Value your time and manage it effectively.
How often have you thought about the amount of time you spend on work 📕? The problem of time allocation for a freelancer is extremely acute. Well, at least I did.
When you don’t have a boss who is in control, no one says you should work and how much, very often there are factors that reduce our productivity, disrupt the schedule, and reduce the pleasure of the work process itself.
One of the meanings of choosing to freelance is that you should have more free time than office workers – sometimes it starts working against you.
The biggest problem of a freelancer is the inability to properly build his work schedule and distribute time. From it already follows procrastination and related factors. I tried many methods to combat this phenomenon and made some conclusions for myself, which as a result lined up in a plan for optimizing time 📅.
Step 1. You need to choose the part of the day when you are as productive 🕖 as possible
Try to analyze the last week and understand what part of the day is best for you to work. Each of us during the day has periods when we are most ready to solve problems and work. This is inherent in biorhythms.
We are all different, someone better work in the morning, someone more quickly solves problems in the evening. For example, my best work is between 6 and 10 a.m. Anyway, you need to find the part of the day when you are most effective and use it to the maximum. So you can reduce your working time and become more productive.
Step 2: Limit distractions🥡
Now that you have an interval in which you will work, you need to learn how to use it correctly.
Very often I noticed that during work I get distracted and do not do what I should. It seems that you work, then catch yourself thinking that you are already viewing the news feed, or video from recommendations, responding to someone from the chat. All this, if you add up, takes up a huge amount of our working time.
Inference. It is necessary to limit distractions as much as possible. Social networks, viewing useless content, your environment, which can distract from solving the problem – all this should be limited for the duration of work. At first, when I didn’t need internet access, I would just take and cut off the network on the router and put the phone in silent mode.
The first days will be quite difficult to follow these recommendations, but their effectiveness exceeds all expectations.
Step 3. Workspace 🏠 Optimization
When we have decided on the time of work and removed distractions, it is worth talking about the place in which to work.
Our brain is designed in such a way that it remembers the places in which it spends time and becomes attached to them. That is, the office in which we work is associated with work, home with rest, and so on. When we work from home, it all starts to mix and our productivity may decrease.
As an option, we move to work in coworking. Recently, a huge number of coworking spaces have appeared for every taste, but there are disadvantages of office work. I prefer to work from home, but again, I need to set up the workspace correctly.
The most important thing is the place where you work. It should always be in perfect order, without unnecessary things that can distract you from work. On my desktop, in addition to the laptop, there is only a notebook with notes. This removes distractions and helps you focus on the task. It is also important to follow the rule of proactivity. This is where you work, period. Watch videos, games, and other activities — move to another location.
Step 4. Deadlines ⏰
When we have figured out the time, the situation, removed distractions, it is worth moving on to the organization of the tasks. Very often I noticed that when you receive an order and start to perform, the more time you take yourself, the less productive you are to fulfill the order, and often you postpone its implementation until the last day, resting on deadlines.
This is how the mechanism of procrastination works. As a result of the uneven distribution of time for execution, you constantly postpone the task, and only before the deadline does you begin to work to the fullest.
From this, I concluded that it is desirable to set tasks for strictly defined deadlines. A large task should be divided into several small ones and determine the period of time in which they should be performed, that is, into small deadlines. When we have a time frame that we are forced to enter, we will be much more effective in completing the task.
Step 5. Scheduling 📅
An equally important aspect is the distribution and planning of tasks that you will perform daily. I tried a lot of different techniques, tried to plan my schedule, but all this worked only in theory since we are all people and there was always a reason that violated this schedule.
But in the end, I found exactly what suited me. Every morning I began to write out my tasks for the day in a notebook. As they are executed, they should be crossed out. It would seem trite, but it works very well. As a result, I began to work much more efficiently.
But a much more convenient option for me was the task manager “trello”. Such techniques are used by companies in organizing the work of teams on projects (agile methodology). The bottom line is this: you have a whiteboard, on it you write the tasks that you need to complete (I usually write for a week, then add or remove some of them, if necessary).
✅ I break the board itself into 4 columns:
- Common tasks – here I write the entire list of tasks for the week.
- Tasks for the day – here I transfer tasks from the main list, or add new ones for the day.
- In my work, I take out the task I’m working on.
- Completed tasks – here I put everything that I have done, and at the end of the week I analyze.
I break down large tasks into small ones and implement them in the application in the form of a checklist, which I gradually perform. It is also possible to set the time that it took to complete each task. The application is cross-platform, it is installed on the PC, there are versions for iOS and Android, you can go through the browser. From any device, you have access to your plan and you can make changes that are instantly synchronized across all other devices. I love it, and it’s incredibly convenient.
Step 6. Time management
Well, the last stage of optimization is the process of daily work on the task itself. There are many nuances here, too.
To organize and control the time, I use the “Pomodoro” technique. The bottom line is that the amount of time that is devoted to the task is limited. And, thus, you are not distracted by extraneous tasks and concentrate on the process of implementation.
I put 25/5 – that is, 25 minutes of work, 5 minutes of rest, so 4 times, after a break – 25 minutes and so on. This is a very effective technique that I have tested in practice and really helps.
As a timer, I use an application with the same name – “pomotodo”. It has a very convenient timer, and all intervals are saved, at the end of the week, you can measure your productivity and the amount of working time.
Working at intervals of 25 minutes, it is also very useful during breaks to occupy yourself with some physical activity and do exercises for the eyes. So you change the type of activity and rest and productivity increases.
And, finally, the most important thing: do not get very hung up on work, pay more attention to your loved ones and things that bring you joy and pleasure. I remember a quote from a good man: “Live and work in your spare time!” 👱🏼.
I hope my principle of time management will help someone. The tips and techniques from this article are purely individual and are not suitable for everyone, but I hope that they will help someone to increase productivity and improve their work schedule and life in general. After all, time is the most valuable thing we have.
I wish you all the best and good orders! Value your time and manage 🙂 it effectively!