Freelancing can be incredibly rewarding. You have no obligation to wake up at a specific time, stay in the office for a certain number of hours, and best of all, you get to choose who you work with. Additionally, you are your boss and accountable only to yourself. But, unfortunately, this freedom can just as efficiently work against you, making your life a miserable mess with zero organization. Thus, it is critical to managing your time effectively. Here are a few things that every freelancer needs to do:
Make a schedule
Working whenever you want will feel amazing for the first few months, but it will quickly devolve into something horrible. Before you know it, you’re working at night, during the day, and not getting enough sleep. You need some basic Time management skills to resolve these issues. All you need is a schedule that you follow like a ritual. Separate your work hours from your hours, and do not cross these lines.
Use a timesheet
There are many exceptions, but most of the freelance work is done on a per-hour basis. The freelancer charges an hourly rate and provides an hour estimate to the client before the project starts. Now, if you are working one client at a time, tracking the hours it took you to do their task isn’t hard. But, as soon as you add even one more client into the mix, things get messy. Luckily, you can use Excel timesheet templates to record and track the time each project took. You can even automate the calculation of the charges based on your hourly rate for that client.
Set boundaries with your clients
Just remember, you do not have to be available 24/7. As a freelancer, you might get an email from your client in the middle of the night. You do not have to open it right away and respond to them. Set a fixed time for checking emails and texts and let the clients know about it. Just because you can reply instantly doesn’t mean you should. Implementing this habit early in your freelance career will save you tons of headaches in the future.
Learn to say no
Remember that you are your boss and only accountable to yourself. If a client is asking for too much, or you are already full, but another client wants to hire you, say no. Do not sacrifice your time for some extra work. Sure, you are getting paid for the extra hours you put in, but it isn’t worth it in the long run.
Sure, working a little more than average isn’t as bad. If you work eight hours a day, working for nine hours one day to finish a project is acceptable; working for four more hours regularly is not. What is considered normal is also entirely up to you, but remember your wellbeing, health, and free time when building a schedule for yourself.