If you’re a freelancer, you probably know how important time management skills are. As your own boss, it can be easy to get lost in managing your time. After all, you probably don’t have defined hours and if you’re working from home, life and work can get intertwined, potentially too much.
That’s where time management skills come into play. We’ve gathered our top time management tips to make sure that you’re maximizing your workday and leaving wasted time behind.
What is time management and why is it so important as a freelancer?
As a freelancer business owner, you run the show and get to decide exactly how you spend your time each day. In many cases, it’s a one (wo)man show, which means you need to make sure you’re on top of everything: project management, prioritizing important tasks, social media, tracking your time and so much more. Things can get busy! That’s why becoming a time management pro is critical if you wish to succeed in organizing your working day as best as possible.
Time management is when you plan and complete your tasks and activities in an effective and organized manner. Time management does not mean that you need to work 24/7. The opposite is actually true. With successful time management apps and tools, you’ll have more time to enjoy your hobbies and have fun outside of the working hours when you do your freelance work.
Top time management tips for freelancers
Plan your time in advance
Take time at the beginning of every week (we recommend Sunday evening or Monday morning!) to look at what’s coming up and decide when you will work on each task. The more detailed the better! Use a paper planner, online calendar, Google Drive doc, or whatever method you find the easiest to work with.
Have something non-work-related that you want to fit into your workday? Book it in. This includes going to the gym, meeting a friend for lunch, getting your haircut, or anything else you desire. Write every task down, whether it's top priority or just for fun.
Use a time tracking technique
There are various techniques that freelancers use to keep them on track. One is the Pomodoro technique and involves setting a timer for 25 minutes and then taking a small, five-minute break. After four Pomodoros, take a longer break (15-30 minutes) and then get back to work.
Techniques like the Pomodoro are effective because your schedule is clear and over time you’ll learn how much work you can get done in each increment in order to plan successfully. You’ll also be able to clearly see which tasks take up more time than others and make changes in your schedule accordingly.
Set a schedule
You might think that one of the best parts of being self-employed is that you set your own working hours. While this can definitely be a benefit for many, it can also be a huge disadvantage. Why? Because you may find yourself working around the clock. This is especially true if you work from home. You may all of a sudden want to throw in a load of laundry or watch that Netflix show that you’ve been addicted to lately.
Resist the urge and stick to your schedule. If you’re a morning person, set your hours according to that. Prefer to get a late start? No problem. But once you set your hours, stick to them. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself doing work in the middle of the night and killing your productivity.
Turn off social media and other distractions
Have you ever been sucked into the realms of social media? Distracted constantly by email alerts? We’ve all been there. And that’s why you should close these distractions and focus on your work.
The same goes for the distractions around the house. If you find it difficult to focus on work while working remotely from home, check out co-working spaces or working in coffee shops for a change of scenery.
Use a scheduling program
If you need to book meetings with clients regularly or use introductory calls as a method for bringing in leads, use a scheduling program to allow clients to book themselves at a time that is convenient for both of you. This method allows you to maximize your time by not having to deal with the back and forth of scheduling.
Take time off
This might seem counterintuitive. After all, if you’re swamped with work and trying to manage your time, why would you take time off?
The answer is that everyone needs time to unwind and step away from work. Taking a day off once a month or whenever you feel necessary may be the perfect way to boost your productivity by connecting with yourself and
Managing your time most effectively as a freelancer
Time management skills take time to develop and are one of the biggest challenges for many freelancers. By using our top tips, you’ll develop the skills necessary to get work done efficiently on the schedule that you desire.