One of the things that freelancers love about their work is the freedom to set their own schedules. However, that flexibility can also be a disadvantage. With remote work and no one to check up on what you’re up to, it gets challenging to motivate yourself to meet your deadlines and be productive.
The truth is that freelance work requires proper time management. After all, it has a significant effect on your wellbeing. According to a study from the University of the West Indies at St. Augustine, effective time management can improve performance and lower anxiety levels.
So, if you want to boost your productivity as a freelancer, follow the tips below.
Table of Contents
Idea 1: Develop a Foolproof Schedule
Have a Routine for Work
You get a sense of responsibility when you establish a timetable for work. Determine a reasonable work routine and do your best to maintain it. Choose the time that works best for you to start your day. Set your alarm, wake up, clean up, dress up, eat well, and get to work.
If you start your freelance work in your pajamas, you’re unlikely to get into the productive zone. Moreover, you’ll feel lazy throughout the day.
Take Regular Breaks
Taking short breaks throughout the day can boost cognitive functions, ensuring better performance. For instance, an Australian National University study revealed that watching funny eight-minute videos in between work can help people recharge their mental batteries. So, regularly take a break, eat a snack, or take a walk.
You should also take time to eat your lunch. Remember that working with an empty stomach can drive your attention away from your tasks.
Idea 2: Establish a Reasonable Workload
It’s important to have a steady flow of income in freelancing. However, if you keep on accepting projects, you may spread yourself too thin. Being swamped with work may overwhelm you, causing you to procrastinate and panic.
So, be practical about how much work you can take on. You should also understand how much time it takes for you to complete tasks. This way, you can get a good estimate of your weekly workload and be more confident in accepting or rejecting projects.
If you don’t know how to estimate task duration, here are some tips:
- Track your time with each task – There are plenty of time tracking apps for freelancers, and you can use one to monitor how much time you spend on a project. These tools come with daily, weekly, and monthly reports that will show you task duration patterns.
- Manage your time – You only have limited working hours per day. So, account for the time you spend on marketing yourself, meeting with clients, and sending emails. By doing so, you’ll get an overview of your available time for each day.
- Put a cushion around your time budget – To be safe, overestimate the duration of a project. Add an hour or two for each existing project to ensure that you have enough time to complete them even when something unexpected comes up.
When you regularly track your time for various projects, you will be able to forecast your workload efficiently. Cloud-based tools like Google Sheets can help you monitor your projects. However, if you want an easier way to do things, your best bet is to use a time tracking app.
Taking this approach will also help you come up with better project quotes for potential clients. If a customer prefers an hourly rate and you want to bid, you can use the data you’ve collected to negotiate terms.
Idea 3: Improve Your Focus
With everything going on in our daily lives, the term “multitasking” has become part of our regular vocabulary. People usually think that they are achieving more when they try to accomplish several tasks simultaneously. However, that is far from the truth.
When you’re fully engaged in a single task, you can concentrate effectively. After all, dividing your attention between several activities can lead to lower productivity and quality of work.
Instead of visiting sites several times a day, it’s best that you use an RSS reader. Doing so allows you to get alerts about new content from your favorite blogs and sites. You can also avoid falling into the rabbit hole of online posts that you’re not even interested in reading. Moreover, organize your subscriptions by folders to avoid checking non-work-related sites during the day.
Constantly checking your social media accounts can be a real problem. So we recommend you use an app that will block these sites while you’re working. There are tools that allow you a window of time for checking distracting sites—just to give yourself a break.
As such, before the start of the day, determine how much time you can allot to checking emails or social networks. These activities will also serve as quick breaks between your tasks.
Idea 4: Recognize Your Efforts
As a freelancer, you don’t have a boss who will pat you on the back for the great work you’ve done. So, you have to find ways to motivate yourself. If you’ve achieved the goals you’ve set, then reward yourself. Even the smallest reward can go a long way in boosting your productivity.
Buy yourself that adjustable desk you’ve been eyeing for months. You can also treat yourself to a meal in your favorite sushi restaurant. Giving yourself incentives for your hard work can make you productive and happy.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re already a seasoned professional, surviving in the freelancing world is never easy. You may have the skills for the job, but they would be useless if you don’t know how to manage your time. Align your productivity with your passions so you can set yourself up for guaranteed success in the freelancing world.
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