The most precious thing for a freelancer is time. Successful freelancers are very good at managing their time efficiently and utilize every minute of the day for maximum benefit.
Freelancer need to manage time to get more clients and productivity. Time management help freelancers to work with various clients effectively. Get Ideas in this article to become more productive and earn more money than any other average freelancer.
If you read about any successful people, not just freelancers, you will notice how all of them stress upon systematic utilization of time to finish their daily and weekly goals. You must have heard the popular saying; “If you waste time, it will waste(destroy) you”.
Let’s shed some light why time management is important for freelancers?
1. When you know how to utilize your time with proper time management, it will increase your work efficiency and capacity to produce more work than others in the same duration.
2. By using good time management techniques, you can pre decide how you are going to utilize every minute of your time. You can put down in writing your monthly goals, how these monthly goals will translate to weekly goals, weekly to daily and by-the-hour targets. Therefore, you can set goals for everyday and have a plan ready about how you are going to use your time that day. You don’t waste any time thinking about what I should do next because you have already managed your time with pre-set goals or each task and the number of hours it should take to finish it.
3. With proper time management you can spend your time as per your priorities and free will. When you make a to-do list and set a time for every activity, you are focused on your work, more creative and energetic. You don’t avoid or shy away or from doing anything because it is in your to-do list and had a duration of time fixed for it. If someone disturbs you, you don’t indulge much with that person, let’s say for strolling on the Mall, because that time is not designated in your list and you don’t want to deviate from that set routine. Even if you have to go somewhere, your time management techniques will help you to find an alternate time for those activities that you miss. So proper time management will not only save time, it will also make you more focused and productive in life.
4. For a new freelancer just stepping into this field, it is essential to realise how important time management is for him. When you are able to divide and manage your time efficiently you will be able to work for more than one client in the same day. As an example, let’s say you find a client that wants you to be available for 4 hours each day and there is another client that needs 3 hours of your time in the morning (9am-12pm) and 3 hours in the evening(6pm-9pm). In this case, if you use good time management, you can accommodate both clients(or even more) in the same day by assigning a slot of 1 pm-5 pm for the first client and the rest for the others. You will only be able to do this if you know how to divide your time and take action according to your to-do list. When you are assigned a project/job by a client, he will expect you to be available at particular times. If you are not available, he could give you a bad review and feedback, especially if it is a pay by the hour project. If it is a fixed price project it won’t be so hectic but if you keep thinking there is still time and i’ll do it later then the time will come when you will say the work is too much for the time left to do it. If you are working for both, one fixed price client and another by the hour client, then time management becomes even more important for you. So you will have to divide and distribute your time to both these clients such that one client’s work does not obstruct the other client’s work.
5. With proper time management, a freelancer can not only work for multiple clients at the same time, he can also devote time to explore other sources of generating income. Let’s take an example to understand effective time management by a freelancer working for 2 clients:-
4am to 7am ~> Client A’s work
7am to 8am ~> Exercise/Yoga
8am to 9am ~> Breakfast
9am to 11am ~> Client A’s work
11am to 2pm ~> Client B’s work
2pm to 3pm ~> Lunch
3pm to 5pm ~> Rest/ recreation
5pm to 7pm ~> Client B’s work
7pm to 9pm ~> Dinner & family time
9pm to 11pm ~> Learning/practicing/improving skills & knowledge (anything productive)
It’s possible that this schedule may seem too hard initially, but keep in mind that there are several projects posted by clients that will require you to be present during fixed timings each day so you will have to adjust and get used to such timings eventually. For example if you land a project on Technical support you will have to be present for the client for 7 to 10 hours each day for the entire week. You may not have to work for a full 7 or 10 hours but you will still need to be available during the entire duration as the client can face a technical issue anytime during this period. If the client tells you that he does not expect any problems for a few hours, you can utilise this extra time for other important tasks with his permission.
