The way people work has changed enormously in recent years. The employment landscape has shifted in myriad ways from the rise of gig working and the increased reliance on contract workers to an increase in entrepreneurship and work at home opportunities.
If you are one of those freelancers or gig workers, you probably recognize the direct relationship between your productivity and your earnings. Learning to manage your time more effectively is not just a good idea - sound time management could significantly boost your profit margin and help you build a better business. With that in mind, here are some smart time management tools for freelancers, gig workers, and independent contractors.
Prioritize Your Clients
It is not unusual for a freelancer or gig worker to be juggling multiple projects. A single freelancer may work for dozens of clients over a single year, and a little prioritization should be in order.
Not all clients will be the same, and prioritizing the best ones will not only boost your productivity but potentially your income as well. Some clients may be overly demanding, while others may be slow to pay. So think about which clients you genuinely love to work for and look for ways to get them to assign additional projects. This simple technique can help you grow your freelance income, all while reducing the stress you feel.
Stop Trying to Multitask
It would be great to tackle ten tasks at once, but the human brain is not set up that way. When you try to focus on more than one thing at a time, attention to both will suffer, and you will not be more productive.
Study after study has shown that multitasking does not work. So stop filling up your plate with endless tasks and focus on one thing at a time instead.
Think About What You Want Your Day to Look Like
One of the best things about freelancing and gig work is that you get to decide what your day will look like, so use that to your advantage. Unlike your 9-to-5 counterparts, you are not beholden to a set schedule or answerable to a boss, and that gives you a huge benefit when it comes to time management.
Think about the times of day when you are most productive and arrange your day to maximize that productivity. If you enjoy working in the mornings, waking up earlier and getting a head start on the day could be a great idea. If you think better late at night, working into the wee hours could enhance your productivity and help you build a better business.
Recognize the Signs of Burnout
Freelance and gig work can be great, but burnout is all too common. You will not be very productive if you feel burned out all the time, so recognizing the signs of burnout is very important.
If you find yourself overwhelmed and unable to accomplish your goals, it is time to take a step back. Look for ways to fight the burnout you feel, from taking a day off to relaxing with a nice warm bath.
Outsource Tasks You Hate
Strategic outsourcing can be a valuable time-management tool, so think about the household chores you hate and consider hiring someone to do the work. If you can pay the neighbor kid $20 to mow the lawn while you work on a $200 project, you will be ahead of both in terms of money and time.
There are many other ways to incorporate outsourcing into your freelance and gig work career. Paying someone to do your taxes, for instance, could end up saving you money, especially if the certified public accountant (CPA) you hire uncovers an overlooked deduction.
Time management is an essential tool for any worker, but effectively managing time is vital for the new army of freelancers, gig workers, and independent contractors. If you want to maximize your earnings and build a successful business, sound time management is essential, and the tips listed above can help you get started.