Tips for Freelancers to Improve Their Workflow Efficiency
The number of freelancers continues to grow, which comes as no surprise to businesses. And the number of freelancers is expected to continue growing for the next few years.
There’s no question that being a freelancer is much different than working for an employer in a 9-5 office job. It’s challenging to maintain focus and be organised as a freelancer, with only the most efficient surviving and thriving.
So, how can a freelancer learn to be efficient? They can learn from trial and error by making a lot of mistakes. Or they can learn from other freelancers’ mistakes. The most pleasant of these options is number two!
In this article, we’ve put together some tips on how freelancers can improve their workflow and efficiency. Let’s get started!
1. Take Business & Productivity Training
While it’s not glamorous or even interesting, staying up to date with current trends in productivity and best practices is necessary for freelancers. It may help to remind yourself that you’re a business owner. Yes, it’s true if you’re no one’s employee, pay your own taxes, and you don’t have a guaranteed number of hours to work. You’re running a business.
Business owners know they need continuous training to perfect their productivity skills. You’ll be happy to learn that there are plenty of free resources available to help you.
2. Avoid Burnout by Prioritising Work-Life Balance
As a freelancer, it’s sometimes tempting to keep working when you shouldn’t. You may be making up for time lost to holidays, a vacation, or even being sick. It happens. When you’re the only person in the business, it’s easy to get caught up in working longer hours than you would as an employee. After all, you want your business to succeed.
However, if you’re not careful and continue to only work, with living a little bit of life on the side, you’ll soon be burned out. Burnout takes a mental and emotional toll on your mind and body. Plus, you may end up with disappointed clients, too.
So, it’s important to ensure you have a good work-life balance to avoid burnout:
- Use an ergonomic office chair to ensure your neck and back don’t develop issues such as pain
- Eat three healthy meals a day (with snacks in between) to maintain energy levels
- Drink at least eight glasses of water a day
- Ensure to prioritise time for self-care and unwinding each day
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day
- Don’t use personal devices to communicate about work
- Ensure you have time for at least one thing you enjoy each day
- Get away on the weekend or have a staycation or vacation as often as possible
- Have a community and life outside of work
- Have a clear time to end work each day and stick to it
3. Hire an Accountant to Manage Business Finances
As a freelancer, you’re very busy, and it can get frustrating trying to get work done and stay on top of business finances, too. So, unless you set aside time to work on business finances every week, you may want to consider hiring an account.
The accountant can manage your finances, find potential tax deductions, and ensure your tax payments are made on time.
4. Use a Productivity Platform to Manage Projects
It’s no longer possible to manage tasks with a digital or paper calendar or by using sticky notes. If you’re looking for a way to be more efficient and productive, consider using a productivity platform for your projects.
These platforms are an all-in-one place that can be used to manage projects, approve work orders, and assign tasks. They can also help you communicate back and forth with clients and team members. It’s even possible to create and set alerts for complete projects.
Consider a couple of our favourite productivity platforms for your business:
5. Automate as Many Tasks as Possible
Another way to boost your freelancer productivity is to automate tasks where possible. Adding automation to your workflow can help you save hundreds of hours over time.
You may be able to use marketing software to automate marketing tasks, set deadline alerts, and more. Many website builders today include automation tools such as email autoresponders that can be connected to your appointment scheduling tools.
So, look for ways to automate your workflow and have more time to focus on more important tasks.
6. Use a Time Tracking Tool
Do you track how much time is spent on daily tasks? If not, you may want to consider using a time tracking tool. With a time tracking tool, you’ll know for sure how much time you spent on each project and know how much time is left on other projects.
Time tracking tools help you:
- Estimate a project’s timeline
- Calculate how much money you earn per project
- Calculate how much money you earn per hour
- Delegate tasks and projects to team members
- And more
7. Stick to a Schedule
Sticking with a schedule can be challenging when you’re a freelancer; however, it’s a great way to prioritise your work-life balance and get more done. When you create a schedule, start with your peak energy hours in mind (times during the day when you have more energy). Then check how much time you usually spend on a project. Use this information to create a strategic plan to block out time in your schedule.
8. Be Realistic About Time Commitments & Projects You Can Accept
Finally, it’s imperative to be realistic about your time commitments and the projects you can take on. It’s impossible to take on every project that comes your way when you’re a successful freelancer. No one has enough hours in the day for this. So, it’s essential to only take the projects you really have time for.
As you consider which projects to take on, consider your current workload and your life. Remember, the goal is to improve work-life balance. So, your projects should not creep over into the life side of your days. You can use your time tracking tool to help you be more strategic about which projects you can accept or not.
Summing It Up
This is not an exhaustive list of how you can boost your productivity as a freelancer. However, following the tips on our list can sure go a long way to help you become more productive and successful. In addition, you’ll learn how to have a better work-life balance so you can avoid burnout, too!
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