Time Management Tips for Freelancers

Freelancer, Digital Nomad, Location Independent Worker - whatever you call yourself, it’s safe to say you got into the game because you appreciate the idea of being the master of your own universe. Whether you’re working from home, a coffee shop, or traveling the world, you can’t deny that having some autonomy feels pretty damn good. But that’s not to say that you won’t be faced with challenges, the biggest of which is time management.

To successfully stay on top of your hustle you either have to be really organized or...some other term that also means ‘really organized’. Fortunately, through the use of a few tools and some self-discipline, you can make sure that you don’t fall behind on your work while still maintaining some semblance of work-life balance.

Task Management Tools - If you’re old school like some people on the Hustle Juice team, my advice is to get a detail-oriented planner, like Sugar Paper’s Signature Planner or The Full Life Planner by @PlannersThrive. But in the event that you prefer to keep up with the times, you may want to check out digital project management tools like:

Aside from planners and digital tools, there are a few other tips and tricks that you should consider to help keep you on top of all your projects:

Pomodoro Technique (AKA Take Frequent Breaks) -  This time management trick doesn’t involve eating tomatoes -- unless of course, they for some reason help you focus. It’s a common sense approach to breaking down your time to remain productive and avoid burnout. It looks a little something like this:

  1. Decide on the task to be done.

  2. Set a timer (usually to 25 minutes) - those tomato shaped kitchen timers is where the whole ‘pomodoro’ technique got it's name, by the way.

  3. Work on the task until the timer rings.

  4. After the timer rings, put a checkmark on a piece of paper.

  5. Take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go back to step 2.

  6. After four ‘pomodoros’, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go back to step 1.

And round and round you go until before you know it, you’ve hit a whole new level of productivity!

Get a Handle on Your Phone Addiction - It’s hard to keep focused 100% of the time (nor should you necessarily need to), but if you find yourself frequently getting distracted by your phone and social media, it might mean you need a bit of help keeping your vices at bay. Maybe you have a will of steel but if you don’t, certain apps like Moment exist for the sole purpose of helping you keep track of how much time you spend getting sucked into newsfeeds and the like - a clever way to keep you in the moment (see what they did there?!) and focused on doing actual work.

Stay in the Zone - Here’s a pretty simple and helpful phone hack: adjust the ‘world clock’ setting on your phone if you have clients in different time zones. Just hop on over to your clock settings and select the cities around the world that you need to keep up with. If this setting doesn’t currently exist on your phone, hit up your app store and download a ‘World Clock’ app and you’ll be on your way.

Effective time management will make or break your freelance business; make sure you're giving yourself all of the tools you need to maximize your day.