10 Ways Freelancers and Solopreneurs Can Manage Their Time More Efficiently

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For solopreneurs and freelancers, effective time-management is absolutely essential. Much more so than in other industries. You, and only you, are responsible for what you earn. If you don’t put in the hours, you don’t eat. It’s that simple. 

A study undertaken by Upwork shows that freelancing is on the rise. More people are choosing to work for themselves. This trend highlights the need for research-backed, practical time-management skills. 

In this post, you’re going to learn eleven ways to manage your time, streamline your workflow, and get more done.

All of the suggestions are easy to implement and many are also backed by science. 

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Time Management for freelancer

01. Start Off With the Task You’re Dreading

This technique – also known as “eating the frog” – involves tackling your most dreaded tasks at the beginning of the day.

There are solid reasons behind this approach. Willpower is a finite resource, so it’s better to exercise when you’re fresh. Furthermore, your level of motivation will increase when you’ve only got enjoyable work to look forward to. 

02. Use a Time-Management Mobile App

There are numerous time-management mobile apps to choose from. Some freelancers swear by the Pomodoro Technique, for example. Others prefer apps that help them to “batch” their work, where similar tasks are grouped together. The key is to trail a few apps and find the one that fits with your schedule.

03. Move Around Regularly

Sitting down is killing you. People that spend most of their day slumped in a chair are more likely to experience a range of adverse health consequences, like lower back pain. But there’s a simple and straightforward remedy: getting up regularly. Research suggests that getting up every 30 minutes is ideal.

04. Listen to Music (the Right Kind)

Listening to the right kind of music has been linked to higher levels of productivity. This is especially true for repetitive tasks or noisy environments (just don’t forget your headphones). So what kind of music should you listen to? Classical music has proven particularly effective. Nature music is also well worth giving a go. 

05. Learn How to Self-Motivate

Procrastination on the part of freelancers is often the result of feeling demotivated. Self-motivation is a crucial skill for people that work for themselves.

And the good news is that simple technique – such as reaffirming the broader purpose of your work, giving yourself small rewards, and tracking progress – can have a dramatic effect on your motivation levels. 

06. Limit Distractions

Distractions swallow up an inordinate amount of time. If you want to get more done in the limited time that you have, cut out as many of them as possible. 

Put your phone on “do not disturb” mode, block sites like Facebook, and avoid unnecessary phone calls. If you’re in a noisy environment, get some headphones. It’s impossible to eliminate all distractions. But getting rid of the main ones will do wonders for your productivity level. 

07. Stop Handling Appointments Yourself

If you’re still handling appointments manually, you’re throwing away valuable time. Scheduling software allows your clients and business associates to book appointments (based on your availability) without any direct input from you. In the run-up to the meet, everybody will receive automated notifications. 

There are many solutions to choose from. vCita is one popular example of scheduling software for small businesses that can help entrepreneurs organize their meetings and appointments.

Also, don’t miss this list of top to-do list creating apps collection.

08. Automate and Outsource Liberally

One of the best ways to save time is by outsourcing tasks that don’t require your direct attention. A big pitfall when freelancing is the tendency to do everything yourself. Many people that work for themselves dislike outsourcing. 

But handing off tasks to other freelancers can free up huge swathes of time, allowing you to focus on what’s genuinely important. For repetitive tasks, marketplaces like Amazon Mechanical Turk are ideal and inexpensive.

Recognize that you can’t do everything. In some cases, experts might even be able to do a better job than you. 

09. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Rid of Clients

There’s a tendency among freelancers and solopreneurs to hold onto every client that comes along. This is understandable. Freelancing is turbulent, and a steady stream of work isn’t always guaranteed. 

But a reluctance to let go of clients can actually do more harm than good. Sometimes a job will require a high time-investment for a low return. At other times, clients may be difficult and overly demanding. In these cases, the sensible option is to let them go and fill up empty spots with higher-paying work. 

10. Use Email Templates

On average, professionals spend 28% of the working day reading and responding to emails. This represents a huge opportunity to save time. One simple hack is to use canned email responses and pre-written templates. 

Integrations with popular email clients like Gmail and Outlook enable you to keep these responses to hand when you’re writing emails. Many of these tools are also free. 

And if you need to send newsletter, here is a collection free ready MailChimp email templates.

Conclusion

Time-management is all about small wins. Used on their own, the strategies outlined here won’t impact your productivity in a big way.

But implemented together, they’re likely to have a dramatic effect. Just remember to find techniques that fit with your commitments and don’t be afraid to discard the ones that don’t work.

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