Freelancing offers freedom and flexibility that can be empowering. However, it takes a great deal of discipline to keep productive and achieve results especially when you're new to the world of freelance. Work can easily get hard to manage. Here's how you can stay organized, efficient, and successful!
1. Create a Routine for Yourself
Productivity lies in the routine! Without a routine, it will feel like you don’t know what to do with all the time on your hands. Set yourself up for success with a day to day routine.
Routine creates space for productivity and creativity. Set yourself up for success with a morning, evening and afternoon routine.
With time, this will give you an intuitive structure that helps you focus on work. Routines optimizes your creativity and focus. If you are most creative in the morning - do these projects first thing and save more task-oriented work like emails and finances for the afternoon. The most important thing is to create a schedule that keeps you energized and focused.
2. Give Yourself a Time Limit
Much like clocking in and out of work, freelancers need time limits for their workdays. Without a way to track the time you’re putting in, you may think you’re working more than you actually are.
You can commit to working certain hours at a time or use one of the many online time tracking tools available. Office Time, Time Panther, and Clockodo are just some of the great tools available to you online.
But don’t procrastinate. Deadlines, especially self-imposed deadlines, can be a great way to hold yourself accountable and ward-off procrastination.
Set early deadlines so you can do multiple drafts and get feedback from your client before they need the final product. To meet your deadlines, give yourself concrete time-limits for a specific task and track these.
3. Have an Action Plan
Write down your vision, What you want to accomplish, your goals. Ask yourself, “How can I accomplish these goals?”
Break down your action plan into short term and long term and what you need in order to achieve these goals.
Write down your Vision or Business Plan. Remind yourself why you chose to go down this path. We all have trying days and will have many more along the way.
4. End of the day Check-in
Take the time to check how you did everyday. Did you accomplish what you set out on your to-do list? If not, what stopped you? This is crucial because it teaches you about your plans when we analyze them and can modify them as we go.
Take 10 minutes for reflection and preparation for the next day. Note the progress you’ve made today, and create a new list of what you need to do tomorrow. This will keep your mind focused and ready for the next day.
5. Filing System
Create a system that will work for you. As a freelancer, you have to keep track of a lot of documents. Take the time to organize them, so finding them will be easy. Important documents include receipts, invoices, contracts, model release forms, emails, client accounts, tax forms, business legal documents, etc.
6. Commit to a healthy work-life-balance
One of the most important things to foster as a freelancer, is work-life-balance. Whether you are working from home or a communal office, as a freelancer it can be hard to create space between your work tasks and personal health. So, be sure to factor in time away from your computer - a walk, a run, quick house cleaning, or simply running errands can help you reinvigorate yourself.
7. Complete tasks based on priority
One of the first things you learn as a freelancer is that not all tasks carry the same weight. Responding to emails, in general, is typically something that's done in between projects or assignments.
Putting off actual work in favor of replying to every unopened email isn't an efficient use of your time and could complicate your schedule later on. Instead, it's recommended that you complete high-priority tasks as soon as possible while saving low-priority tasks for periods of downtime at the end/beginning of your workday.
Stay on track and only spend time on actions that will benefit your freelance business. Create a to-do list for your workday that ranks tasks based on their level of priority. You'll then have an objective reference that can help you determine which obligations you should tackle first.
8. Eliminate distractions
Distractions are the bane of productivity and organization. Even something as simple as scrolling through social media for 30 seconds could cause you to lose your train of thought and waste more time than you need in order to complete a task.
Eliminating as many distractions as possible will ensure that you can maintain an efficient workflow. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, take a short break.
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