#FreelanceFriday: Finding More Time in Your Schedule to Freelance
June 9th, 2017 by
This blog is part of our Freelance Friday series, where we discuss everything and anything related to freelancers. For more freelance information, tips, and trends, follow us on Twitter.
“I don’t have time…”
As writers, we have all said it at one time or another, most likely as an excuse for not writing more. And let’s not kid ourselves here, it is most certainly an excuse. There are 24-hours in the day for everyone. So, why can only some people pull off a freelancing side gig?
Deciding to add freelancing to your daily schedule probably didn’t seem like that big of a deal at first. You can make your own schedule and work from anywhere at anytime. That all sounds great (and it really is!), but you still have to find the actual time to do it. It can certainly be tempting to let freelancing take a back seat to other tasks and priorities in your life—but don’t let it happen!
For those who truly want to do it, they find the time. Freelancing (and writing in general) are choices. Likewise, you have to choose to find the time. Time management techniques and organizational skills can be developed and utilized easily. In the end, freelancing is all about scheduling and prioritization, especially when you are still working full-time at another job. Make those and other strategies for time management work for you and you will discover the time.
Of course, this is all easier said than done. Here are a few tips that will help you fit your freelance business into your schedule.
Assess and Make A Schedule
We have talked about time management tips a lot—and for good reason. It is the key to freelancing. Start by evaluating your daily schedule. When do you wake up? Eat lunch? Work at other jobs? Go to bed? Fill in the intervening times with potential availability to freelance. Not all of it; just when it works well for you. There are tons of time management tools to help you with this.
When you are getting started or overhauling your time management, try timing how long it takes you to complete this work. Work on improving that time, as well as adjusting your schedule as you need or see fit.
Strengthen Time Management Skills
Even if you are able to find the time, it is equally important to use that time well. Because this time is so valuable, you need to have a clearly defined time management schedule—prioritize, avoid distractions, stay organized, etc.
Try working in small pockets of time in between bigger tasks. While you are waiting for the water to boil while cooking, on breaks at your normal job, during your commute, etc. The start and stop nature of this doesn’t work for everyone, but all of these small increments can add up quickly for those who can make it work.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
Such an easy word to say, but one that most people are so hesitant to utter. Learning to say no can help your freelance life in more ways than one.
First, it allows you to decline jobs that you are not fully interested or invested in. Why waste precious time on something you don’t want to do in the first place? Doing this could prevent you from working on an assignment or project that is more aligned with your thoughts and aspirations.
Second, saying no can also be employed in order to free up more time to do the actual work. If you made previous plans for multiple nights of the week, think about canceling or turning one of them down beforehand. A lot of work can be accomplished in a single extra evening.
For best performance, you also need to learn how to say no to TV, social media, and other time-consuming forms of entertainment as often as possible.
Find Your Peak Hours
Most people already know if they are night owls, early birds, or in-betweeners. Whatever time of day, it’s all about finding that time period where your drive and mental capacity are at their highest and you are able to do your best work (speed and quality-wise).
That is not to say that your peak hours have to be consecutive. Maybe you can work well at multiple points throughout the day. In fact, you can probably train yourself to work better at one time or another. Try to get as much done as you can in those times—as long as you keep things consistent and don’t waste time figuring out where you left off before.
By finding and using these hours effectively, you will be able to get more done faster without the common plague of interruptions. Whether you like working into the wee hours of the morning or you are an early riser who can get things done with a hot cup of coffee, there exists a time especially for you.
Outsource Your Work
Admittedly, this tip may not be for everyone. But, if you are capable, it can be a huge timesaver to help you budget time. By subcontracting out lesser, but still necessary, chores, you can free up time to perform your freelance work.
So many things (some obvious, others not so much) can be outsourced, including house cleaning, bookkeeping, laundry, cooking, lawn maintenance, house repairs, child care, pet care, and grocery delivery. Not all of these are needed, of course. But find one that fits your budget and schedule, then get to work—this isn’t new found free time, it’s extra time.
In the end, to find more time for freelancing is a gradual process. Find what works for you and allow for adjustments and new routines along the way. Freelancing is still a job, no matter how much time you devote. The changes may not be easy at first, but they are more than doable if you want your freelance career to succeed.