People think that freelancing is the best option when it comes to enjoying the freedom and working on your own terms. You do not have a boss to shout orders at you, the work can be done from the comfort of your home, and you can even work while traveling- but it all comes at a cost! You have to learn to discipline yourself, have a grip on your time and practice to stay focused on the important tasks of your job. Out of all the considerations, it’s how you utilize your time productively that really counts.
If you’re worried how you could do more, here are the six time-saving tips that you need to know to get the most out of your working hours. It’s sure to help you on your freelance journey.
1) Rise Early
Getting up early from your sleep does not just give you extra hours to utilize, but also helps you in staying calm, cool and composed throughout the entire day. When you wake up early, you can take the time to plan, develop your strategy and sort out the order of doing things.
You will be a step ahead while others are still getting ready for their office, and less likely to make wrong decisions or waste time aimlessly.
It is not difficult to shift your routine to rise early. Just hit the bed couple of hours earlier than your normal bed time so that you do not feel tired in the morning. You may need 2 or 3 days to adjust to your new routine, but it’s worth it. You will feel the benefits after a few days and understand why so many successful people advice you to get up early in the morning.
Of course there are people like Neil Patel who sleeps 9.25 hours per night and claims that it makes him more productive, so you might want to test what works for you.
2) Resist checking your Inbox first thing in the Morning!
Many people rise from their beds, switch on their laptops and get on to checking their emails. But does it serve any useful purpose?
It is okay to check your email just after you wake up if you are expecting some important communication from someone. But other than that, it indicates you are unsure about what to do and do not have the tasks for the day planned out.
Most of the times, there will be no important mail in your inbox when you check it in the morning. How many times does it happen that you open your inbox and there comes an email you need to respond immediately?
It ultimately translates to wasting time as you check unnecessary emails and impulsively start replying to unimportant emails. So prioritize your work, and take proactive actions- do what needs to be done first rather than browsing your inbox and spending time on useless things.
3) Keep some Time aside for All Those Unimportant Stuff
No matter how productive you may want to be, you’d end up doing things that may not help you. It could be accessing social media accounts or taking selfies – if you do not control yourself, you will end up wasting more time than ever. It’s okay; you can adopt a middle path!
Your brain needs some break from work for relaxing, and you can utilize those opportunities for wasting your time. What I mean is, give yourself specific periods where you can waste time without any guilt or impact on your performance.
For example, I used to waste a lot of time on Facebook throughout the day which hampered by performance. Rather than cutting off Facebook completely, I use it two times a day for 15 minutes- once during the day and once in the evening.
It helps me focus on the work without being distracted, and I look forward to those specific periods to award myself with some relaxing time on Facebook. So find out the things on which you waste time the most, and schedule them according to your convenience.
When you begin your career as a freelancer, you need to do everything yourself, starting from actual work to following up with clients. But as days go by you get to a better position and become capable of delegating the less important tasks which can be done by others.
You can delegate some of the tasks to other freelancers on platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, Digital Marketing Forums and even Facebook groups. It is affordable and gives you the time to do the important tasks which can only be done by you.
Ensure that you find the right person to delegate your task. You can check the profile of a freelancer, reviews by past clients and his past work to get an idea about their quality of work and what you can expect.
Be open to ideas and suggestions from the person you delegate and make them feel like a part of the team. This will motivate them immensely and bring out the best in them ensuring quality and productivity.
5) Utilize Time Tracking Software
It is easy to track your performance and tasks accomplished when you are working fixed hours in an office. But as a freelancer, you have to perform other tasks which get mixed up with the hours you work.
We often fall prey to distractions and socializing and end up thinking we have worked longer than we actually did. The best way to keep a track on your time is by using a time tracking software. You will get plenty of them on the internet for as cheap as $10 per month. I use Time My Life and Hubstaff for me and my team and I am happy with both.
With the software, you will be able to determine the actual hours you spend working and even track the timings of someone working for you. You must know how the most important resource (time) of your business is being utilized by you and your team.
6) Adopt Automation Tools
If you think it’s time-consuming, there is probably a shorter way out. It’s possible to automate most of your workflow and there is no reason you shouldn’t do it. It saves your time and takes care of the repetitive and boring tasks.
You can use tools like NinjaOutreach or Mailshake to reach out to bloggers using pre-made templates. For managing social media and scheduling posts, platforms like Hootsuite and Buffer are perfect. The more work you automate, the more free time you get to do the high-value tasks.
If it’s better productivity and performance that you’re looking at, these are the tips that will make it work for you.