Are you a freelancer yourself, or do you work with freelance designers, writers, or other creative entrepreneurs? The below tips can help freelancers manage their time more effectively – a major challenge for anyone who is self-employed, especially those conducting creative tasks.
1. Time is Money
Time is money, but it is not just that – it’s opportunity. We often get so caught up in our habituated behavior and pat expectations of ourselves that we stop seeing the world in terms of limitless possibility. My old boss used to say (and I’m guessing he derived this from a business book he read) that time is the only non-replenishable resource we have. Procrastination is throwing away a valuable commodity you have that will never come back. It’s like throwing away bellbottoms, or selling your plasma.
2. Be Reasonable & Relax
Probably because of our fear of aging and other stresses related to time, it is difficult to be reasonable with ourselves. This can especially be the case if we feel that we are constantly behind. Be slow, careful, and caring with yourself as you develop better tactics to manage your behavior. Make sure you are getting good rest, eating right, and exercising (for the most part – deadlines are deadlines). Our bodies have a way of polluting our minds if we mistreat them.
3. Organize Your Environment
Regularly clear up any piles of debris – both physical and to-do items – in your workspace and personal life. Distractions pull us away from our most optimally effective mindset. Don’t wait until April 14 to do your taxes. The more you tell yourself that you do not have time to do your taxes, the more stressed out you will become. The more organized your life is, the more organized your freelancing efforts will be – and hence, the more effective you will be. Also consider hiring a heavyset German lady to rub your face in any piles of clutter you create.
4. Planning: Short- and Long-Term
A major challenge of freelancing is balancing immediate focus on today’s tasks with the broad picture of where you want to be a week from now and a month from now. If you want to manage your time well, it is necessary to have developing senses of future guideposts, while also not obsessing over those guideposts so much that they (broad goals for time management) end up themselves becoming distracting from day-to-day chores. Also, set reasonable deadlines.
5. Turn Off Your Phone
Okay, now do you want to become really good at this? Turn off your phone. I know, I just said the scariest thing that you’ve ever heard in your life. Turn it off. Your time is too important. Does the President take phone calls from his buddy during a Cabinet meeting? Why should you? You’ll be busy to the extent that you protect the sanctity of what you’re doing and take it seriously. Others will respect this in you. You are working. You’re not available for comment. When you take a break (which I recommend every 45 minutes), you can call back your bookie, parole officer, and concubine.
Good luck. Please comment below if you have any further ideas that you think could help other freelancers.