5 Time Management Tips for Freelancers

One of the biggest perks of working as a freelance writer is that you get to set your own hours. And one of the drawbacks of freelancing is…you have to set your own hours.

It’s a blessing and a curse. You have the benefit of a flexible schedule, and the responsibility to make yourself stick to it—because no one else will. And without a clock to punch, many freelance writers develop an unfortunate tendency to procrastinate, which forces us to rush in order to meet deadlines.

Whether you’re just starting out in freelance writing or it’s old hat by now, observing these basic time management tips can help you cut back on stress and get more done, faster.

  • Show up for work on time and prepared. One of the best ways to stick to a schedule is to treat your freelance work the same as you would a “regular” job. As tempting as it is to stay in your pajamas, taking the time to get dressed will help you mentally prepare to start working. Whatever time you’ve scheduled to work for the day, make sure you’re at your desk by then.
  • Separate work space from home space. Speaking of your desk—where is it? If you’re working from the kitchen table or a corner of your bedroom, it’s hard to feel like you’re doing a job. Having a designated office with a door is ideal, but if you don’t have the space, consider investing in a screen partition to create an office illusion.
  • Power down the distractions. You may think having the television or the radio on as “background noise” is helping you—but consciously or not, it’s distracting. If you really need noise while you’re working, try a fan, or an ambient track like Rainy Mood.
  • Write it down. Your head is not the best place to keep your schedule. A paper calendar is great, but you should also supplement with a computer program that will send automated reminders. Additionally, make yourself a daily to-do list to keep everything on track.
  • Learn to say no. As much as we all want to be super-people, freelance writers can’t do it all for everyone. It’s tough to turn down family or friends—but on the other hand, it’s tough for them to understand that “working from home” means you actually have to work, and can’t take them up on their offers or requests at the drop of a hat. Be polite, but firm, when dealing with demands on your time.

Once you start incorporating these time management tips into your daily routines, they’ll become habits, and you’ll be amazed at how much time you save. Enjoy your flexible life!

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