6. You can progress in your career much faster with appropriate time management. This is because when you have goals you devote time to achieve these goals by dividing time and setting mini goals for yourself each day. Each hour of your daily schedule is pre fixed for these smaller goals and you feel closer to your larger goal when you keep finishing these smaller targets on time as per your to-do list. Doing this has several benefits for you as an individual for your personal development. You become more disciplined, committed and goal oriented. These qualities become part of your personality and with time you get used to such a routine and lifestyle which results in progress in every field.
7. It is essential to decide in advance a time for each task daily along with a set time limit for them. This is crucial because you will not end up wasting time on useless activities and save time. This not only makes your time utilization more useful and productive, it also gives you mental satisfaction and a sense of achievement.
I am not an expert to teach about proper time management, I just know what must be done if you want to be successful as a freelancer. So let’s think about a couple of things that can happen if you are not practical about time management – If you do not manage your time well; if you don’t know what you will be doing at 12 PM tomorrow; if you are not sure what will be your hourly routine on Saturday;what will happen? Let’s see:
When we don’t manage our time a typical routine for a day will look like this:-
- There is no fixed time of getting up early in the morning. Sometime you will get up at 7AM, sometimes 4 AM and other times at 9 AM. This makes your day smaller with fewer hours that can be used for working and your mind will be dominated with laziness and anxiousness. You can end up losing the passion and energy for your work due to this.
- When there is no time management and you have not decided beforehand what is the first work to be done in the morning, you will do what you feel like, when you feel like as per your mood at that time. This might be good for certain things but this is not good while you are trying to make a mark as a freelancer where you’ll need to work even when you don’t feel like it. So if you leave your freelancing endeavors and career upon your mood, then how far do you think you will go ?
- When there is no time management, you will spend a lot of it browsing social media pages or watching videos on YouTube knowingly or otherwise. This will eat up 3-4 hours from your day without even realizing where the time has gone. If you spend time online or even offline on activities that give you no benefit, there will be little time left to focus and complete important works and this can make you stressed
- If you don’t manage your time by making a fixed timetable for things, you will notice that anyone can contact you at anytime and you will go out with him or her without feeling any guilt about wasting time. The person will think you are free and have nothing to do so he contacts you to waste time. This will serve his purpose but your work will be left hanging for the time being. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to go out once in a while for leisure or to relax but there must be a pre-decided time for it so that it doesn’t hamper your work progress. If you do not bind yourself with the chains of time now then it will be very difficult to become a successful freelancer, businessman or even a good human being before you reach the age of 30.
- Lack of proper time management will create stress on the mind and it will not be able to function systematically. Because you are thinking with your heart and not with your mind it will be hard to concentrate. You will have to focus on your goal and use your brain cells to make efforts for achieving that goal. When your mind works according to a set time table, it works more efficiently and accurately. When you do things in a planned manner, your mind will itself get motivated towards that work.
- Without time management you will find it difficult to set aside time for learning. This happens because all the time you have is occupied while doing other people’s work. For a freelancer it is essential to update his skills continuously. If you do not keep learning new things and attain new knowledge regularly then freelancing won’t work for you. By deciding in advance what time you will spend for your work and what time you will spend on learning and updating your skills you will get more proficient in your field.
- When there is no time management it affects your physical and mental health also. Lack of time can create undue pressure on your mind and when there is no time you will not be able to exercise or perform yoga which is very beneficial for physical and mental development. This is only possible with good time management so that you know when you can exercise your body and when you can exercise your mind.
So we can saw how many difficulties we can face when we don’t have proper time management and what are the benefits of managing our time well.
Lets now take a look at How to manage your time and use your free time in the most productive ways:-
1. Wake up early
Friends, in order to learn how to manage your time, you must first have time available that can be managed. To make your day bigger with more time, it is essential to wake up early. If possible try to wake up before or during sunrise because it is not just auspicious, the environment is very pleasant and peaceful at that time. This will help to increase your concentration which in turn will enable you to do more work in less time. This time is also best for exercise, yoga and meditation which in itself is very advantageous for overall development.So wake up early to discover that there is so much more that you can do in a single day which was not possible when you woke up late. As a freelancer, you can do the following things after waking up early-
- You can be the first to apply for jobs that are posted on freelancing websites.
