Freelancing can be hectic. Not only are you responsible for doing your job, but you must also become your own marketing department, accounting department, customer service representative, as well as company CEO. Not to mention that it can be difficult to keep the work/life balance in check when your main office is in your home! But before you start to pull out your hair, follow some of these tips to help keep your freelancing lifestyle flowing more smoothly.
Use A Planner
As a freelancer, your schedule is not the same everyday, which makes it harder to develop the routines that can keep you running on autopilot. Using a planner can help you schedule your days and keep you on top of what needs to be done. Your planner not only reminds you of upcoming appointments and tasks, but is also a place to capture ideas and keep track of goals. At any given time, you can easily glance at your planner and see what you need to be doing, or where you have open chunks of time.
Get Out Of The House
I don’t know about you, but after a day or two without leaving the house, I’m ready to bulldoze the place. Fortunately, freelancing is a mobile profession. For a quick change of scenery, pack up the laptop and head to your local coffee shop for a few hours. You may even find that the new surroundings stir up some fresh ideas. And don’t forget to schedule some social time into your week. All work and no play makes for a cranky freelancer!
Have a Set Quitting Time
Just because you can work at any time you choose doesn’t mean you should be working around the clock! Set a quitting time, and stick to it! You may even find that you work a little more efficiently when you know that you have to stop at a certain time. Parkinson’s law tells us that the amount of time needed to complete a task will expand to fill what time is available, so make sure that you are scheduling a quitting time for your tasks as well as your work day.
Learn To Say No
It’s absolutely astonishing how many friends and family think that since you work from home, your days are free. While it’s true that your days are flexible – the top benefit of being a freelancer if you ask me – the cold reality is that if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. This means you aren’t going to be available for every distraction. You will have to say no to certain things in order to get your work done.
Create a Work Schedule that is Reasonable for You
Many freelancers advocate only working during normal business hours. I don’t. I believe each freelancer needs to create their own working schedule – one that works for them. Not everyone wants to do 9 to 5 – and isn’t that one of the perks of freelancing? I’m a firm believer of running errands or hitting the gym during normal business hours – after all, it’s less crowded and that saves me time! Of course, I have to replace that working time with another, so if I choose to go shopping for a couple hours during the day, I spend a couple hours writing at night. It makes no difference to my clients when I work, just as long as I meet my deadlines.