How to manage your time as a freelancer

Struggle to find enough time to work as a freelancer? Or find it difficult to work efficiently? Read simple tips on managing your time better.

A big motivation for becoming a freelancer is the idea of having freedom – and in particular, the freedom to work for yourself and set your time limits.

So, if there is a pottery class, you want to go to midday on a Tuesday then you can! If you work best at night, then you can work late and spend the mornings in bed.

However, that freedom comes at a price. Being a freelancer takes a significant amount of self-discipline – after all, you still need to get the work done.

And sometimes you can even end up with no free time as you get so distracted that it takes you too long to do anything. This can be overwhelming and can leave you with no time for friends and family or hobbies.

When you are not working to the best of your ability you may even end up submitting work that is rejected by your client, losing you money and future business. (If you are a writer, one way to avoid this is to use plagiarism checker software.)

The best way to manage your time is to work efficiently. There are several ways you can be more productive. This include as keeping healthy through diet and exercise, having a place to work which is free of distractions, and taking regular breaks. 

Set yourself time constraints

Being disciplined with your time is also key. So try to set yourself a strict routine, wake up in the morning and go to bed at the same time each day. Another tip is to set yourself time constraints; allow yourself so much time for a particular project and then move onto something else when the time is up.

It can be easy to get lost down the rabbit hole when trying to complete a particular task but effective time constraints can be invaluable as they help you to stop procrastinating.

Set goals for yourself

Another helpful tip is to continually set goals for yourself. Often we don’t reach our goals simply because we don’t set them properly.

So write yours down and make sure that they are SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

If you set realistic goals and you meet them then it will encourage you to continue setting more. It feels good when we hit our goals and the dopamine hit we get will make us want to repeat the behavior.

This is the same principle that makes us want to keep eating chocolate or smoke. But on this occasions we can use it to our advantage!

Write to-do lists – and say “no”

Creating to-do lists and ticking things off as you go is another good way to create reward pathways in your brain. Ticking jobs off, however small, will keep us wanting to do more and show us that we are achieving something.

A final important tip is learning to say no. – whether it’s to a big project that isn’t paying enough or you just don’t have time for, or a social event that you don’t want to go to.

Taking on too much can leave you feeling like you don’t have the time, energy or headspace to complete it. And rather than satisfyingly working through your tasks, you get a little started of lots of jobs, and none finished.

Photo by Christina