- You can spend 1 or 2 hours on improving your English language speaking and writing skills by utilizing resources available on the internet such as video tutorials etc.
- You can spend some time to improve your technical skills and remain updated with the latest developments in your field.
- You can find time to exercise, practice yoga and just enjoy the beauty of nature which will relieve your mind from tensions and prepare you for a stress free day ahead.
An example of what your timetable can look like after waking up early in the morning is presented below:-
i) 4AM to 5AM- Bidding on freelancing sites.
ii) 5AM to 6AM- Practicing on English language skill improvement.
iii) 6AM to 7AM- Practicing and Improving Technical skills.
iv) 7Am to 8AM- Exercise/Meditation/Yoga
This way if you are successful in following the above given timetable of 4AM to 8AM for one month, i believe that no one can stop you from being successful in your freelancing business/career.
2. Make a To-Do list
Whether you have found work or not, or if you are thinking or working a job somewhere or even if you have 2-3 clients already, you have to set targets and goals for each day in advance. To attain bigger goals first you will have to attain smaller goals. You will have to achieve something every single day and you will have to make a habit of succeeding. When you make your to-do list you must divide time between learning, working, family matters and also recreation. Note down all the important works that you need to do and dedicate time for each task in a serial wise manner. This will sharpen your mind, you will be able to do all kinds of work with focus and you will have a sense of control and calmness within. Success will embrace you when you go ahead with proper planning and devote time for hard work.
3. Do intentionally, not unintentionally
The chances or percentage of success is higher when things are done with a planned and pre-decided approach. If you do something with with a thoughtful strategy the probability of it going as expected is greater, so you should only spend your valuable time on the things that matter. A task that is pre decided and important must be handled first and the rest can be taken care of later. For example if you are spending time on social media, there should be a beneficial motive behind it. If you are reading something, there must be a reasonable explanation about what you are gaining from it. Give your time only to the things that can have some kind of value and usefulness for you. If social media is useful for promotion or gathering customer insights then there is no harm in using it, but if you are always on it to look at how others are clicking selfies or read mundane status updates and comments, then there is no use. Social media is not going away anytime soon, first you should focus on your work and then venture into social media in your spare time. Rather than waste time looking at irrelevant posts and liking, commenting on them for a long time, you can utilize this time to learn something new, read an informative article or learn new English words to enhance your vocabulary.
So friends I urge you to realize how valuable time is and I hope you utilize it well for your progress and development. In our life, and particularly in the life of a freelancer the biggest challenge is to be able to use time with proper management. Our aim should be to do the important tasks first, if watching a cricket match or browsing social media can generate some income then by all means do that. I don’t think it’s right to use all such things and time for entertainment and enjoyment all the time. The kind of joy you can get from landing a project or from getting a 5 star review by a client is far more satisfying than any of these short-term joys. This is why so many successful people say “Love what you do and Do what you love”. What this means is that you should enjoy whatever work you do and put your heart into it. When you do this you will not have to look for other sources of enjoyment as your work will become your joy, pleasure and passion.
To conclude I would like to tell you that you should make your goal so great that you don’t have time for meaningless things in life. Dedicate every second, minute, hour, day and even night to turn your dreams into reality, because when you finally have enough money in your pocket then every day will be like diwali & holi and the celebrations will last forever.
Do forgive me if I said something harsh or rude.
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Vijay Kumar is Entrepreneur, IT Career/Leadership Skills Trainer and likes to help students, freelancers, and job seekers with his personal and professional experiences and ideas. The goal of writing is to help students to grow IT related Career and Leadership Skills.
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