Freelancers – Manage Time Effectively
There are two common, recurring problems freelancers experience. The first, lack of work, the second, effective time management. There probably should be something in that sentence about tax and accountancy too, but for now we’ll just stick to the important things!
In this article we’re going to discuss these issues and who knows, maybe this article will go some way to helping you become a better freelancer. You can be as good at your job as you can possibly be but if you start messing clients around due to poor time management or you start refusing work from potential clients because your tunnel vision isn’t allowing for it then it’s really not going to matter how good you are at what you do! So let’s get started.
Why Manage Time?
Everyone needs to manage time. In every aspect of their life. Freelancers more so than others as if they don’t work they don’t get paid and if they don’t get paid they don’t eat. Not only do they have to make sure that they allocate enough time to the project to complete it they also need to make sure that the funds they are receiving from the project is enough to cover the time they spend on it. On top of that a freelancer also needs to control their workload so they’re not left with huge gaps in their schedule at the end of a current project and equally that they do not have too many projects on the go at once which can make life a living hell. So managing time effectively is of the upmost importance.
Time Management Apps
Fortunatly there are lots of time management applications out there that take the “guesstimation” work out of managing a fledging freelancer career. TimesApp which is a Linux based time management application is a fantastic example as this as using something like this you really can manage every aspect of your work flow to the minute. Sure some things always run over and equally you’ll finish some tasks quicker than you thought you would be at least being able to plan your working hours across your day/week/month will mean you’ll know where you’re at with your schedule at all times.
Embrace the Chaos
Some people find is easier to work on lots of projects at once. A few hours here and a few hours there across the board. Personally, I like working this way as I find it somewhat boring working on the same thing day in day out. But some people think it makes things more difficult to manage. Lots of projects on the go at once means that no one client will be waiting long for progress/updates on their application and if you are not stuck in a project by project mindset you’ll be able to take on more work from more clients and will ultimately be able to make a better living. Successful time management is the key to satisfying a big client list.
Project by Project
The opposite to the above is the project by project approach which designers and programmers in particular prefer. This is where you take on a job and see it through to the end before you take on the next project. If you need an extreme focus in order to complete the task at hand this is probably the best option for you but if you’re not careful it can lead to huge gaps in your schedule as clients in particular do not want to wait for freelancers to become available. Although with that said you might be that good at what you do that you can afford to keep clients waiting for months for you to become available.
Do Not Refuse Work
In my opinion unless you’re inundated with work on a day to day basis you should try not to refuse anything. Sure you might be late on a few projects here and there but you have to look after number one first.
Hopefully as a successful freelancer you do most of the above anyway, but I guess it always helps to hear it from someone else. Effective time management is the key to becoming a success, it’s not just about the quality of your work. Peoples time is important, they don’t want to be messed around. It’s not just about the end product it’s about the journey from the initial contact right through to the end product.