Pressed by the daily responsibilities, working incessantly to meet deadline and never finding the time to handle other matters – these are the main problems that you have to deal with as a freelancer; in such situations, following the suggestions on managing time as a freelance designer should prove helpful.
Suggestion #1: Be organized
Someone once said that an efficient person sees order in everything. While there is a fine line between being organized and compulsive, you have to recognize that the time you have available can be better used once you have everything straightened out.
If you plan on being methodical in your work as a freelancer, then the first step that you need to take is to create a schedule. Start your day by writing your to-do list on a sheet of paper and setting your most urgent tasks into priorities. Do not hesitate to choose the most difficult projects for the morning, when you have the biggest amount of energy available, leaving those that are easier or not as urgent for the rest of the day.
Working all day might get you a lot of benefits on the short term but this is not the most efficient solution on the long run. You need to take breaks but these have to be organized in a productive manner as well. Take time to meet your friends, go to lunch and be sure to get all the sleep you need, that is if you want your brain to function all right for the freelancing projects that you get yourself involved in.
Suggestion #2: Set your priorities straight
As a freelancer, the biggest temptation is to take on more projects than you can handle, so that the profits that you make increase. Following the above-mentioned suggestions might help you choose a suitable number of projects but, as it was already mentioned, you will have to set your priorities straight.
Often times, freelancers prioritize their projects according to how urgent they are, this being the most efficient manner. However, you can also set your priorities according to the client; if we are talking about someone who has been sending projects on a regular basis, paying good money for them, then it goes without saying that any project that comes from this person will represent a priority.
Setting priorities means an in-depth analysis of all the projects that you have currently going but also a vision of the future; you have to allow some individual time for the projects that might appear. If you do not prioritize taking the future into consideration as well, then you might not be as successful as you’d expected.
Suggestion #3: Delegate
It’s just one word but it is one of the most important credos of the freelancing world. At first, when you’re just beginning in this field, it is quite difficult to believe that you will end up refusing a project but because you do not have the time to complete it. As you gather experience, you will be tempted to take more and more projects on, hoping that you will find the time to finish them all. However, this is not an efficient way of managing your available time as a freelancer and learning how to delegate might save you a lot of trouble.
No one says that you will have to delegate all of your responsibilities and live in a permanent vacation; on the contrary, this is the most difficult part about delegating, meaning choosing the actual things that others will have to do. For example, you can ask other freelancers that are interested in collaborating with you, to review the projects you have completed or, depending on the situation, to tackle some of these projects themselves.
Suggestion #4: Learn how to say no
Reading this suggestion, you may have every right to say that the author of this piece is not sane. How could anyone say no to a project? Well, you have to think like that: taking on too many projects will result in you feeling pressed and stressed to finish them all. When you find yourself in such a situation, it will be easier to reduce the quality of the work so as to maintain the quantity. This is when you have to learn how to say no.
Setting your priorities straight and learning how to say no are two things that will help you gain a lot of time in working as a freelancer. There are certain projects that are simply not worth your time, whether you want to admit that for a fact or not. You have to learn – and this come with the experience gained – how to refuse certain projects, while accepting others that are simply more valuable.
Suggestion #5: No one is perfect; do your best not to become obsessed with perfection
When getting involved in a project, any experienced freelancer pays increased attention to each and every detail, wanting it to be perfect. While it is recommended to strive for perfection in everything that we do, it is not as recommended to become obsessed with it. You will waste valuable time, time that you could otherwise invest in profitable projects, trying to establish everything by the standard. Sometimes a quick review is enough in order to obtain the best results.
Surely, it might seem simple to apply this suggestion but you will certainly have difficulties setting the line between perfection and obsession. It might help to decide from the start approximately how much you are going to spend on each project, so that you do not have the tendency to go over the set amount (well, not too much).
Suggestion #6: Read about time management
This might sound like the obvious thing to say but if you do not read about time management, then you have a very small chance of succeeding by yourself. No one was born taught, as an old saying goes and sometimes you might not think about the things that are the most obvious. Reading will help you become more efficient in your work as a freelancer and this is in the end the main purpose of time management.
As a conclusion, you have numerous ways, strategies and methods through which you can manage the time you have available for freelance projects. Do not hesitate to apply the suggestions that were presented in this article, as they are highly effective and quite simple, as anyone can see.