Freelancing allows for major flexibility throughout the workday. When you work for yourself, you have the freedom to make your own schedule. But with so much going on in your day-to-day, it may be hard to stick to a productive schedule. So if you’re having trouble staying focused here are five ways to stick to a schedule as a freelancer.
1. Create Working Hours
While you may be trying to avoid the classic 9-5 by being a freelancer, it’s much easier to stick to a schedule when you give yourself concrete working hours. Whether that’s switching it up to a 10-6 or blocking out chunks throughout the day to work, you have to set aside blocks of time.
Having concrete working hours will make it easier to get into a routine while freelancing. It will also help you set healthy boundaries with clients. You don’t want to run into a situation where you have clients constantly reaching out to you in your off-hours.
Having the same work hours every day will help you build a sustainable work routine and avoid procrastination. You can even break it down further to create work blocks for administrative work, work calls, and other tasks that you need to complete without distraction.
2. Hold Yourself Accountable
Now that you have a set schedule, you may still be tempted to procrastinate. If you find your mind wandering throughout the day, try to hold yourself accountable. Your accountability checks could be something small like treating yourself to a lunch out if you worked for your entire morning block.
If small incentives aren’t enough, you could start a monetary system. Maybe you have a jar that you put one dollar in every time you break your set work hours for no good reason. You could also work with friends or colleagues to schedule check-ins to help you stay on track.
3. Write Everything Down
It’s easy to change your schedule around as a freelancer, and sometimes it’s even necessary. But writing down your schedule and seeing your day planned out can help you stick to your workflow.
Try an exercise in tracking your activities throughout the week. Write down how long you do each activity. At the end of the week, you’ll be able to see just how much time you spent procrastinating on social media or avoiding work altogether.
If writing things down is too old-school, you can try using time track apps throughout your day. Using a time tracking app will help you know how long you have been working on tasks. This method can also come in handy when it comes time to charge clients for your work. Knowing exactly how long you worked on a project can make billing and invoices much easier.
4. Schedule Time Off
Everyone deserves a vacation now and then. Being a freelancer is no exception. It can be easy to overwork yourself when you are working alone. Instead of working on time management, you may fall into working long hours or never taking a break.
Even though you can see the money reflected in the time that you put in, it’s not sustainable. To avoid burnout, make sure that you take a day off here and there. When you are refreshed and well-rested, you will be more willing to stick to your schedule when you get back to it.
5. Don’t Take On Too Much
Freelancers are passionate people. When you work freelance you can follow your passions. You can begin freelancing by following a passion you enjoy and utilizing helpful guides from resources like Gigly to figure out how to turn it into a freelance career.
Once you have your freelance business and begin to thrive, you might have too many projects come through at once. A skilled freelancer knows when to say no. You want to avoid stretching yourself too thin. Even though you may want to work on every project that comes your way, it pays off to be selective and have extra time to yourself.
Being a freelancer means ultimate flexibility. But sometimes with flexibility comes procrastination. If you follow these helpful tips, you should be able to better stick to a schedule while being a successful freelancer.