As a freelancer, it’s important to know how to manage your time wisely. There are a lot of things you need to do in order to keep your business running smoothly, and if you’re not careful, you can easily fall behind. One of the top reasons for people to become freelancers is because of the freedom and flexibility. Ironically, a big reason people don’t become successful at freelancing is because of their lack of time management skills.
So how do you create a perfect schedule as a work-from-home freelancer? Symposium has done the research for you so that you will no longer miss deadlines!
Decide on your working days, hours and location
The first step to setting realistic deadlines is by determining your working days and hours. The flexibility of a freelance gig means you can work as much or as little as you like. Although it’s perfectly fine for this to fluctuate throughout the week, make sure your clients have the right expectations.
If your email signature says you work from Monday to Friday from 9 AM until 5 PM, this doesn’t mean you have to actively work these hours. Just being reachable can already be enough. For example, if you’re out for lunch with a friend when a client email comes in, type a quick reply saying you’ve received their request and will be working on it the next day/week.
Make sure you don’t make false promises. If something takes you longer than anticipated, communicate this with your client.
Besides determining which hours you will be available for clients, you should also make sure you include blocks of time for yourself. For example, think of how long your lunch break will be, when you will go to the gym, walk the dog, or do the dishes. You can block time in your Google Calendar to work on specific tasks.
For some people working from home can be too distracting. Consider renting an office space or working in a local coffee shop. Wherever you end up working, make sure it works for you!
List all your tasks, including subtasks, and deadlines
Putting all your tasks on a to-do list will be helpful to give you an overview of what needs to be done and when. There are a lot of handy online tools to help you manage your projects online, such as Asana or ClickUp. You can create a task, such as “write a blog” and create subtasks like “create UTMs,” “download images,” “implement feedback” and “create social media post for the blog.”
This will help you split up one big tasks into multiple segments, which may all have different deadlines. You can also go the offline route and write out all your tasks on a piece of paper. Do whatever works best for you, but make sure you keep things organized and don’t lose your notes!
Prioritize time-sensitive tasks and plan out your week
If you’ve promised your client a new blog post every week, you need to make sure you allow yourself enough time to create, gain feedback from the client, implement the feedback and upload it to the website. This may be more important than, for example, creating a meeting agenda for a meeting next month.
And if all your deadlines seem to be approaching at the same time, adopt a “Getting things done” attitude. This is an effective way to knock out many tasks in a relatively short time. Start with the task at the top of your list and don’t work on anything else until it’s done. Consider turning off your phone and email notifications to avoid distractions or getting tempted to work on other tasks before the one you’re working on is done.
Make sure you leave some time each day for unexpected work
Setting yourself goals as a freelancer is critical, but make sure you keep them realistic. Some tasks may take you longer than you anticipated, while others may be completed faster than planned.
You can be on top of your schedule when a client unexpectedly calls you with an urgent request. Make sure that you allow time in your schedule for situations like these.
And if no emergency arises? You finish work early. It’s a win-win situation!
I’ve put too much on my plate and no longer have any free time. Help!
Don’t overbook yourself. Take time off if you need it, but make sure to communicate this with your clients. Another handy trick to stay organized is by giving yourself an admin day. Depending on your freelance work this can be one day a week, per month, or whenever you need it.
Time management isn’t just important to keep your clients happy, it’s also important to leave yourself free time to do the things you want to do, like picking up a fun hobby. Moreover, determining how long a specific task takes you and how many hours you work on average can help you determine your freelance rate, so keep it realistic.
Symposium can help keep you accountable and improve your time management
Time management is a very important skill to possess throughout your freelancing career. But, you don’t have to learn this skill alone! In fact, you can learn all the ins and outs about sticking to deadlines from one of our Symposium Experts.
And once you’ve nailed that? Sign up with Symposium to become a seller and start making money online!