Being your own boss means you decide when your paperwork gets done and your emails get answered. But sometimes the boss needs to tell us to pull our socks up and just get it done…
The flexibility of freelancing is fantastic. But with that flexibility comes the pressure of not always knowing where your next job is coming from, then jumping from one job to the next, leaving paperwork in your wake.
Here’s how to stay organised and keep your head above water.
Separate home and work
Ideally, you’ll have a separate working space outside your home. But if you can’t afford that try to keep your work to a set area in the home and tidy away as much as possible at the end of the day.
Write everything down in one place
When you’re juggling many projects at once, it can be easy for things to get lost in a jumble of post-its and scribbles. Writing everything down in one place can help save precious time.
Set core working hours
Setting regular core working hours will not only help clients to know when they can expect to hear back from you, but will help train your own mind into the working (and relaxing) vibe.
Give yourself a time limit
Working for yourself doesn’t mean running yourself ragged. It’s important to track your hours to make sure you’re not over-servicing one client over another, as well as giving yourself permission to down tools at the end of the day.
Assign tasks to days and times
Set certain tasks for particular days and be strict with yourself about adhering to them. Do you usually feel lethargic on a Friday afternoon? Maybe this is the best time for invoicing? Feel the most creative on a Wednesday morning, fine! Whatever works for you. But sticking to a routine will help you to keep on top of those tasks.
Reply to emails immediately
This simple rule can help keep incomings manageable. Even just replying with a holding email – with an alert to make sure you respond properly – is better than forgetting about a potentially lucrative client.
Be realistic about what you can take on
Overcommitting doesn’t serve anybody, least of all your clients. Especially if you end up rushing a job or doing it poorly. It’s crucial to be strategic about which jobs you take on. As annoying as it may be to hear, you may need to prioritise longer-term jobs that could potentially lead to more work over smaller, fun projects.
So learn to say “thanks, but no thanks”. After all, having that control is most likely why you went freelance to begin with.
Posted by The Secret Businessman