It’s not something you get taught in school. Most people end up working for an employer. But working for yourself can be liberating and scary at the same time. You are the boss. Making tough decisions, finding work, and remaining positive can all get too much for some people. Knowing how to manage your time as a freelancer is extremely helpful. If you can excel at time management, a freelancing life is so much better. It brings out the “free” in freelancing so you can enjoy it more. Find out how you can organise your time better, from somebody who has been a freelancer for the last seven years.
Table of Contents
How to Manage Your Time as a Freelancer Without Stressing
Get Serious With Your Admin
Most people don’t like doing admin, especially if you are a freelancer in a creative field. It’s that boring bit of work you have to do, but you manage it put it off as long as possible. It ultimately breaks your flow when you have to do some admin. When you go back to the “real work”, you realise that you have lost concentration. So, make a point of grouping your admin work. Ideally, allocate one day a week when you do your admin, such as updating notes, invoices, etc.
If dedicating one day is not an option for you, put 30 mins aside each day to do your admin tasks.
Those 30 minutes will make a massive difference to the rest of your work in the week. It will help with your workflow, and you will end up being more productive. You won’t procrastinate anymore with your admin. You will know when you have to work and when you have to do admin. The transition between both might seem difficult at first, but it will get easier, so stick with it.
Take The Weekends Off
Many freelancers end up overdoing it, and work can creep into the weekend. Before you know it, you work every day of the week and wonder if you will ever have some free time. Your dream of being a freelancer can end up feeling more like a nightmare. But the key is to work well during the week and take your weekends off.
If you have to work weekends, then take time off during the week instead.
If you want to deliver your best work to a client, you need to feel refreshed and full of energy. Remember that you are working to live, not living to work. So treat your free time as necessary as your working time. It will make the difference between having a long-term freelancing career or getting burnt out.
Manage Your Time as a Freelancer When Hunting for Clients
It can be easy to get complacent and rest on your laurels when you have a few clients. Ideally, it would be best if you always were on the hunt for clients. In the freelancing world, you can end up in the dreaded “feast and famine” cycle. Like your admin organisation, either dedicate a day of the week when you spend some time looking for clients or some time each day.
Don’t forget the power of the referral.
If you have been working with a client for a while, don’t be scared to ask for a referral. The client has stayed with you for the stellar work you have done. So you can be sure that they will be more than happy to recommend you to others. Plus, they know how you work, so they would more than likely recommend you to potential clients who will be a good match for you. It will save you time starting from scratch.
Become an Early Riser
Setting your alarm clock a bit earlier can help you get loads accomplished before starting your “proper” working day. It’s quiet, there is no background noise, and you can start working through your to-do list at your own pace. Use this time to create a morning routine that fits with you.
It might seem strange at first, but before you know it, you will look forward to it.
By the time your working day starts, you will be ahead of yourself. As a freelancer, this can help save you precious time and keep you organised. So next time you are thinking of having a late night during the week, stop yourself. The benefits of getting up earlier far outweigh anything else.
Use Trello to Manage Your Time as a Freelancer
Trello could be your new best friend. It is so easy to use and can help you organise your personal and professional life. By creating simple cards, you can manage all the things you need to do each day. Use the free version, which is more than enough to keep yourself on track. You can enjoy the feeling of completing tasks and seeing your lists diminish.
You can also use Trello with others, so you can continually move forward on projects.
Action Step: Sign up for a free account with Trello and plan out your week. Create a card for everything you need to do each week. Close them to done when you have finished them. Then assess the process at the end of the week. Ask yourself how productive you were? Did it make your freelancing life a lot easier?
Effective time management can have a positive impact on both your personal and professional life. Freelancing can be an excellent way to work if you can learn to manage your time well. If you do end up having to spend more time on one project, rejig your timetable immediately. Don’t get distracted as you work, and stick to your plan. You will get to the end of the day with a clean sheet and a feeling of satisfaction.
Create routines that match you, and remember to ask for referrals from your regular clients. You might be surprised what happens. Use resources such as Trello to help you stay on track. So you can then get to the weekend and enjoy some well-earned time off. You’ll come back stronger and happier, ready to work. Embrace the freelancing life and excel!
Sally Leslie is a personal development dream weaver and optimist. She helps freelancers and entrepreneurs create balance in their lives and work towards their personal and professional goals. Sally is also a freelance content writer/copywriter for B2B/B2C content. A lover of plants, freedom, and football!