Effectively balancing a busy schedule is essential for success as a freelancer. Without a strong commitment and proper time management, it isn’t possible to take advantage of all the benefits that working from home as a freelancer has to offer. By properly balancing your busy schedule you can expect some extra time in the day to use as you please, the opportunity to quickly identify and effectively manage your priorities, and the ability to optimize your overall productivity. Try implementing one or more of the following success tips into your busy schedule, and you’re likely to experience impressive results:
Schedule a Few Timed Breaks
One of the most important things you can do to keep a balanced frame of mind throughout your work day is to schedule timed breaks on a regular basis. It is essential to free your mind from the nitty-gritty for at least five minutes once every two or three hours so you can unwind a bit, stretch your muscles, and put away any stress you have until it’s time to get back to work.
Write out your break schedule on a chalkboard or dry-erase board and hang in on the wall near your work station as a reminder of your commitment to a balanced work day. Spend your breaks reading a magazine, doing a crossword puzzle, taking a walk, or having a snack—the idea is to nourish your body and mind so you are more effective and productive while you’re actually working.
Create a Daily To-do Short List
Another effective way to manage your busy day is to sit down at the end of the day to create a to-do short list for the next day you plan to work. This will help keep you focused on what’s most important so the little tasks and challenges don’t overwhelm your work flow. Keep your list limited to five or six tasks at most so you have time left in the day to tend to the smaller issues at hand. Tasks with the shortest deadlines or toughest research requirements should be listed first, while tasks with a little shelf life and those of small consequence should be listed as space and time allows.
Delegate Tasks When Possible
You’ll find that delegating tasks whenever possible is sure to take a lot of responsibility off your plate so that you're able to stay focused on your tasks at hand and minimize wasted time throughout the day. Making use of delegation techniques doesn’t mean that you have to hire an assistant. Instead get creative and ask a family member to take over garbage duty on days you’d normally do it, get a friend or relative to pick the kids up from school a couple of times a week, or pay a trusted colleague a small percentage of your profits to proofread all your content so you don’t have to spend time doing it.
Separate Personal and Work Life
If your personal and work life are compiled into one schedule for the day, you may find it tough to differentiate your priorities to ensure that no part of your work or personal life suffers long term. An easy way to keep everything going on the right track is to separate your work and personal life, just as you would if you worked outside of your home in a brick and mortar building. Start by scheduling work hours for your days and focusing on nothing but career tasks during those hours. You can then simply plan personal tasks and events outside of your work hours. The trick is to stick to your committed schedules!
Use a Timer for those Dreaded Jobs
As a freelancer, you will undoubtedly be faced with your fair share of tasks that are dreaded due to the amount of work that has to go into them or their exceptional difficulty level—these are the tasks that can get you behind on your schedule overall if you don’t stay on top of them. To make sure that you move productively through these types of tasks, use a timer and commit to giving them your full focus until the timer goes off. Projects that are notably stressful should be limited to work sessions of about 30 minutes each so you don’t get burned out before your work day officially ends.
With the help of these scheduling success tips, your entrepreneurial venture as a freelancer is sure to be a liberating and empowering experience.