Freelancing offers flexibility and freedom when you work, but it also takes a lot of discipline in order to finish projects efficiently. That’s why staying organized is a must for freelancers.
Whether you’re just starting out in freelancing or have been working in the industry for quite a while, here are sure-fire ways to help you stay on top of your tasks and responsibilities.
1. Create a schedule
The best way to manage your time is by creating a schedule, so you need to create a to-do list along with the estimated time allotted for a particular task. Write them in order of priority, so that you will attend to responsibilities that need to be finished first. Include essential daily activities too, such as meal times.
Once you have a schedule, you need to stick to it. On the other hand, it should be flexible enough to have wiggle room in case something unexpected comes up. This way, you can still follow your schedule even if you run into minor delays and setbacks. Avoid missing your deadlines because of incidents like being trapped in traffic, talking with a client longer than expected, or making a quick trip to the store when you suddenly need to buy something.
2. Don’t procrastinate
There’s a difference between waiting for inspiration to come and plain procrastination.
Sometimes, you really need ideas. That's why you have to read books, surf the Web, watch videos, or roam around and do something else for a few minutes. That's acceptable.
But it's one thing to use “lacking inspiration” as an excuse to put off work. You should know yourself well enough to recognize the difference. Trust me, I’ve done that too many times to know how it's like, and the result isn't always pretty. When I delay working, I end up behind schedule, cramming, and sometimes, even turning in sub-par output. Of course, you wouldn’t want that.
If you're feeling a bit lazy, just shake it off, take a deep breath, sit in front of your computer and get on with it. When you finally get into the rhythm of working, it will become easier to do your tasks.
3. Only sign up for jobs that you can handle
It's good to seize opportunities, but that doesn't mean that you should take on every job offer given you.
Remember that you only have 24 hours a day and your body can only work so much. Overworking takes a toll on your quality of work and ultimately, your health. Be realistic. Only accept projects that you know you can finish on time.
4. Organize your files
It’s easy to create folders on your computer so don’t simply leave all your files lying on your desktops.
Organize your files according to project. Label your files accordingly. This way, should you need to revise or find a file that relates to a particular job, you can quickly locate it. It’s essential to create back-ups too. You can do that by keeping a copy of your files on a separate hard drive or through online cloud services.
5. Keep track of your finances
You work in order to earn and reach your financial goals. That’s why you need to practice proper money management too. Take note of your income, expenses, and taxes. You can use different spreadsheets to log how you earn and spend your money.
How about you? How do you stay on top of your tasks as a freelancer? Share your tips with the community by placing a comment below.