5 Tips for Managing Your Time as a Freelancer

workathomeFor many people, freelancing is the ultimate fantasy- being your own boss, setting your own hours, and staying in your pajamas all day. Although there are many benefits to working from home, those who do it can tell you that sometimes it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. One of the most challenging responsibilities for at-home consultants and contractors is maximizing productivity. Here are five tips for managing your time as a freelancer.

1. Stay focused. Many freelancers pride themselves on the ability to multitask. Unfortunately, attempting to juggle too many tasks at one time often results in a loss of productivity. You cannot completely eliminate thoughts from popping into your head, but you can control how you handle them. For example, if you remember you need to phone a client while you are in the middle of another project, jot down a reminder and keep going so that you don’t lose focus.

2. Create a schedule. Being a freelancer means you have more control of your schedule than people who work in an office. Yet you still need a schedule if you are going to be efficient. Try to compartmentalize your time so that you aren’t switching back and forth between projects too often. It can be helpful to map out your week ahead of time and block off time to work on specific projects. There are some great digital tools to help you organize your schedule, such as Google Calendar, Remember the Milk, and Todoist.

3. Minimize distractions. Although there are people who have no trouble staying focused while working from home, it can be one of the most distracting places from which to work. If you find it difficult to ignore a sink full of dishes or a basket of laundry, or are easily tempted to turn on the television, you have a couple of options. First, you can barricade yourself in a room away distractions and turn off all electronics. Second, you can grab your laptop and head to the nearest coffee bar or library.

4. Take a break. You will probably find you are more productive when you schedule in breaks during your workday. A study by the social networking company Draugiem Group found that taking a 17-minute break every 52 minutes set their most productive employees apart from the rest. Of course, when you do take a break, make sure it is a REAL break. For instance, if you work primarily on the computer, make it a computer break. Take a walk, read a book, or just step outside for some fresh air.

5. Raise your rates. It sounds strange, but raising your rates may help you to be more productive. By charging more, you will have the freedom to pursue work you enjoy and the flexibility to turn down time-zapping projects. Instead of raising your rates across the board, consider slightly increasing your rate with each new client. Over time, you will notice a big difference.

As a consultant or contractor, you work hard. Following these suggestions can ensure the time you put in is as productive as possible.

Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity: