Time Management Tips for Freelancers

April 12, 2024

Nowadays, freelancing has become a lucrative business, where independent workers bid for projects and maintain a portfolio online. The freelancing business is becoming more prominent with the emergence of the gig economy and amazing trends are anticipated in the future times.  

Did you know?

There are approximately 1.57 billion freelancers in the global workforce contributing massively to the global GDP. Moreover, the freelance platform market that encompasses established names like Fiverr, Upwork, Toptal, Freelancer, and FlexJobs is worth 3.39 billion dollars, worldwide. 

This blog will explore proven time management tips that can help freelancers maintain a healthy balance in their lives. 

What Is Freelancing?

Freelancing is a unique and independent working style in which an individual takes short-term projects from specific clients and delivers them within the agreed timeline. Freelancing is about doing specific work for clients without committing to full-time employment. 

The pay model for freelancing includes per project, per task, or per hour, turning it into a lucrative business. Typically involving short-term assignments, the fields such as technology, digital marketing, and designing harbor the most number of freelancers. 

 Frequently considered self-employed individuals, freelancers own the freedom to decline a project if the offerings and terms do not align with their expectations. 

Along with providing high flexibility,  freelancing allows the selection of as many projects and as much workload as endurable. According to a study, 46% of freelancers agree that it has introduced flexibility in their lifestyles. 

However, despite the flexibilities, freelancing can bring monumental changes in lifestyles due to its unique working style. Feelings of burnout and exhaustion are other challenging facets of freelancing, making it overwhelming and arduous. Learning to cope with stress, becoming productive, and saving time help freelancers stay poised in maintaining the perfect work-life balance.  

Let’s quickly dive into some essential tips to attain high productivity while managing time. 

Proven Time Management Tips for Freelancers

Creating a Calendar:

A calendar divides the day into specific and pre-defined schedules.  These schedules help freelancers achieve high levels of productivity and meet deadlines. Calendars are useful in blocking time for events of high priority and work according to a project’s urgency. 

Top Tips for Time Management

Aligning activities and deliverables with the calendar helps the freelancer meet deadlines and ensure client satisfaction without experiencing the notorious burnout. This is a popular reason, task scheduling calendars are becoming prominent among editors and project managers to monitor teams’ activities and manage projects efficiently. Furthermore,  today a wide range of digital calendars are visually pleasing and ensure enhanced and interactive user experience. 

Practicing Task Prioritization:

Task prioritization is essential when freelancers are burdened with piles of projects with short timelines. To spend more time on a less important task or the other way around is extremely insensible. Prioritization helps strategize the workload into more manageable segments, saving effort and time for other crucial personal actions like working on a more stable mental and growth-oriented mindset. 

Prioritization strategies such as MoSCoW Method, Critical Path Method, ICE (Impact, Confidence, and Ease), and RICE Method (Reach, Impact, Confidence, Effort) are extremely efficient and effective in determining the value of a project or a task. 

Integrating Project Management Tools:

Project management tools comprise varied solutions that allow freelancers to manage their projects and oversee activities effectively. These unique and time-saving features, such as time tracking, project planning & scheduling, billing & quotes, time tracking, reporting, and project budgeting, shine the right path to attain high productivity and foster an ability to seamlessly organize professional life. 

Two of the key features of project management tools are task automation and data analysis. Task automation saves a large amount of time for freelancers, enabling them to bid for more projects, and driving more revenue and productivity. Data analysis helps in decoding working habits and tailoring patterns that elevate professional productivity. 

Minimizing Distractions:

Freelancers may have to work from anywhere or go to their offices for specific visits. It entails a lot of distractions and a lack of structure where the workflow is not streamlined and utterly ill-managed. Minimizing distractions is an incredible strategy to attain the highest productivity and complete projects without missing deadlines. 

Distraction-limiting practices like creating a quiet or a ‘No-interruption’ zone, using noise-cancellation headphones, and silencing notifications and alerts like emails and messages are proven strategies to gain complete control over mental focus and concentration. 

Creating a Comfortable Workspace:

Working from anywhere as a freelancer doesn’t mean, one should be working lazingly like from their bed or a reclining chair. This not only wastes time but also prevents fully-fledged productivity. A conducive workspace with essential resources and tools efficiently aid tasks, facilitating an intense control over cognitive focus. 

Shifting and changing workspace frequently interrupts the mental state and working style of a freelancer. A dedicated corner to work introduces a habit of “going to work” even for freelancers. Furthermore, it creates a thick boundary between the personal and professional lives of freelancers. 

Using Time Management Techniques:

Time management methods, such as the Pomodoro Technique, Eisenhower Matrix, ABCDE Method, Time blocking method, Getting Things Done (GTD) Method, and Eat the Frog are fantastic time management techniques for saving time. Once these techniques turn into habits, managing piles of workload becomes super-easy and manageable. 

Time management strategies are crucial, specifically for freelancers because these professionals lack a defined time bracket for working. They must work recklessly and day and night to make ends meet and deliver projects. Time management allows freelancers to breathe amidst immense workloads and allot time to personal life and social interactions. 

Emphasizing Professional Improvement:

A freelancer handles projects single-handedly. This means relying on themselves to learn and evolve. A freelancer lacks an office environment and best practices companies and organization follows. These best practices include knowledge-transferring sessions, scheduled seminars, awareness events, and campaigns. 

A freelancer must strive to learn and adapt to emerging trends and industrial concepts to gain more value and expertise. Enrolling in online courses and learning new skills are effective ways to gain more knowledge and unlock new avenues. 

Tackling One Task at a Time:

In the beginning, multitasking seems an appealing technique to get tasks done faster but gradually it peters down the productivity to null. Switching from one task to another affects the processing abilities of the human mind, giving rise to the boggled state of mind. Studies have highlighted how multitasking negatively impacts productivity, wasting unnecessary time. 

Taking one task at a time instead of overloading oneself with a hefty workload is a more mindful decision. Task segmentation, break scheduling, reviewing, and reflecting can help gain more focus and complete tasks more efficiently. 

Automating Mundane Tasks:

As the present era is becoming more competitive, it is vital to save every minute with digital tools that allow one to seamlessly automate repetitive and mundane tasks. Freelancers can get a large amount of help with tools that automate and reduce their workload significantly. Traditionally, performing tasks manually added more to the burden and consumed more time. 

Using automation tools like Zapier, Integromat, IFTTT, Automate.io, Microsoft Power Automate, AutoHotKey, Alfred, Wappwolf, WinAutomation, Keyboard Maestro, and Alfred can save a significant amount of time and increase productivity. 

Take Proper Rest:

Being a freelancer can be overwhelming as they work for long hours and without an organized work structure. Approximately 8-9 hours of sound sleep and in-between-tasks breaks are significant to create a healthy lifestyle as a freelancer. These time-outs are pivotal to refilling your cognitive abundance, leaving freelancers afresh. 

Effective strategies to introduce mini-sessions of mental relaxation may include walking in the park, listening to music, Power Yoga, Pilates, playing games, playing with pets, or reading books. These activities prepare the mind to manage newer projects with more mental strength and a newer perspective. 

Let’s Wrap it Up!

Freelancers face a myriad of challenges, varying from improper organization to negligible supervision, affecting their time management skills. However, managing time is plausible with these effective time management strategies. 

In the world of the digital era, time management is possible with digital time management tools. Time trackers are extremely important for tracking time and monitoring performance. Features like project management, billing, productivity measurement, screen tracking, and generating reports help freelancers gain insights about their working style and improve accordingly. These tools are easy to operate and provide in-depth insights to make solid plans for improvements and grow gradually.