on the task which you plan to do next or taking the remainder of the time to have a break (in something which will not drag on).

Action Point

I need you to do something. Whether you are an experienced freelancer and my senior or a freelancer who is just starting off, without taking offence, I need you to do ONE thing for me.

Take out a pen and paper (or open Notepad) and write down three things which you have been wanting to do for a long time but have been getting too lazy to do them or never found the time to do it. Write down these three things and promise yourself not to eat another meal until these three things have been completed or done to an extent which is only possible at this moment in time.

Over and out!

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This post was written by:

- who has written 54 posts on Freelance Apple.

Shoaib Hussain is an web entrepreneur who was formerly a freelancer. He is the main writer and owner on FreelanceSchool.com and aims to enlighten young freelancers with his vast experience and deep knowledge. Shoaib Hussain also spends his time giving advice to budding freelancers and helping web businesses.

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4 Responses to “Freelancers: Time to Manage Your Time”

  1. Daquan Wright Says:

    I pretty much agree with everything you said. But ESPECIALLY waking up early. I feel like I can be so much more productive when I wake up. I also am taking classes in community college right now so I have to split my time between computer time and school time (home work included).

    I feel like the more time I give myself…the lazier I get. Almost because it feels like I can just do it “tomorrow.” I notice that I never really do any school papers until I fixate it in my mind that this must get done now. Being prepared mentally seems like to best way to combat all of these issues.

    I don’t think it’s bad that you design a timeline for you to spend with your family. You have to provide for them, so it’s for the betterment that you do choose your times to spend with your family so you’re productive when you’re not. I really need to work on scheduling things myself, especially since I’ve upgraded my OS and I’m trying to stamp out these system bugs at the moment.

  2. Luke Says:

    Great Post.

    I think another point that you touched on indirectly was that you need to have solid systems for doing your Freelance work. You mention having a list, which I always do, but also streamlining tasks like invoicing and follow ups can really free up a lot of time as well.

  3. designfollow Says:

    Thank you very much this will be very helpfull


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