5 Practical time-management tips for freelancers with no time

As the old saying goes – time is money. Nowhere else does this saying seems more crucial than in the world of freelancing.

For a freelancer or a creative, managing the best out of his/her time is imperative. You’re on your own. Yes, it can be fun being your own boss but nobody really tells you what to do.

And that’s the challenge.

If you have a ‘work from home’ setup, you might have distractions from family. If you work from a co-working office setup, your colleagues might give you a head-ache. And then there’s the ever-present threat of the Facebook newsfeed.

How can you stay away from that temptation?

It all basically boils down to just one thing in the end. – i.e, how you ‘manage’ your time. Because, in a business situation, time is the only thing you can actually control right?

So what’s the secret recipe to stay self-disciplined and keep your focus?

Chrometa Time Tracking App

This article is sponsored by Chrometa, an app that captures your time as you work on your PC, Mac, iPhone and Android. It easily integrates with billing favorites like FreshBooks, Harvest and QuickBooks online, allowing freelancers to track their billable time and make sure they get paid for all of it. Our partnership has not affected the value or content of this article.

Truth is, there’s no secret recipe. It’s simply how you make your time work for you. Here are some tips that will help you get organized – and hopefully get you back on track.

1. Create a to-do list

This might sound cliché.

But freelancers often work on a very flexible schedule. Most often, if you’re not careful, this flexibility turns into procrastination.

The solution? Set a schedule. Create a to-do list prioritizing your projects, tasks and ultimately the deliverables.

Remember, freelancing is not a 9 to 5. Or a 8 to 4. It’s about your own hours, but planning here is the most important element if you’re to submit your deadlines on time and even work for multiple clients at once.

2. Track your time meticulously

One of the biggest frustration for today’s freelancers? It’s the failure to figuring out where has all their time gone?!

Not only is it important to track your time for personal analysis, but time tracking every single minute of the day is crucial to ensure you invoice your clients accurately.

This is exactly why you should use a time tracking app for your business. Chrometa can do just that, helping to track your time, as you work. This means that instead of having to start/stop a timer or manually enter your billable time at the end of the day, you can just work, and not worry. The tracker runs in the background of your PC or Mac, capturing everything you work on, down to the minute.

Watch this 1-minute video to see how Chrometa works.

3. Keep a check on those pesky distractions

Social media can one hell of a productivity killer. And that’s why it’s use needs to be kept in check.

The best way is to plan out your day. Have a specific time period to check your emails, check up on your Twitter feed maybe three times a day.

The great thing about planning out your work day is that you can add a 10-minute break after certain intervals. During these breaks, you can safely give your attention to these ‘distractions – you can do a quick check on your emails, social media, and get the tasks sorted out.

This can be particularly helpful if you suffer from chronic procrastination.

4. Use technology to your advantage

It seems we have an app for everything nowadays. Most of them are totally free to try out as well, at lease on a basic level. Why not use them for time-management?

To name a few, you can create a tidy work-day schedule using Google Calendar, save all your work files on a cloud drive like Dropbox or Google Drive.

It’s all about working smarter, not harder.

5. Say ‘NO’

Always remember. You’re always in charge of your time.

Regardless if you work for a company or have your own business setup, the ability to say no and to draw a line (respectfully), without compromising your work-life balance, is a skill that doesn’t come easy.

Small things if done right, can reduce a whole lot of burden from your work and help you take back control of your time.

Turning down a job that you have time for, politely declining additional work that doesn’t add value to your portfolio, or negotiating for the right amount of money (the amount you deserve) all fall under this.

Concluding thoughts

Living the freelancer life can be a blessing or a curse. It all depends on how you manage it all to figure out the sweet spot.

How do you manage your time? We would love to hear all about it in the comments below!

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About Bilal Ibrar

Bilal is part of the team here at Millo. He’s a Hubspot certified digital marketing consultant with years of experience working with small and medium businesses. He writes about technology, marketing and social media for aspiring entrepreneurs. You can find him on his Twitter and Website.


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