One skill that is particularly important for every freelancer is that of time management.
A freelance contractor, must have a high level of self-discipline in order to make sure they continue to work hard.
In addition, freelancers must be strong in is the ability to communicate effectively with prospective clients, as explaining what you can offer a company succinctly – as well as being able to negotiate the terms of a contract.
Dawn Foster, an author and expert in the area of online development, has offered freelancers some advice on how they can maximise the time they have available to them.
In an article for online resource Gigaom, Ms Foster noted that simple measures such as sticking to a strict schedule in terms of work can make it feel like there are more hours in the day.
“We all have certain tasks that require uninterrupted time where we can focus. For those activities, I try to free up big blocks of time on my calendar,” she stated.
Furthermore, Ms Foster highlighted the importance of taking regular breaks as doing so can “help you get a new perspective on a difficult problem” as well as taking advantage of off-peak times during the day, such as avoiding heading to the bank at lunchtimes.
….Of course, freelancers don’t have set working hours – and it is the flexibility of being able to kiss goodbye to the routine of a nine-to-five office job from Monday to Friday every week that makes consultancy such an attractive option for many professionals.
However, the truth is that even though freelancers may not start work at 9am or even work for eight hours every single day, the majority still complete more hours of work across a whole week than most people fulfilling so-called regular positions.
Indeed, an issue that faces many freelancers often is that feeling of 24 hours not being enough time each day to complete their tasks and maintain some semblance of a personal life.
To put it in general terms, the more a consultant works, the more they earn and this fact usually drives professionals to push themselves to the limit.
However, despite this, there are several quick and easy alterations a freelancer can make to their daily routine that could end up having significant long-term benefits for their business.
In fact, according to experienced writer Laura Spencer, many of these things take no more than five minutes each but can make a real difference in helping a firm develop moving forward.
In an article for Freelance Folder, Ms Spencer insisted that every minute in a consultant’s working day can be productive, no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time.
For instance, taking the time to sift through an overflowing email inbox or voicemail function on a regular basis means that freelancers can stop themselves from eventually becoming overwhelmed by thousands of unread or unheard messages.
Meanwhile, another positive way to use a bit of spare time is to send a thank-you note to a client as this will, Ms Spencer explained, help a consultant stand out from the competition.
In addition, having a quick sort out in a home office that has become cluttered over time is also a good idea, she added.
Freelance consultants and contractors should always be seeking to expand their list of active clients, but they must also be aware of the dangers of overexerting themselves, an expert has said.
According to Amber Weinberg – writing for Freelance Folder who specialises in web development and WordPress customisation – the goal of anyone with the specialist skills to make a career from freelancing is to continually gain more potential revenue streams.
However, taking on too much work can lead to issues in the future, meaning that professionals may struggle to sustain their projects properly in the long-term.
“Being a busy freelancer is much better than being a bored freelancer, but like with everything, it comes with its own set of problems,” stated Ms Weinberg.
The expert recommends taking time out to learn how to schedule “your daily, weekly and monthly time slots” in order to avoid any such situation, describing this measure as “probably one of the most important business tasks you’ll ever do”.
Gemma Church investigating how to manage your time as a new freelancer, for IPSE Magazin: From Where I Stand – Time as my currency, contests that the shift from permanent employee to freelancer dictates change – a change of hours, office location, working relationships and responsibilities. But the biggest adjustment is finding an effective way to manage your time.
And more to the point: Time did not equal money. And time began to feel like an expendable commodity where I could get lost in a low priority problem or even surf the internet for cat pictures without much impact on my work (although research from Hiroshima University suggests that this may boost productivity: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0046362).
“My time is my money – so I must manage it effectively to succeed,” says Gemma Church and delivers 5 tips to manage your time as a freelancer:
- Create a schedule – flexibility is a benefit of freelancing but you need a schedule to be efficient. Try to compartmentalise your time on a day-to-day basis or map out the week ahead, blocking off time for specific projects.
- Minimise distractions – if you work from home then it can be difficult to dodge distractions. You have a couple of options. Either barricade yourself in a room away from distractions or grab your laptop and head to the nearest library or coffee bar.
- Stay focused – multitasking is a key skill for any freelancer but juggling too many tasks at once results in a loss of productivity. Try writing down ideas and tasks in a notebook, use a clever tool such as Wunderlist (www.wunderlist.com/) or use the Pomodoro Technique (http://pomodorotechnique.com/), where you focus on one task for a 25-minute block before taking a 5-minute break. Which leads me to my next point…
- Take a break – productivity improves when you take a break. If you work primarily on a computer, for example, get up and go for a walk, read a book or just step away from the screen. Just surfing Facebook or writing a few social emails doesn’t count. The perfect break length is much disputed but recent research suggested working for 52 minutes and then taking a 17-minute break (www.fastcompany.com/3035605/how-to-be-a-success-at-everything/the-exact-…).
- Raise your rates – this may sound like strange advice, but raising your rates can help you to be more productive. By charging more, you have the freedom to pursue the work you enjoy and flexibility to refuse time-zapping projects. I’m not suggesting you double your rates across the board but consider slightly increasing your rates with each new client. Over time, you will notice a difference.
read full article: http://www.ipsemagazine.co.uk/article/where-i-stand-–-time-my-currency/1456747823