To be the master of your time is both a blessing and a bane. Freelancers are often expected to be permanently online and available. Especially newcomers often struggle to find a good work routine, to get organized, and to make effective use of idle times. Good time management is vital in order to avoid excessive stress. In the long run, too much stress can have a negative impact on your social life and even on your health.
Though the above story might be a bit exaggerated, the challenge is real. Nowadays, we are often faced with time pressure and tight deadlines. Many of us spend most of their time in front of the computer screen—even during our valuable breaks. In the long run, this drives up our stress level and impairs our ability to concentrate. This can result in time-consuming errors that could have been avoided under normal circumstances.
The key to a productive working day with as little stress as possible is self-discipline and controlled, realistic timing. For many, this is familiar turf. The market offers numerous apps and programs to improve your self-management.
The problem is that some find it easier than others to stick to time schedules and to-do lists. Nevertheless, admitting a weakness represents the first step toward improvement. So be honest with yourself and analyze your own working behavior. You might be well organized, but are you perhaps unable to say no to additional jobs? Which activities were beneficial on a given day, and which ones could you have easily postponed? Do you waste your time with chores that you could easily delegate? Do you communicate efficiently and directly with your customers, or do you constantly run in circles? Ask yourself these and other questions and answer them honestly. In a second step, this will enable you to reduce or even eliminate areas that rob your time.
Of course, there is no universal solution. Everybody is different, and that's good. So your goal should be to find a way that works best for you. For example, some people are only able to work productively from noon. If this is true in your case, you can plan your daily routine accordingly. For instance, you can take care of your administrative work in the morning.
Below, we will present a number of tips that can help you to optimize your time management. If you have identified your time wasters in the previous step, you can adapt these tips to your personal needs.