Freelancer

How can you stop wasting time by simply getting yourself organized?

Written by Laura Swysen

7 minutes of reading

Getting organized is an essential quality in order to start as a freelancer. Hopefully, there are several tools that can assist you with planning management to increase your productivity.  

Those who think freelancers are waiting all day long for new assignments to pop out of the vacuum don’t know a thing about it! If the freelancer status has some advantages such as telecommuting or flexible schedule, one has to commit to a daunting discipline not to get lost among the various clients. An undelivered service has dire consequences: the unsatisfied client will never use the freelancer’s services but also bring discredit on them; a disaster knowing the importance of word-of-mouth in the sector.

Find your own pace as a freelancer

Being your own boss brings tremendous temptation: oversleeping one morning here, spend a day binge-watching there. Not much is needed to accumulate delay on your assignments. The freelancer’s task will be to determine their schedule as well as a proper work environment. Although freelancing comes with flexibility, organizing a work schedule is crucial to be productive. Detailed planning will allow prioritizing your tasks, to be more focused but also to know if you are on time. You might want to reconsider your planning if you imagine 7 or 8 straight hours of work a day. It is crucial to arrange some breaks in your program. The Pomodoro method, very popular among developers, recommends organizing your workflow in chunks: for 25 minutes of full capacity functioning, you take 5 minutes break; every 4 chunks, you take an additional 20 minutes to relax. It is a powerful method to avoid procrastinating.

The work environment is another essential feature of a freelancer’s productivity. Working on your couch while checking out Netflix is always less effective than completing your tasks sitting at a desk or in a co-working space. There is less distraction around. Is a Facebook notification or a new show hindering you from focusing on your tasks? Install add-ons, such as Block Site on Chrome or LeechBlock on Firefox, blocking given entertainment websites for 1, 5, or even 8 hours (and more if needed). Freelancers that wish to optimize their work time can also rely on “To-do List” apps such as Todoist, Any.do, Clear Todos or Wunderlist. Similarly to Neuville’s “remembrall” imagined by J.K. Rowling, these send you to push notifications reminding you of your deadlines.    

Anticipation, the freelancers’ secret weapon

“Sure, I’ll do it” are the most common words used by beginner freelancers. Starting your career, there is a tendency to accept every opportunity. It can be detrimental to the quality of the delivered services. Becoming freelance is also about quantifying the effort needed, learning to delegate, and saying “no” when assignments are piling up. How can you avoid being swamped with your tasks? The key is to anticipate missions as much as possible. Some times are shallower in terms of the workflow (such as summertime or holidays), which implies that the weeks before may be more loaded. Get the greatest share of your assignments done before these critical periods. Do not procrastinate during more laid back hours. These times are perfect to start a training course or research the market by scrutinizing your competitors’ business.

A necessary feedback

After a few months as a freelancer, it is very important to analyze your performances. You must identify the factors hindering your productivity as well as the time slots during which you are the most or the least productive. You can use reporting websites such as RescueTime, giving you a detailed account of the hours you spent on your computer. This essential feedback will enable you to adapt your workflow to your pace. Also, try to plan for breaks and holidays at the most “revitalizing” times.

These are often left aside because of financial reasons but they do constitute a necessary component to the freelancer’s fulfillment. After all, J.K. Rowling’s world-famous wizard saga was imagined during a train ride and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings landscapes were inspired by his travel in the Irish region of Burren.   Are you a freelancer and looking for the latest trends and tips? Here, you will find answers to all your questions. 

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