I was relaxing on the couch some days ago while watching a video clip on my tablet about the importance of time management. It is probably not the first, neither is it going to be the last time that I would be watching or reading about this popular and important topic.
However, much of the information I have come across has mainly focused on the 9 to 5 workforce and not as much on freelancers – who are at the mercy of deciding how to spend their time. Without a doubt, each and every one of us, irrespective of our nature of work, has to consistently take conscious efforts to manage our time effectively.
Why Is Time Management So Important?
Why? Apart from our work, other responsibilities and what I’ll call ‘distractions’ are often around to share from the constant 86,400 daily currency that we get to utilize every blessed day.
A recent study by Dr Donald E. Wetmore, a successful full time Professional Public Speaker and Time Management expert, revealed that the average person gets one interruption every eight minutes; that’s approximately seven interruptions an hour, or 50-60 interruptions per day. The average interruption takes five minutes to handle. That totals about four hours or 50% of the average workday. The majority (80%) of those interruptions are typically rated as ‘little value’ or ‘no value’ creating approximately three hours of wasted time per day.
Taking these facts into account as a freelancer, time management is essential if you are going to be successful. Let’s face it, freelancers are one of the most susceptible to lots of distractions. For example, a freelancing stay-at-home mom has the responsibility to look after the kids and, at the same time, ensure that client’s projects are completed and delivered on or before deadlines.
The fact that there isn’t a boss to challenge you or pressure you into carrying out your duties means that you are at the danger of not spending your time appropriately on productive activities.
So, how do we ensure that we spend our time wisely between several activities and our freelance projects that must be completed?
In this post, I’ll show you 4 effective time management techniques that can help you to take control of your time effectively and be more productive.
Take Only the Projects You Can Complete
When you freelance, it can be tempting to take any project offered to you. You have bills to pay. You have a life. There are things you want to buy. It is not like it’s entirely bad to take on more projects since they obviously make your income increase, but taking more projects than you can complete in an average estimation of your time means that you run the possibly of getting overwhelmed by the pressure of completing all of the projects on your plate. In such a situation, you are likely going to spend more time trying to finish up each of those projects while other important projects eagerly await your attention. Taking on projects that you are sure of completing will help you to spend your time wisely and keep you from stressing yourself out.
Deal with Distraction
If you’re working from home and you have got neighbors who love to chat you up while you are, for example, trying to send a proposal to a client or while you’re developing content for your client’s website, then you probably know how distractions can so play on your time and leave you with little or none of it left as the day runs out. How about the distracting impact of social media? Due to the fact that working from home involves staying online, you are always susceptible to the advances of spending more time on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms where your friends and associates want to connect with you. While working on a client’s project, you must control your interaction with people around you and turn off social media while at work. Otherwise, you may not be able to spend your valuable time productively.
Know Your Most Productive Time to Work
For smart students, studying at their most convenient time of the day help them to save time and be more productive in their studies. In the same way, a freelancer must be able to figure out the best time of the day in which working is best. Over time, I have met some freelancers who love to engage their projects early in morning because that’s the time of the day when they feel incredibly productive. Knowing what part of the day makes you complete projects effectively helps ensure that your time is spent just the right way you would want it to be spent for the day, especially when your to-do list is filled with more work to be done in the next days.
Practice Saying No
While trying hard to complete projects from clients, it is possible to have friends and family who would want you to help them solve a problem or follow them to the beach or party. This is particularly tempting, but it can cause big problems in your business. You may be tempted to go, but keep in mind that your failure to meet a deadline means you risk of losing a client and ruining the reputation you’ve built over time. While it’s important to spend time with and help family and friends, it is much more important to know how to appropriately to say “no” to certain requests, especially when they can find a way out of the problem or go out for the party or beach without you.
What’s your favorite way to effectively manage your time as a freelancer? Let us know in the comments!