Once in a while, as a freelancer, you might have to pull an all-nighter to get a project delivered in time. But this definitely shouldn’t be the norm if you want to grow your business as a freelancer!
Time management and organization are crucial to your success, but so is understanding your capacity and taking on the right amount of work.
Below are seven tips to help you manage your workload as a freelancer, and they mean you don’t have to burn the midnight oil just to meet your deadlines.
Set Office Hours
It’s not uncommon for freelancers to begin their careers by assuming they need to be available every hour under the sun. This simply isn’t possible, and the vast majority of clients don’t expect you to respond to their ‘urgent’ message at 11 pm on a Sunday.
As you take on more projects, it’s a good idea to set your office hours, so your clients know when you can be contacted. Because your clients are likely to be from different parts of the world, make sure you include the time zone and try and be available at times when most of your clients are awake!
Setting office hours helps you with discipline and ensures you don’t have to be online, checking your account throughout the night.
Work Out Your Capacity
Freelancers tend to experience burnout and end up working through the night when they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. So, how do you avoid this?
It’s all about working out your capacity. When you’re new to freelancing, you probably won’t know how long a particular task will take you, so you need to keep a time diary to reflect your output.
Let’s say you’re a freelance writer, and it takes you one hour to write 1,000 words. If you plan to work for seven hours a day, it would be prudent to set a 5,000 words per day limit, as you need to take into account other daily tasks that require your time, as well as breaks.
If you don’t know your limits, it isn’t easy to plan your diary appropriately, and you will end up burning the midnight oil to get your work done!
Amend Your Price Structure
This point follows nicely from the previous one. Once you’ve worked out your capacity, it’s time to set your price structure to match. So many freelancers fall into the trap of setting their prices too low just to get business and then find themselves completely overwhelmed by their current projects.
Your price structure should reflect your capacity and should earn you what you need on a daily basis. So, if we continue with our example from above, how much should you charge per 1,000 words?
Well, let’s say that your weekly income target is $500. That translates to $100 over five days. To meet your income target and be in line with your capacity, you would need to charge $20 per 1,000 words, which would give you a rate of $20 per hour.
While this is a good starting point, you need to consider how your required rate is compared with market rates, and as your demand increases, so should your price.
Work from a Dedicated Space
Homeworking is great for lots of people but is incredibly difficult for others. After all, there are so many distractions at home, be it the kids, the dogs, or Netflix! If you work from your sofa or bed, you will find it extremely challenging to be productive, and you will it takes so much longer to complete your projects.
As such, it’s a good idea to set up a dedicated workspace in your home, where you go specifically to complete your work. Your family should be aware that this is your workspace and should respect your boundaries.
If working from home is just too difficult for you to focus on, consider looking for a co-working space in your town or city, where you can hot desk and get away from the distractions of home. You will find that being disciplined with your workspace will increase your productivity and will therefore reduce the need to stay up all night catching up with yourself!
The modern-day world is full of distractions, and your productivity can be severely affected from all angles! Here are five simple tips that will help you minimize distractions and help you stay focused during your working hours:
- Utilize a work phone that is free from games, social media apps, and any other distractions. Keep your personal phone in a different room throughout the day.
- Sparsely decorate your office space, removing TVs, tablets, and any other devices that could cause a distraction.
- Adapt your working hours to match your most productive time of the day. If you’re naturally a night owl, there’s nothing wrong with working through the night as a freelancer, providing you get the balance right!
- When you’re deep into project work, slip your phone onto airplane mode, so you’re not distracted by notifications.
- As much as we love our kids, they’re probably the most significant distraction freelancers face! If this resonates with you, work while they’re at school or asleep at night, so you don’t have to forego quality time with them in the evening.
Outsource Smaller Tasks
As a freelancer, you have so much more to think about than just your projects. In addition to your deliveries, you’re also responsible for:
- Accounting and invoices.
- Marketing your services.
- Updating your website and blog.
- General administration.
- Writing project proposals.
The more tasks you can outsource, the better. Consider hiring a virtual assistant to help manage your workload, and outsource other tasks that detract from your overall productivity as a freelancer.
Collaborate with Other Freelancers
Another excellent way of lightening your workload is to collaborate with other freelancers. For example, if you’re in discussions with a client on Radial Hub about taking on a large project, but you’re unsure of your capacity, tap into your network and approach other freelancers about a collaboration.
This ensures you can take on an exciting project but don’t need to worry about missing the deadline because you’re in too deep. Collabs are also great because you get to work with other like-minded professionals and increase your professional network.
Organize Your Time to Avoid Freelancing Burnout.
It’s not easy to get the balance right between the optimal amount of work and too much work. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself working through the night just to meet your deadlines, which is unsustainable, to say the least.
Hopefully, the seven tips introduced above will help you manage your workload and ensure you don’t have to work incessantly just to meet your deadlines.