Freelancing is fast becoming the primary engine for economic growth in developed economies throughout the world. In recent times, political and economic leaders have embraced freelancers for working independently. British Prime Minister, David Cameron stated that his nation “Owe a great debt of gratitude to the thousands who have decided to make their living as freelancers and entrepreneurs”.
The technology giant Intuit has stated that by the year 2020, it is estimated that 40% of the workforce will be self-employed.
Working as a freelancer has many benefits, you work your own hours and you don’t have to worry about a nagging boss but one of the areas that are mostly overlooked by most of us is maintaining efficiency. You become your own task master while you are freelancing which makes you more responsible for completing your tasks. Without a manager looking over your shoulder can be experimental with how you work. A freelancer has to face a lot of distractions like family/friends, TV shows and the temptation to sleep till lunch which leads to incredible inefficiency.
It is as Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one”.
There are some of the road tested ways for dramatically improving your productivity.
Create Your Routine:
Your level of efficiency can increased if you have a routine. Allot specific amounts of time for certain tasks each day and you will feel that you are able to complete work much more efficiently then wasting all day on the same task.
When there is a deadline to meet, many freelancers complain about time shortage in the day. Focusing on one project at a time will help iron out the time management issues on your freelance projects. As time tracking is paramount for being a freelancer, being focused during your work will help you save a lot of time. It will improve your own personal productivity and will make the running and administration of your business more productive.
Many freelancers fall into the trap of spending a lot of time on tasks that deliver no value to them. Some marketing efforts and crappy clients who pay little and demand a lot are the two forms of time drainers. It is very hard sometime to let go of these time wasters but once you get rid of these, you’ll be much happier. You will have more time to focus on things that deliver value financially and in satisfaction.
Analyze Your Time:
Try to analyze your time throughout the day. It does sound a real pain but it can be quite astonishing to see how much time you waste on minor tasks. An honest evaluation of how you spend your time will allow you to realize a lot of things that are wasting your time.
Using Project Management Tools:
Freelance consultants juggle between tasks and responsibilities. Keeping track of your time, project deadlines, and key contacts, goals whether you work with a single client or multiple clients is no simple task. Fortunately, there are abundant technology tools that help you to streamline your business and take charge of your schedule. Getting organized help you to get more of your work done and make more money which makes the right project management tool a worthy investment.
There are so many useful project management tools for freelancers such as LiquidPlanner, which is a comprehensive tool used by IT teams and project managers. Also Todoist, Trello, Basecamp, Asana, Dropbox and Wunderlist are some intuitive project planning and collaboration tools.
Freelancing can be a lot of fun but you have to juggle a lot. There are few tools that can automate your business and enable you to enjoy more free time. You can schedule follow-up e-mails, see custom reports and can also manage your customer relationships.
Insightly and Zoho CRM are the two apps that you may want to try as these have great integration with Google apps. Social media can be a great way to connect with colleagues, current clients and ideal businesses. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite can very smartly schedule updates and save time.
Work Life Balance:
Many people struggle with balance between work and personal life. It doesn’t matter what space you have set to be your office, the purpose is to do efficient work there and leave the work there after he work day is over. Working from home does come with its fair share of complications, isolation, distraction and setting boundaries between your work and personal life are the challenges that freelancers have to encounter.
The most enjoyable aspect of freelancing life is the ability to work from anywhere. Co-working spaces can be a good option for freelancers, here freelancers find personal fulfillment. These place allow door-opening opportunities surrounded with people who are also interested in being their own bosses.
Every person is different and requires a different system to achieve maximum efficiency. You can test out these techniques consistently and see how they work for you. Be honest with yourself and pay attention to the things that do not work for you. By doing this, you will come up with a customized system that will deliver extreme levels of productivity for you.