The number of freelancers has increased exponentially in the last couple of years. This type of remote and flexible work has become so much more popular since the pandemic forced many people to adapt their lives in the event of nationwide lockdowns and social distancing restrictions.
Since these have started to ease, an exciting thing happened: many more people realized that they preferred remote work or being a freelancer and didn’t want to come back to working in an office for an organization or company. At the moment, there are around 57 million freelancers in the U.S., with more than half being in this freelancing industry in the long term, instead of temporary.
There are many advantages of being a freelancer. One of the most significant ones is the flexibility that comes with organizing your own in your own time and taking the projects you want without having to get the approval of a manager or team leader.
Another equally important reason many individuals prefer working from home is that it has been proven that remote work and the flexibility that comes with it can improve work performance considerably. This is why also many businesses have started outsourcing talent more and working with freelancers.
This is in line with the fact that freelancers can find new projects much faster than they used to. Speaking from a freelancer’s point of view, this contributes to why many of them plan to be self-employed for a long time. But while the job as a freelancer comes with many advantages, it also brings some challenges, like maintaining productivity, staying organized and motivated.
However, don’t worry; there are things you can do to combat these challenges. Here are some of them, which professional freelancers have confirmed to be effective:
Create A (Flexible) Schedule Tailored for You
While flexibility is an important aspect and many people work better when they can create their own schedules, having a schedule is just as important. More often than not, freelancers work on more than one project or commit to a complex and lengthy undertaking.
So, without an attack plan and a schedule where you can clearly see every task and know what you must work on a specific day, it is challenging to say the least, to keep up with work. Simply put, routine is essential, even in the life of a freelancer who works best on their own time. To stay organized, it is vital to give yourself a structure or framework based on your work style and preferences to determine when and what to work.
The Eisenhower Matrix Can Help You Prioritize Tasks
Have you ever struggled to prioritize your tasks? There are times when it feels like every item on your to-do list or project task all seem equally important or urgent. Don’t worry! There is a tool that can facilitate this. Being used by many self-employed individuals but companies as well, the Eisenhower Matrix uses the urgent and important principle, teaching you to prioritize successfully.
With the help of this tool that supports time management, you will be able to stay organized and know how much time to allocate for a specific task. The Eisenhower Matrix uses the following four categories:
- Important and urgent tasks: do these tasks first;
- Important but not urgent tasks: schedule these tasks;
- Urgent but unimportant tasks: delegate these tasks;
- Not important, nor urgent: delete these tasks from your list.
As a freelancer, you will see how the Eisenhower Matrix will change your professional life for the better, and why not your personal life as well.
Don’t Be Afraid to Outsource Talent
Just because you are a freelancer, so self-employed, doesn’t mean that you cannot get help. So, don’t worry about doing every business activity – as freelancing is a business – by yourself. There are times when you can get overwhelmed with the workload. During these periods, you may not have time for the urgent but unimportant tasks mentioned earlier. This is when you can delegate them.
For these times, you can collaborate with other freelancers such as a Virtual Personal Assistant who can help you with administrative work, for example. Such activities can be urgent at times but not so important, especially when you have a complex project that needs your undivided attention.
Always Separate Work from Personal Life
It can be easy to mix professional with personal, like when you are a freelancer, which can interfere with you staying motivated and organized. For this reason, it is essential to always maintain the two separated. So, you should avoid working in the same space used to relax or rest, as you need to prevent associating working with relaxing so that you don’t fall victim to procrastination.
This is why having a schedule and routine are so vital, especially if your workspace is mostly at home. Your work environment should involve an organized home office or workspace free of distractions and clutter. At the same time, your bedroom, for example, should remain your intimate space where you rest and recharge your batteries, so bringing your work here should be avoided.
Set Realistic Goals You Can Commit To
Last but definitely not the least important aspect, freelancers need to set realistic goals and only commit to projects you know you can fulfill. This way, you don’t take more than you can provide and risk disappointing a valuable client with whom you want to form a trusting collaboration. Therefore, when choosing projects, it is imperative to make a plan of attack to see how realistic it is and whether you can finish it by the given deadline.
The same applies when creating your schedule and dividing your work per day, week, or even month. The goals you set for yourself and the deadlines you put in to break down the work and maintain productivity have to be realistic. The best way of setting these realistic goals is by determining how long it takes to complete specific parts of the projects. This will help you set particular deadlines for each part of the process and support your accomplishing your goals.