Schedule Your Day-To-Day With a Freelancer Timetable
The Freedom of Freelancing (and why it kind of sucks)
Being a freelancer requires you to be very self-motivated. You may currently be transitioning from a full-time office job or being a student (like I am) and are now a little overwhelmed by the freedom of the freelance lifestyle. No longer are you being handed deadlines or told when your hours of work and/or attendance should be. Freedom at last! But freedom can be paralyzing. Who is to say you can’t implement your own schedule/routine so you can be consistently productive?
the your problem exactly?
My biggest issue is that I can become fixated on one area of work for an entire day. It can be difficult for me to realize that I need to switch focus. For example, lately I’ve been redesigning the Cooper & O’Hara website, doing a bunch of design related work and re-editing old photos for our portfolio. This is all good and important, but I still need to focus at times on calling up/emailing contacts about jobs or projects, also not neglect editing recent photos, and still experiment with new photography or just brainstorm in general.
You’ll need to assess the way that you work and where you need to make changes, but if you sound anything like me then I’ve developed a solution you might find useful!
Freelancers Usually Do It All
As a photographer running my own commercial business, I am effectively CEO, Marketing, Billing & Accounting, Designer, and more. On top of being a photographer of course.
To help me find time to hit all the areas that need attention within a day I’ve adopted a practice from my academic days: a timetable! Specifically customized to be a Freelancer Timetable
I got the idea when I was searching for some software to assist with my scheduling woes and realized that there is an abundance of apps out there for managing a student’s timetable. I could treat my work blocks like classes, thereby making sure that I can focus, but don’t get too caught up in one type of work.
First period is FOCUS, where I plan the activities that need to be done during the other blocks, then brainstorm new things I can do to grow the business.
Second period is CONTACT, where, you guessed it… I contact people, reply to emails, etc. That kind of proactive work should be done early in the day, and I often procrastinate contacting or replying to people out of fear. So it is good to get that out the way.
We’ll talk more about proactive and reactive work, as well as recognizing your strengths/weaknesses, in a follow-up post next week. There will be info about best practices for managing your time and how long work intervals should be. For now, here’s the rest of my timetable and links to some resources that might help you find your timetable flow.
Timetable (for Android): a nice colour-coded timetable management app for android. I’m an android user, so this is what I currently use. It also allows you to create tasks and assign those to specific blocks. I typically plan my tasks in a notebook or on post-its, but I occasionally use the function.
Handy Timetable (for iPhone): Well designed by all appearances and functionality. Only demoed briefly, but it’s free so you can’t go wrong with trying it out.
Manage Your Day-to-Day: “Stop doing busywork. Start doing your best work.” An excellent book from the makers of Behance. Must read.
I hope you find some time to develop a new routine and unlock your productivity potential to create great things! Comments and questions below.
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