Time management is a skill you’ll continue to develop as your contracting career progresses. As soon as you think you’ve got those skills down to a fine art, you might win a contract that tests them to the maximum.
How you effectively manage your time can be the difference between success and failure as a contractor as it heavily relies on self-discipline.
So how can you successfully manage both your career and your time? Here are three key tips to help you become a time management superstar.
Sometimes you have to say no
It can be very tempting when offered a ‘once in a lifetime’ project to say yes immediately without thinking of your current commitments. You need to remember your current clients and the projects you might be working on – you have given them your word you’re going to deliver the project. You can’t simply bump them for something more interesting and potentially more lucrative and you can’t physically manage it all – so sometimes saying no is the best and fairest option.
Remember that building a reputation as a reliable contractor is imperative. This reputation is what can help you secure those all-important word-of-mouth business referrals. Keep focused on the jobs you have already committed to, and, when you’ve freed up some time, you can start saying yes more often.
Learn how to prioritise
Prioritising your tasks helps you regain focus with your work and will help you make your way through your checklist in the right frame of mind. Be sure to clearly communicate all expected timeframes to the client, and always keep them in the loop when you feel you might have to make some adjustments.
Realistically managing your client’s expectations plays an important role in managing your own time. Stating you’ll have something finished within the hour when you know that isn’t realistically possible will mean you’re adding unnecessary stress and pressure to yourself for no reason.
At the beginning of each day, take a few minutes to note down your tasks for the day ahead, prioritise them with a number, and don’t be tempted to stray from that pre-set list.
Take regular breaks
You only have seven hours a day to fit in so much work, why would you take a break? Studies from Science Daily have shown that taking a break once an hour helps increase your productivity. Just taking a five-minute break after every 50-55 minutes of work can help ensure you keep your mind focused and fresh. You’ll also look forward to your break, setting yourself small milestones at the end of each working hour. Adopting a similar mentality helps you see light at the end of your work tunnel!
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