A freelancer has to manage his own time, follow a schedule made by him and do things at his own pace. Although these do sound extremely exciting and you may think that you have all the time in the world, but that’s what it is not.
Time is a crucial element in freelancing career; just like everyone else even you will have only 24 hours and not all those hours are meant for working. You will probably actively work for 8 hours a day (a post that it’s just mental fatigue), just like any other day-jobber. In fact, you have to juggle between your freelance work, home, overhead works, errands, all of that in a day. And God saves you if work begins to pile up, work that no one can finish, but you.
Time management is a big deal when it comes to freelancing career. It’s all up to you –frombeing your own boss to finishing office boy’s errands.
Freelancers and Time Management
If the projects coming your way are simple and easy to handle, time management is nothing but a cakewalk, but the problem arises when you have to start squeezing too many tasks in a day or when your work starts to grow.
Planning a schedule and working exactly how it’s planned will definitely solve your problem. Sounds simple?
There are several Time Management Techniques which you can use. These techniques are basically what regular employees are asked to follow. Let us give you a small brief about it. You have to follow just these 4 tried and true techniques to improve your time management skills:
- Pomodoro Technique: Break down work period into the 25-minute interval. Set timer for 25 minutes and work distraction free. Take 5 minutes interval after that. Take the long break after 4 sets of 25 minutes.
- 18 Minutes Technique: Designed by the author of the book 18 minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Things Right, Peter Bregman, the technique asks you to give yourself 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the night and 1 minute per hour for your 8 hours of work. Read the post to understand how it works.
- COPE Technique: Stands for ‘Clear- Organised- Productive- Efficient’. The technique asks you to log-in your activities and remove time wasters. It is designed by Peggy Duncan, a personal productivity expert.
- ABC & Pareto Analysis Technique: This task entails you to classify each of your tasks into A B and C. A stands for urgent and important; B stands for important but not urgent; C stands for neither urgent nor important.
Sometimes following a technique can be bit tricky, especially when dealing with two or more clients, having different demands and deadlines and juggling in and out of your home office.
We believe the first thing you should do post waking up in the morning, or better yet, the previous night itself is to estimate the amount of work to be done today (or the next day). If you have the energy, work early in the morning for straight 4 hours, take a long midday break and get back to your work to continue until sun settles in.
How Important Time Management is for Freelancers?
1. It’s Importance on Income
Time is crucial when you are being paid by the number of hours you work. Imagine you typically work 8 hours a day, however, spend 3-4 hours on non-billable works (emailing, socializing, invoicing), i.e. more than you should, think of how many hours go unpaid. One of the best ways to tackling non-billable works is by automating them with exceptional project management tools.
2. It is Importance on Work Quality
When you don’t have sufficient time in completing a deadline, chances are high that you may cram and rush things around, which probably could cause you to commit errors and overlook them in the hurry. You have to learn how to say ‘No’ to unimportant works and distractions and spend less time on non-billable works, especially during the scheduled office hours.
3. It is Importance on Your Reputation
If you keep delivering low quality work continuously, consequently your reputation will suffer. Lack of time should never be an excuse.
4. It is Importance on Your Relationships
Subsequently, a substandard project work may let your clients or employers to think twice about hiring you again for their future projects. Freelance is a remote collaboration which is ideally built on trust, quality of work and timely deliverance. Make sure you walk the talk and deliver more than what’s expected out of you.
5. Your Best Bet – A Smart Time Tracker
There are freelancers who are awesome in time management, so much so that they always save more time for leisure and family. And then there is this other set of people who cannot handle time properly and are always running late.
That’s why it is very important that you find out how you spend your time. Time tracking becomes indispensable when it comes to working on projects, big and small. You can use a timer to track app to help you track your schedule, especially when you are paid per hour.
You can download a Reliable Desktop App to track time and help you value it more because you realize your worth. Most Desktop Apps create auto-generated invoices for hours you have tracked. This way you would know how much time you have invested in your skills.
6. How Much You Charge
Another important factor that determines time management for freelancers is your charges per hour or per project. How much you charge also plays a dominant role in your decision-making abilities. For instance, if you are paid well, this means you don’t have to overwork to make both ends meet. Therefore, it is better that you keep increasing your charges every six months to make a comfortable living.
Few Quick Tips Before We End the Session:
- Go on a diet, i.e. take less information from clients
- Limit checking your emails, social media accounts to twice a day
- Don’t work continuously. Take short tea or coffee breaks
- Socialise, don’t forget that. It’s a great stress reliever
- Practice saying ‘no’. Don’t commit anything outside office hours
- Treat freelancing as a job and don’t make it your life
Did these pointers help you in planning your time better? Be sure to evaluate each reason before you find your best combination. And once you do, let us know about it in the comments.