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Working from home as a freelancer has some great benefits including no commute or office politics to worry about, but it also balances this out with some problem areas. One of the main issues we hear about is how easy it can be to become distracted from the task in hand, impacting your productivity.
Freelancers who do well to avoid this do so very consciously with some slick time management and task planning. Accounting for their entire day so they don’t get pulled into any distractions helps them achieve their goals faster and more accurately.
So, what is the secret to this? Here are some top tips to managing your time more efficiently.
To-do listsWhether you approach your to-do list with an app or even pen and paper you should always take the time to plan the tasks you need to cover. Writing them down the night before sets your day up even better. By planning your day in advance, not only are the tasks fresh in your mind but the jobs you need to tackle first thing won’t seem so daunting.
When it comes to prioritising your list always approach the biggest task first, don’t be tempted to put in 5 smaller tasks first as this approach is just ‘kicking the can down the road’ and the procrastination will only become harder to avoid as the day goes on.
Schedule tasksTo plan further than a to-do list is having a task planner that details your tasks according to their frequency. Getting everything down on paper can help you plan out tasks, clear your mind and set goals leading up to each deadline. For example… Daily to-do lists• Follow up and enquiry emails• Client work• Social media postingWeekly tasks• Making a plan for next week• Admin tasks• Diary/meeting planningMonthly tasks• Analyse monthly progress• Pay for hosting packages/software etc.• Monthly catch up with clients/outsourced freelancers
This is a great of planning the hours you need to commit to your work for the upcoming month, meaning you are less likely to have your work/life balance affected.
Set SMART goals‘A goal without a plan is just a wish’.You wouldn’t drive somewhere new without mapping out your journey and the same should be the case for the goals you set for your business.Having a goal of “making more money” is a great goal but without the plan of how this will be achieved is nothing more than a wish. Try putting a plan to your goal by using the SMART method. This stands for:S – Specific – Make your goals clear and well-defined.M – Measurable – Ensure you can measure your goals and progress.A – Attainable – Make sure it’s possible and realistic to achieve your goals.R – Relevant – These goals should be relevant and closely related to the direction you want to take.T – Time-bound – Goals with deadlines are much more likely to be met.
Use a project management toolThere are some fantastic project management tools available, Asana and Trello to name just a couple. Project management tools help keep you on top of everything you need to do and include an inbuilt calendar and status bars for individual projects.
Set your hours.Only you know how you work best, if you jump out of bed in the morning and find yourself more motivated at the start of the day then focus your working hours around this. Model your hours around when you are most productive and stick to these hours. Avoid an ‘open all hours’ approach to your work and ensure that when you are not working you are not looking at emails. You will find yourself being much more productive when you are working if you have balanced this out with some ‘down time’. After all this may have been one of the reasons you started working as a freelancer in the first place.